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Lintz might be grizzly, but D was bullish

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach liked how the offense responded at times, but Saturday's scrimmage seemed to go to the defense for most of the day. We have notes and the like — plus another quote from Leach that you're sure to get a kick out of — so read on.


The takeaway from today: Washington State's defense is starting to play faster. Not quite as fast as defensive coordinator Mike Breske would like, but faster nonetheless. Breske says they've got a week before he wants them to really, really put things together in that aspect. “Spokane has got to be there,” Breske said in reference to next weekend's spring game at Albi Stadium. “I’m seeing it better each week. We’re getting better. We’re still adding some stuff, we haven’t added as much in the package but next Saturday will be the key. We can’t have any lulls. That’s what the kids know and we want to be at maximum capacity next week.” … The term “flying around' was used quite a bit on Saturday. WSU's defensive line didn't dominate the way it did a week ago when it recorded 12 sacks, but there was a certain amount of recklessness from the linebackers and defensive backs. Eric Oertel was solid in coverage early, breaking up back-to-back passes from Jeff Tuel intended for Andrei Lintz and Gino Simone, respectively. On the next play, Casey Locker nearly intercepted a pass thrown over the middle for Marquess Wilson, but he collided with Anthony Carpenter, who was also going after the ball. … Some thoughts from Leach on the scrimmage: “I thought the best thing was neither side stayed down for a long period of time. One thing you battle every spring is the plays will go on long streaks, it’s kind of like one side will go long streaks as another side feels sorry for themselves, or goes through a bunch of anxiety on the last play. I thought we did a better job of playing the next play. It’s like one side would get hot and the other side would take it away and the next side would take it away, so it would go back and forth. I think it was pretty good work because both sides have something to be ticked off about, but both sides have some encouraging stuff, which means you’re out there pretty much trading blows back and forth. So I do think it was pretty good. I thought it was our best scrimmage as a team.” … Tuel completed just one of his first seven passes, but did lead a couple of TD drives and wound up finishing 22-47 for 200 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. … There was far more situational work today than last week, the Cougars spending quite a bit of time on red zone plays. Carl Winston ran for a pair of touchdowns during those periods, and the defense also forced back-to-back turnovers. The first was a Lintz fumble that was forced by Tana Pritchard and recovered by Cyrus Coen, who could have returned it for a touchdown had the play not been blown dead. And Pritchard intercepted Tuel on the next play, anyway, and certainly would have taken it about 100 yards untouched. Practice ended with the No. 1 offense facing the No. 1 defense on a red zone possession. The defense held, stuffing a run, forcing an incomplete pass to the corner and stuffing another run to end the scrimmage. … Since there weren't enough healthy offensive linemen to really field a No. 3 team — and Leach didn't want anyone going 100 plays, as a couple guys did last week — the third-teamers played each other in a live 7 on 7 drill. The highlights: Jesse Brown completed two long passes of 40 and 56 yards to Daniel McDonald on back-to-back plays, and Rahmel Dockery made a nice grab in the corner of the end zone on a 4-yard pass from Cody Clements. … WRs Kristoff Williams and Henry Eaddy didn't participate. Safety Tyree Toomer was in attendance, but didn't dress and was using one crutch to get around. OLs Matt Goetz, Chas Sampson, Joe Dahl and Wade Jacobson were unavailable. So were DEs Lenard Williams, Jordan Pu'u Robinson and Adam Coerper, plus DT Kalafitoni Pole. DE Hamza Griffin and CB Travion Smith have left the team. … As for that Leach quote — he was asked about the play  of Lintz, who caught seven passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, primarily helping Tuel by getting open when plays broke down and he was forced to scramble out of the pocket. Leach said he didn't like Lintz's fumble, obviously, but that he's been pleased with his endurance and athleticism. One thing he needs to improve upon, he said, is his aggression with his hands. Here's how Leach explained this: “He needs to be like those grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park that start tipping over dumpsters and throwing garbage out of them at the lodges. So this next practice we’re going to stick a dumpster in front of him full of goodies, but he’s going to have to shred that thing, tip it over and dig into it to get at ‘em, so he gets used to swinging his hands around in a violent fashion.” I asked Leach what he'd put in said dumpster. “We’re going to have to see what he likes. We’ll have some things that appeal to him and some things that don’t so much so he has to sfit through them and keep his arms moving.” Lintz said he's fine with being a grizzly, so long as that means Leach will cook steak for him instead of making him eat it raw. “I don’t know if he wants me fishing around in any dumpsters for it. I don’t know if he wants me to do that, but I’m definitely not going to do it,” Lintz said. Well, what if that's what Leach really wants? “I guess I will. I won’t eat it, though. I’ll put some gloves on, or something. Don’t want to catch anything.” … As for the offensive line, the starting unit featured, from left to right, John Fullington, Zack Johnson, Elliott Bosch, Dan Spitz and Rico Forbes. The No. 2s: Zack Johnson, Gunnar Eklund, Taylor Meighen, Elliott Bosch, Dan Spitz. Casey Locker saw time with the No. 1 defense, as did Anthony Carpenter. Matthew Bock played with the No. 1 defensive line with Williams out.

All for now. Oh, here are some stats:

RUSHING

Teondray Caldwell    4-9, TD

Rickey Galvin             5-8

Marcus Mason          2-15

Carl Winston             8-20, 2 TD

Leon Brooks              2-14

PASSING

Jeff Tuel                     22-47-200, 4 TD, 2 INT

David Gilbertson       8-10-64

RECEIVING

Drew Loftus               1-14

Gino Simone             3-12

Bobby Ratliff              4-19, TD

Andrei Lintz               7-57, TD

Blair Bomber             3-21

Bennett Bontemps    2-23, TD

Leon Brooks              2-7

Dominique Williams 2-32

Isiah Myers                2-28

Marquess Wilson     2-27, TD

Rickey Galvin            1-22

Carl Winston             1-2

INTs

Darryl Monroe

Tana Pritchard

SACKS

Xavier Cooper

Ian Knight

Logan Mayes

FIELD GOALS

Andrew Furney         38-good, 43-blocked, 51-no good

Michael Bowlin         47-good, 44-WL, 52-WL

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple


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