FROM PULLMAN — The next time we see Washington State on a football practice field with coaches and pads, it'll be August. Yes, the Cougars practiced for the 15th and final time on Tuesday, putting the finishing touches on the first spring of the Mike Leach era. As usual, we have some notes, though they come with a caveat.
First, a disclaimer — between some breaking news with the basketball team (more on that here, and in a separate post later) and a phone call with Alex Hoffman-Ellis (he'll be the subject of a Thursday story), we had to do some scrambling during practice and missed a few minutes here and there. But the following is still an accurate recap of what happened. … So, what did happen? Nothing real groundbreaking. The biggest news might be that the third-team offense ran most of the team session, with Cody Clements and David Gilbertson splitting reps at quarterback. Leach said that's something he does on Thursdays during the season. He'll typically give the No. 3 unit about 30 plays on those days. And, he said, during bowl week, they'll work even more. Yes, he said bowl week specifically. … Some first and second-teamers rotated in as well, with Drew Loftus and Bobby Ratliff seeing some snaps during that period. Loftus had his best day in quite a while, catching a touchdown pass over Mike McAdie in the end zone, then beating McAdie again over the middle for a long gain. Leach was asked about Loftus' progress this spring, and he said he thinks the redshirt freshman may have run out of gas about two-thirds of the way through. For that reason, Leach said, he thinks Loftus' best days are ahead of him. Based on the amount of repetitions he saw with the starters this spring, he certainly figures to get a chance to prove it. … Defensive line coach Joe Salavea tried to set an intense tempo at the beginning of practice, when he tore off his shirt in front of everybody during the circle drill. Travis Long and Logan Mayes had just gone head-to-head, and were about to go for a second time when Salavea stepped in, removed his garment and got everyone fired up for a second or two. … Rahmel Dockery came off the field during a special teams drill after running hard into a pile while returning a kickoff. He walked off slowly, favoring his right shoulder, then applied some ice to it. Dockery had a shoulder issue to start the spring, too, but didn't miss much time. … Many of the same players who sat out Saturday's spring game were again limited on Tuesday. There were receivers Kristoff Williams and Henry Eaddy; defensive backs Tyree Toomer, Casey Locker and Nolan Washington; defensive end Lenard Williams; linebackers Chester Su'a, Darryl Monroe and Tana Pritchard; offensive lineman Matt Goetz; running back Teondray Caldwell; and several others who have been limited pretty much all spring. The summer will certainly be a time of healing for many of them. … Our story in Wednesday's newspaper will focus on what lies ahead for the Cougars — summer workouts, which mean conditioning and on-field sessions led by the players. Jeff Tuel said he'll be instrumental in putting those together. There will be a “voluntary” throwing program, Leach said, adding that “anyone who wants to develop their skills and get any good will be out there. The right type of player will be out there throwing all the time.” Yep, sounds pretty voluntary to me.
That's all we've got for now. We'll have a live chat tomorrow to wrap up the spring.