FROM PULLMAN — Another day, another practice in the books on Rogers Field, though this one was a bit warmer than Thursday's camp opener. It was also a big day for one of WSU's incoming freshmen. Read on.
First, a couple of personnel notes. Raymond Ford, the Los Angeles cornerback who had reportedly signed with the Cougars, was at practice as an observer on Friday and has officially joined the team, Mike Leach said afterward. … Incoming freshman receiver Alex Jackson, who missed the first two days of practice, is expected to arrive on Saturday afternoon. Apparently there were just some travel issues to clear up there. But it sounds like they're all square on that front. … Offensive lineman Wade Jacobson wasn't at practice Friday, though as is expected, no reason was given as to why.
We wrote a bit about Gabriel Marks for Saturday's newspaper, because the freshman made a couple of nice catches while working with the veterans during team session — a rarity in itself — so we won't go into great detail about him here. Just know this: Marks is already receiving some kind words from the coaching staff for how polished and mature his skills are. And outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons said if Marks can keep it up when they put pads on, there's no reason why he won't have a shot to play this season. Said Leach: “A lot of times at this point, guys will kind of be raw, kind of talented – fast, able to catch the ball well – and maybe their skills aren’t as sharp as they could be. His skills are sharp. He’s got sharp, efficient skills. He’s got talent on top of it, no question, but he’s one of those guys that plays older than he is. We just have to keep seeing what he can do. He even looked good in team (session) today, which is kind of a drill that a guy his age doesn’t always get in in the second practice. I think he looks good.” … One more note on Marks — he said he likes to play video games, like most college kids, so I asked if he'd picked up NCAA 13 yet. He smiled and said that yes, he had, and he thought it was pretty cool that he was now featured in a game he played as a little kid (though he did note that the game has him listed as No. 9. He wears No. 84 in real life). … More importantly to most, he had the catch of the day Friday, hauling in a long touchdown pass from Connor Halliday with Deone Bucannon and Damante Horton draped all over him in the end zone. … Nolan Washington and Rico Forbes rode exercise bikes during the team session. … Former WSU defensive tackle Chad Eaton dropped by practice for a bit. Eaton was also a graduate assistant for part of the 2010 season under Paul Wulff.
All for now. We'll have some video up later of freshman safety Taylor Taliulu.