FROM PULLMAN — Part of training camp under coach Mike Leach? A reminder of the rules. Tuesday, that meant an on-field run-down of college football overtime procedures, then a simulation of an overtime period. There were other highlights, too, so read on.
It was a fairly routine practice — as most football practices are, honestly — until toward the end when Leach stopped WSU's team session and called every player over near the sidelines to give some kind of instruction. Turned out, Leach was reciting all of the rules and procedures of overtime in college football, intended as a reminder (and for some, perhaps an introduction) of how things work. Then, when he was done, the first-team offense squared off against the second-team defense (and the second-team offense against the first-team defense) in an overtime simulation. … The first-team defense/offense combination must have won the toss, because the second-team offense took the field first. It didn't go well. Connor Halliday tried to squeeze in a throw to Brett Bartolone, but Deone Bucannon stepped in front and intercepted it to end the possession. So it was Jeff Tuel and the first-team offense's turn to take the field. Tuel completed a pass to Andrei Lintz over the middle on the first play, then another to Carl Winston that gave them a first down at the 9-yard line. After an incompletion and a 1-yard run up the middle by Winston, Tuel connected with Marquess Wilson for an 8-yard touchdown pass to end the session.
… For the second consecutive day, Taylor Taliulu played a significant amount of reps alongside Bucannon at the safety position. I spoke with defensive coordinator Mike Breske about Taliulu for a bit after practice. He said, in part: “We’ve been rotating and he’s earned an opportunity to kind of run with the first group and see what he can do against the No. 1 offense and that type of deal. And see how he progresses and we’ll do an evaluation every day as we do with all our kids, but we certainly wanted to see him against the 1 offense and see what he can do.”
Does that mean he's going to play this season?
“Potentially yes. Haven’t made that determination yet, but he’s having a great camp, let’s put it that way,” Breske said.
“He’s got a great football 1-on-1 mentality. By that I mean he gets it, he understands the nuances of playing in the secondary. He’s got great athleticism, he’s fluid, he’s smooth, he can flip his hips. He’s pretty mature for an 18-year-old and if you visit with him you get that sense. Well-rounded young man, great family and very mature and basically if he proves to us, mentally and physically he’s ready to go, he’s going to play. How much, he’ll determine that.”
Taliulu intercepted a pass early in team session that was deflected by Eric Oertel, and also made some nice plays in screen recognition.
… Gabe Marks was Gabe Marks again on Tuesday, first beating Damante Horton pretty badly during 1-on-1s for a touchdown, then hauling in another touchdown with one arm despite being blanketed by Ray Ford. After that one, Marks let out a primal yell. … LB Darren Markle, DL Xavier Cooper, DL Toni Pole and WR Kristoff Williams rode bikes during practice. DL Robert Barber was on crutches with his right leg in a cast after going down during practice on Monday. OL Rico Forbes is also still on crutches. DL Chas Sampson missed practice for the second consecutive day. WR Isiah Myers was present but did not suit up or participate in practice.
… With this being Shark Week on Discovery Channel and all, Mike Leach was asked if he's ever had an experience with a shark while fishing in Key West. If you've read his book, you'd know that yes, he has. But he relayed the story again after practice (and I'm shamelessly using Brian Floyd's transcript, because he was industrious enough to bang the whole thing out as soon as he got home).
“We had one … this is kind of a bad deal. It was Shark Week. We were with the staff down there in Key West. As a matter of fact, if you want to read it it's in my paperback book that's out right now, which everyone should buy. Just because you have the hardback doesn't mean you shouldn't buy the paperback.
“There's a place called Snipes. And what it is, it's kind of a sandbar with shallow water and boats all congregate out there and kind of picnic and throw Nerf footballs and stand in chest deep water. So we're out there and it's towards the end of the day. And it's Shark Week. And leaving the hotel, a couple guys on staff had watched Shark Week on TV, so they were already pretty amped up on the whole shark thing.
“Me and a buddy on mine — I've known him for years, one of my best friends in Key West — were still out in the water. And on the boat, they'd been eating chicken. Dion's Chicken. If you ever go to Key West you need to try it. So they're eating chicken, throwing the bones in the water, essentially chumming pretty much anything that's swimming around there.
“So as Joe and I are coming towards the boat, a fella named Charlie gets in the boat and says 'I don't want to alarm you, but there's a big shark circling this boat.' We realized we're probably about 65 yards from the boat. But we are in chest-deep water. And son of a gun there's a shark circling that boat.
“So what we do is we got together so we looked as big an object as possible. And the one thing was I will say we weren't swimming. Our feet were on the ground. If it came to any hand-to-hand stuff, we probably would've lost our arms and everything, but probably would've survived.
“The shark would swim one way … we'd scoot up to the boat and stop and stand there. The one thing I will say: The shark, he didn't look like he was all stirred up. He kind of looked like he was kind of swimming through his neighborhood and looking for some more chicken bones, to be perfectly honest. So we worked our way up to the boat and climbed into the boat.”
All for now.