FROM PULLMAN — It's Tuesday night, but Washington State conducted its football practice as if it were a Thursday. That meant plenty of reps for the younger players. Read on.
Yes, tonight was the debut of coach Mike Leach's “Thursday night football” routine, something he started at Texas Tech. Essentially, it just means that after special teams drills, and after the first-team offense and defense are finished working against the respective scout teams, the newcomers gather for an 11-on-11 team session to get some extra reps. It's similar to what Leach did during the first couple weeks of camp, though it is a Thursday tradition during the season. On Tuesday, Leach said, they went for about 35 plays. Players expected to be on WSU's two-deeps wore helmets and shorts, while the newcomers/scout team players were in uniform pants from the start and put some pads on before the 11-on-11 action.
“It was pretty good, better than average, which is exactly why we do it now so that we’re as sharp as we can,” Leach said. “There’s a certain rehearsal to the process.”
… So why do it on a Tuesday? Well, Leach is trying to simulate game week, and with the Cougars opening their season in Provo on a Thursday, they're moving their schedule up by two days to make up for it. So Wednesday's practice, for instance, will likely be a brief one, simulating a Friday walk-through after a travel day.
… Some roster notes for you: defensive tackle Chas Sampson is not on the roster and is no longer with the team. Neither is long-snapper Zach Koepp, who was also removed from the official roster on Tuesday. … DL Xavier Cooper, DT Justin Clayton, WR Kristoff Williams, LB Darren Markle and CB Raymond Ford worked out on Rogers Field while the rest of the team conducted practice at Martin Stadium. … There are a handful of new walk-ons practicing with the team, though their names will likely not be available until tomorrow. We'll pass them along then.
That's all for now.