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Spring notes from Mike Leach

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- Mike Leach met with reporters for about 33 minutes today to discuss the beginning of spring practice on Thursday. Here are some of the highlights, as well as a few personnel notes.

WSUSpringRoster(A note about the roster: RB Cody Hendricks is listed but is no longer with the team.)

...

First, the personnel news. Defensive end Skylar Stormo is no longer with the team, the only scholarship player -- in addition to Louis Bland, C.J. Mizell, Sekope Kaufusi and T.J. Poloai -- whose departure was previously unknown. Leach didn't give a reason for Stormo not being on the roster. ... As expected, there is a new crop of walk-ons. They are: senior LB John Taylor Altomare, redshirt freshman OL Joe Dahl, redshirt sophomore LB Anthony DeMatteo, redshirt freshman WR Drew Loftus, sophomore DB Mike McAdie, redshirt sophomore WR Daniel McDonald, freshman WR Ryan Nungester, redshirt sophomore LB Curtis Selz, and a familiar name, sophomore safety Jack Wilson, who was a special teams standout as a true freshman walk-on in 2010 before sitting out last season. He's listed as a sophomore, though if I'm not mistaken, he'd have to be a redshirt sophomore since this will be this third season, eligibility-wise.

There are also a handful of names who ended the 2011 season on the WSU roster but are no longer listed. They are: WR Coleman Bryant, K Alex Gauper, LB Paul Lutgen, DT Justin Mann, S Jay Matthews, S Trase Pickering, OL Alex Reitnouer, WR Keanu Ruelke and OL Sam Shirley. I wouldn't call Matthews a defection, though, since injuries forced him into a student assistant role last season. ... Some notable position changes: Logan Mayes, who played linebacker as a freshman last season before switching to defensive end, is still a DE on the roster. Justin Clayton is now listed as a DE as well.

Some other notes ... I asked Leach if the team will practice outside tomorrow regardless of the weather. He then told a story about his first day of spring practice at TexasTech -- which we'll relay in more detail later -- and how even through adverse weather conditions that day, the team stayed outside. So it sounds like unless a lightning storm strikes, the Cougars will be practicing in the snow tomorrow. ... Leach said as of right now, he's going to split the quarterback repetitions "50-50," and said he thinks Connor Halliday will be able to handle the physical aspect of it just fine. ... The Cougars will scrimmage each Saturday with the exception of the first one, though plans could change. ... Leach said he thinks he has some "good bodies" to work with in the linebacking corps, and that some offensive players could be moved to defense to make up for lack of depth. ... Establishing depth in the offensive line will be one of the spring priorities. ... Leach said he likes the receivers group, adding that they've got more height than what he was used to at Texas Tech. He joked that people started assuming he preferred undersized players like Wes Welker and Danny Amendola. That's not necessarily the case, he said. It just so happened that those were the best players he had at the time, so they played. ... Leach isn't opposed to using a tight end -- loves them, in fact, if they're really, truly a tight end, as opposed to someone who's just shaped like a tight end but doesn't really fit anywhere else. ... I asked Leach if everyone on the roster would be available for spring practice. He said yes, as far as he knew. I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a couple guys sitting out due to injury, but Leach does not discuss injured players.

That's all for now. We'll have more later.

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




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