FROM PULLMAN — A light, steady rain fell for much of Thursday's practice — the fourth of the spring, second in pads — but coach Mike Leach was still pleased with what WSU got done. Read on for our observations and notes.
First, a personnel note. Leach said redshirt sophomore tight end Aaron Dunn, a Mead High School product, will transfer from the team. Dunn didn't attend the last two practices, and figured to be behind Andrei Lintz on the depth chart. … Leach said that for the fourth practice, the offense and defense both seem to be picking things up pretty well. “We’re only four practices in but I thought it was really sharp work,” he said. “I thought both sides of the ball had really good tempo, and we bounced around really good, and so I felt we had really good work.” I asked Leach how he thought the defense was responding to what the offense was throwing at them, and he said that he's already seen quite a few blitzes and that the defense seems to be as aggressive with the teaching of its packages as the offense. “I think we’re getting a lot of looks because they’re pretty aggressive about putting their scheme in, and they’re going to go back and get as sharp fundamentally as they can as well,” Leach said. … The number of limited participants seems to grow by the day. Today, those players included CB Nolan Washington (who again was able to do more than the others), CB Spencer Waseem, CB Brandon Golden, S Max Gama, CB Travion Smith, DE Adam Coerper, OL Jake Rodgers, OL Joe Dahl, DE Jordan Pu'u Robinson, and DE Hamza Griffin. LB Curtis Selz and DE Darryl Paulo were each shaken up during practice (Paulo's issue appeared to be with his left foot), and each wound up on an exercise bike by the end of practice. RB Rickey Galvin was also seen walking off the field with a trainer. Leach doesn't discuss injury information. Which reminds me. He was asked about QB Connor Halliday, who once again was present but didn't practice. He said Halliday is observing and discussing play calls and the like with Leach on the field, doing work “above the neck” for now. But's about as detailed as he got, saying he doesn't really know when Halliday will be back in pads again. … There were more big hits today than in any of WSU's previous three practices. Tyree Toomer had the hit of the day, hammering tight end Max Hersey to the ground on a pass over the middle. To Hersey's credit, he held onto the ball. Then there was linebacker Eric Oertel, who blew up running back Carl Winston after he caught a screen pass. Defensive coordinator Mike Breske had plenty of good things to say about Oertel afterward, saying he loves his athleticism and that he's a natural blitzer. He sure looked it on that play. … Damante Horton had a nice interception off a pass from Cody Clements, going high in the air and snagging the ball with his hands far away from his body. … The Cougars spend the early part of practice working on receiver screen passes, particularly the blocking aspect. … Don't know that I've ever seen a kicker take his work as seriously as Michael Bowlin. He's always doing something. While the rest of the team was busy with a drill, he practiced field goals, aiming at a pole beyond the goalposts and nailing it more often than not. During another drill, he jogged back and forth across the width of the field. During another drill, he dribbled a soccer ball around. … The most impressive throw of the day was a long touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel to Blair Bomber, Tuel hitting Bomber in stride in the end zone. … WSU will scrimmage on Saturday, spending the first hour or so on the practice field before heading down to Martin Stadium.
All for now.