FROM PULLMAN — The Cougars migrated to Martin Stadium this afternoon and scrimmaged for the first time this spring. We have some notes after the jump.
Mike Leach made sure to say that regardless of some of the mix-ups and communication errors WSU made, he still thinks the Cougars are farther along at this point than he though they'd be. So that's a positive. But Leach didn't seem particularly pleased with his team's execution, especially among the receivers. “I thought today we were up and down,” Leach said. “And this was kind of the one day when we were up and down. There’d be good effort. Somebody would get the upper hand, then they’d lay down, then the other side would get the upper hand, then they’d lay down, and then the thing we’re still battling … I thought our practice before this was pretty good because I thought the execution was a little better, there was a real high level of consistency. Here, we were back to a series of explosives.” … That's a good way to describe it. There were some definite bright spots, such as Jeff Tuel's two touchdown passes, one to Kristoff Williams from two yards out and one to Bennett Bontemps from 12 yards, which capped a drive that saw Tuel complete 5-of-6 passes for 50 yards. But there were also some screw-ups, such as Tuel's first interception, which was snagged by Tracy Clark, or Tuel's second pick, which was snagged by Eric Oertel near the line of scrimmage on a screen pass. “The biggest thing, receivers and I have got to get on the same page with some stuff,” Tuel said. “Still got some kind of growing pains we’re going through.” … Leach said one of the problems that comes up during a first scrimmage is the tendency of some players to revert to “street ball” mode, which he described thusly: “Rather than just your assignment and technique, then it’s just kind of a 'run and get open' type of deal. I thought we had a lot more precision in skell (passing skeleton), then came down here and “uh, uh,” and there’s all that stuff, and so I think you get that out of your system a little bit.” They're reaching the point, Leach said, where they're being asked to apply their fundamentals such as footwork, alignment, etc., at game speed, and that leads to mental breakdowns at times. “You’ve got to be conscientious if you’re going to develop your skills, but you can’t have a clouded mind if you’re going to turn it loose, so we’re trying to hit that balance there,” Leach said. … The Cougars ran about 42 plays, by my count. Connor Halliday wasn't at practice, so David Gilbertson took some snaps with the second-team offense and Cody Clements took scout-team snaps. The first-team offensive line, from left to right, featured John Fullington, Zack Johnson, Matt Goetz, Elliott Bosch and Dan Spitz. The first-team defense had Lenard Williams, Anthony Laurenzi and Xavier Cooper across the line, Travis Long (buck), Chester Su'a, Darren Markle and Eric Oertel at linebacker, Damante Horton and Daniel Simmons at corner, and Deone Bucannon and Tyree Toomer as the safeties. … Linebacker Darryl Monroe, who had been moving much better than expected after coming off a torn Achilles, didn't practice today. … There was at least one injury during the scrimmage, as defensive tackle Justin Clayton had to be helped off the field after an apparent knee injury. … Anthony Carpenter had the biggest hit of the day, leveling Carl Winston out of bounds. … Tuel completed 11 of 17 passes for 95 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Gilbertson completed 5 of 8 for 52 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Gilbertson was picked off by Simmons. Gino Simone caught the other touchdown. … Toomer said that despite the turnovers, he still thought the offense won the day. … Marquess Wilson, Kristoff Williams, Andrei Lintz and Blair Bomber appeared to play the most reps at receiver, though several others were shuffled through the rotation, as well. … The second-team offensive line featured, from left to right: Gunnar Eklund, Chas Sampson, Taylor Meighen, Moritz Christ and Rico Forbes. Ian Knight, Steven Hoffart, Dylan Rabinowitz, Matthew Bock and Toni Pole all saw time on the defensive line. Cyrus Coen, John Taylor Altomare, Jared Byers and Anthony DeMatteo saw time at linebacker. … Mike Bowlin and Andrew Furney took turns kicking PATs at the end of the scrimmage. … Along with Monroe and Halliday, Rickey Galvin didn't suit up, and neither did LB Curtis Selz or DE Darryl Paulo, all three of whom left the field with some type of ailment on Thursday. Leach, of course, does not discuss injuries. DE Jordan Pu'u Robinson didn't participate, and neither did OL Jake Rodgers, who is still wearing a walking boot. CB Nolan Washington, RB Kruger Story, CB Spencer Waseem, CB Brandon Golden, S Max Gama, CB Travion Smith, DE Adam Coerper, OL Joe Dahl and DE Hamza Griffin were all limited, as well.
UPDATE: Adding in the scrimmage stats, as relayed by WSU sports information wiz Bobby Alworth.
Marcus Mason 3-19
Teondray Caldwell 3-1
Leon Brooks 1-0
Jeff Tuel 1-8
Carl Winston 1-5
Jeff Tuel 11-17, 95 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
David Gilbertson 5-8, 52 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Andrei Lintz 2-20
Carl Winston 1-9
Drew Loftus 2-30
Blair Bomber 2-22
Kristoff Williams 2-10, TD
Leon Brooks 2-12
Bobby Ratliff 1-9
Bennett Bontemps 2-22, TD
Teondray Caldwell 1-2
Gino Simone 2-11, TD
K. Williams two-yard pass from Tuel
Bontemps 12-yard pass from Tuel
Simone six-yard pass from Gilbertson
All for now.