FROM PULLMAN — Washington State practiced “stellar” in portions on Tuesday, according to coach Mike Leach. And other times, the Cougars weren't good enough. Read on.
Leach's assessment of WSU's quarterback play encapsulated his feelings about the entire practice.
“It was good in one on one period,” Leach said. “The first half of skel, it was lousy. Second half it was good. The first part of team it was really good. The middle part of team it was bad. The end of team it was good. So I mean, right now as a team we don’t know if we walk to school or carry our lunch.”
As you try to figure out what that means, also consider this assessment:
“It was really good in parts and then we’d relax. The relaxation’s what irritates me. We’re a team that’s too quick to embrace relaxation. The good parts were really good. The good parts were probably as good as we’ve had, and then we’d relax. We have to have the ability to sustain it.”
Leach liked the way the team competed at times during team session, with the offense and defense trading blows — but he didn't like that it took losing for some players to be jolted out of their state of relaxation.
The first-team offense struggled at times against the scout-team defense. Connor Halliday took control of the huddle after a particularly sloppy exchange, displaying the kind of leadership he's mentioned a few times since becoming a starter. Halliday made a couple of ill-advised throws — one that should have been intercepted by Anthony Carpenter but was dropped — but also made his usual batch of strong throws.
Practice ended with Leach giving some pointed instruction to the team as a whole about embracing adversity.
“Too many people think they can fool the man in the mirror,” Leach said. “They can go out there and look like they’re straining, but if they look in the mirror they can’t fool themselves. They did work hard for portions of practice but why is it only portions? It was a stellar level in portions. But why’s it got to be in portions? Right now we’re a team that plays in portions.”
… Practice was chippy. A scrum broke out between the first-team defense and scout-team offense, and it ended with Travis Long flinging Eduardo Middleton's helmet. Middleton seemed amused and clapped his approval. … Wade Jacobson practiced at right tackle, with Jake Rodgers at right guard, Elliott Bosch at center, John Fullington at left guard and Gunnar Eklund at left tackle. … Marcus Mason received some more reps with the first-team offense during team and scout sessions.
All for now.