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Cougs improve after ‘awful’ Tuesday practice


FROM PULLMAN — This time, there were no post-practice trips to the sand pit. And the tempo of Washington State's Wednesday session was much more to coach Mike Leach's liking. Read on.

Offensively, Leach said, his team responded well to yesterday's extra workout, brought about by what Leach termed one of the worst offensive practices he's seen in the last 20 years.


“Offensively, we had real good tempo,” Leach said. “Defense, we left a little to be desired. Yesterday offense was awful, among the worst I’ve seen in 20 years. I thought defense was pretty good. Defense bounced around they hustled good, had a lot of enthusiasm. Don’t know that offensively we presented them too many problems, between self destruction and their enthusiasm and effort. … The offense bounced around good today. Defense I think needs to pick it up. I think they were too satisfied and too complacent than yesterday.”

The offense got the better of a red-zone drill between the No. 1 units toward the end of practice, as Connor Halliday — who took a decent number of reps — dropped a nice touchdown pass to Brett Bartolone before Leon Brooks took a handoff for a touchdown to help lead the offense to victory. The defense, as is customary, performed up-downs after losing.

Overall, there was more encouraging chatter between the offensive players than usual, perhaps a sign that they wanted to avoid another post-practice workout similar to Tuesday's.

“The funny thing is we addressed this in the team meeting before,” Leach said of Tuesday. “Because I know this, I myself, friends, family, media, ‘what are you going to do in the off week? Are you planning to do this, that and the other thing in the off week?’ That’s not my definition of an off week. Off week means you don’t have a game. Off week doesn’t mean you don’t work. We even talked about that. Well, some of them viewed the off week to be the civilian definition rather than ours, but they’re aware now we don’t see it that way.”

He added that his receivers caught 800 passes total on Tuesday.

“And I’m fully prepared to catch 800 more if that’s what’s required to get the effort we got today.

“There was a clearly false story that mentioned today we were out here longer than we were, but nevertheless if it’s required to, if 1,000 balls are required I’m prepared to do that.”

Leach was asked about the players who have left the team recently, and he said it's part of the territory for a team playing under a first-year coaching staff.

“There’s always a certain amount of that,” Leach said. “And we’re going to raise the bar around here and folks that don’t fit in with that, we don’t expect to have around, and there’ll probably be more than that.”

Asked about receiver Blair Bomber, who told Adam Lewis of Sportspress Northwest that he intends to transfer to Eastern Washington, Leach said: “We wish him the very best, and I know he really likes football, but he also wants to go somewhere he can get on the field and play so we wish him the best.”

… Receiver Marquess Wilson and running back Teondray Caldwell didn't participate in practice. Cornerback Nolan Washington suited up, but rode an exercise bike. Offensive lineman Taylor Meighen was not present at practice. Linebacker Khalil Pettway remains sidelined, as well.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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