FROM PULLMAN — It was the typical Thursday practice in terms of the workload — special teams, then a whole lot of scout work on both ends of the field followed by the standard “Thursday Night Football” team session for the scout-teamers at Martin Stadium. But today's practice also brought news of a change to the starting defensive lineup. Read on. Or watch the video above. Or both.
As expected, Cyrus Coen will replace Eric Oertel in the starting lineup at SAM linebacker on Saturday. We say expected, because Coen has seen the majority of the reps at that position with the No. 1 offense this week in practice. Afterward, linebackers coach Jeff Choate said Coen has simply earned the chance with his production in camp and in the BYU game.
“It’ll be an opportunity for him to put his best foot forward,” Choate said. “The objective there is that you’re competing fo your job every day. If he continues to perform at a high level, he’ll get those opportunities. But I know Eric wants to redeem himself and go out there and make his plays.
“And it’s very, very close. We’re not talkiing about a guy who has established himself over a long period of time. We’re talking about one guy, this guy played better. Well if you played better, you’re going to get the opportunity to get the start.”
Choate said he thought the linebackers played pretty sound in terms of knowing their assignments and being in the right places at the right times. Darryl Monroe struggled a bit with fatigue, Choate said, though he was pleased with the way Jared Byers performed when he was called upon to replace Monroe.
“I think fatigue set in in the second quarter in particular (when they) set the tempo up higher,” Choate said. “That affected Darryl’s ability to make plays because he was fatigued. When he was fresh he played extremely well. Once he got fatigued he didn’t. So that’s a good lesson for me, making sure I keep an eye on him and have confidence in Jared to go in and spell him, or vice versa.”
Other notes … There not only was crowd noise piped in through the speakers, but also a selection of rap songs early in practice. Tupac, Eminem and Rick Ross could be heard from miles away (OK, maybe not miles). … It appears as if the starting offensive line will feature John Fullington, Jake Rodgers, Elliott Bosch, Dan Spitz and Wade Jacobson. … Steven Hoffart and Matthew Bock continue to work with the first-team defensive line. Xavier Cooper was a full participant once more, though primarily with the second team. … The usual crew of players worked out on Rogers Field — Henry Eaddy, Darren Markle, David Davis, Darryl Paulo, Justin Clayton and Robert Barber were among them.
That's all for now. We'll be back later with our Pac-12 power rankings for the week.