FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach appeared visibly frustrated with WSU's offense early in Thursday's team session, and he said afterward that the defense simply got the better of most of the drills today. Most, but not all. Keep reading.
Team session, actually, was the offense's brightest moment. It just didn't start off that way.
Kache Palacio, a sophomore buck linebacker who we wrote about for tomorrow's newspaper, continued his inspired play by blasting past right tackle Rico Forbes on the outside to secure a “sack” of Connor Halliday.
After that particular play, Forbes was yanked and Jacob Seydel took his spot for a few plays.
And, later, Leach threatened the offense with up-downs, stopping play to let everyone know he wasn't all that thrilled about the offense's lack of execution.
This pleased the defensive sideline, which began exhorting those on the field to continue making positive plays and frustrate the offense even further.
But the offense responded to the challenge, picking up an overall victory in that period thanks to plays like Halliday's touchdown pass to a diving Gabe Marks.
“I was happy with two things,” Leach said. “It’s always mixed — on behalf of the defense, would have loved to see them finish the day, pull a sweep out. Offense didn’t stay down, rallied, fought back and came out on top in team. So just being competitive to fight through, I liked that part. So it’s always a little mixed.”
The defense was the victor in 1-on-1 drills — both between receivers and defensive backs, and offensive linemen and defensive linemen — and also came out on top in the skelly session and the inside drill.
Even though the defense won team session, defensive back Mike McAdie appeared to make a nice play as he broke up a fade pass from Austin Apodaca to Kristoff Williams toward the end of practice. Not sure if it was ruled pass-interference or not, because McAdie had a pretty firm grip on Williams' jersey. But the defensive coaches seemed to like the play. Nevertheless, it was followed by up-downs for the defense.
… The best fight of the day was between Moritz Christ, a defensive lineman, and Theron West, a running back. West is 5-foot-7, 172 pounds. Christ is 6-foot-5, 314. It was comical. Someone on the offense yelled a swear word after.
… Bennett Bontemps has been moved to safety for the time being. Leach said he likes that Bontemps has played the position some before, and also said he thinks Bontemps is “pretty enthusiastic and aggressive” about it.
… Another day, more additions to the list of non-participants. CBs Damante Horton and Nolan Washington were both nicked up on Tuesday, and neither practiced today. S Deone Bucannon, LB Feddie Davey, CB Alex Jackson, LB Chester Su'a, LS Ryan Saparto, OL Denzell Dotson, OL Jake Rodgers, OL Brent Anderson, LB Logan Mayes, WR Isiah Myers, DL Robert Barber, DL Ioane Gauta, DL Destiny Vaeao and DL Toni Pole also did not participate. WR Mansel Simmons is still absent. And WR Dominique Williams left team session with an apparent injury, though it wasn't clear exactly what happened.
… On Kache Palacio's play, Leach said: “Playing real well. Plays really fast, high level of intensity, has picked up quite a bit, kind of an instinctive guy — matter of fact, he’s one of the guys having one of the better springs of our group. I don’t know how to nail it down, it changes from one day to the next, but he’s having one of the best springs on our team.”
… WSU will scrimmage on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Martin Stadium.
“I think the game like conditions are good. Also I think tackling is good, the tackling aspect is good,” Leach said. “I think it’s good for the o-line and the d-line. Also there’s a few guys that are emerging that do some good stuff and we want to see them when it gets live out there.”