FROM PULLMAN — The biggest news from Washington State's practice today may be that the Cougars have split up their roster in preparation for Saturday's Crimson and Gray game. Read on for who's playing with who.
I'm told there could be slight alterations made, but here's how it breaks down at present, based on who was wearing which jerseys at practice. We should note that all three quarterbacks will be wearing gray jerseys and could presumably take snaps with either team.
On the crimson team …
Running backs: Jeremiah Laufasa, Marcus Mason
Receivers: Rickey Galvin, Conner Johnson, Kristoff Williams, Kyle Adkins, Bobby Ratliff, Adam West, Isiah Myers
Offensive linemen: Gunnar Eklund, Sam Flor, Andy Agen, Zach Brevick, Jacob Seydel, Joe Dahl, B.J. Salmonson, John Fullington
Defensive linemen: Xavier Cooper, Matthew Bock, Moritz Christ
Linebackers: Ivan McLennan, Darryl Monroe, Chris Boachie, Max Hersey, Cyrus Coen, Tana Pritchard
Defensive backs: Anthony Carpenter, Damante Horton, Casey Locker, David Bucannon, Mike McAdie, Beau Glover, Parker Henry
Specialists: Wes Concepcion, Mike Bowlin
And on the “gray” team (though they're wearing white uniforms)
Running backs: Leon Brooks, Theron West, Kyle Lappano, Teondray Caldwell
Receivers: Robert Lewis, Brett Bartolone, Daniel McDonald, Tyler Baker, Dominique Williams, Gabe Marks
Offensive linemen: Niu Sale, Elliott Bosch, Matt Goetz, Eduardo Middleton, Rico Forbes, Pierson Villarubia
Defensive linemen: Austin Brown, Jeff Waldner, Darryl Paulo, Sherman Hutcherson
Linebackers: Jeremiah Allison, Eric Oertel, Jared Byers, Kache Palacio, Lyman Faoliu, Justin Sagote
Defensive backs: Nolan Washington, Bennett Bontemps, Taylor Taliulu, Rahmel Dockery, Michael Fields, Mitchell Peterson, Tracy Clark
Specialists: Andrew Furney, Alex Den Bleyker, Thomas Fossedal
Note: Anyone not listed is presumed out with an injury and isn't expected to participate.
Coach Mike Leach said the goal in splitting up the teams was to simply split up the No. 1 and No. 2 units as evenly as they saw fit, and it does appear as if each team is relatively balanced from that standpoint.
As for practice, it was pretty uneventful, because it was WSU's final no-pads practice of the spring. Each team must have three of those, and two of them have to be on the first two days of spring. So the Cougars had to work the final one in at some point, and they did it today.
Because of that, there wasn't a whole lot of contact. But there was still competition during skel and team session.
Austin Apodaca couldn't seem to miss during the skel portion, playing with the white team and completing long touchdown passes to Dominique Williams and Gabe Marks in succession, which prompted a member of the offense to declare, loudly, that “we're killin' em!”
Apodaca also made nice throws to Williams on a corner route for a nice gain, then to Leon Brooks on a wheel route he ran before catching the pass and blowing past Tana Pritchard.
The white team's offensive line featured, from left to right: Middleton, Sale, Bosch, Goetz and Forbes. The crimson team went with Eklund, Dahl, Brevick, Fullington and Seydel.
Connor Halliday also had his moments, throwing a touchdown to Rickey Galvin on a fade and another to Bobby Ratliff on an across-the-field strike into the back corner of the end zone. That was after Halliday threw an interception right to Justin Sagote.
… Mike McAdie appeared to injure his left shoulder during a fumble recovery drill early in practice. Trainers looked at him and he emerged later with the shoulder taped up.
… Leach said the use of a clock in Saturday's scrimmage/game won't be an exact science.
He plans to “use the clock normal the first half, let it run the second half and then when we get our work done the second half, stop whether the clock’s done or not, or if the clock’s done, keep going ‘til we’re done. I’m sure it won’t change from there.”
As for the format: “They’re going to have plenty of other activies up there, and those are going to be fun and exciting too. Unfortunately I don’t get to take part in those, but we’ve got the teams split in half so we’ll go out there, have a game. But we have everybody split in half and as equal of teams as we can put together, so we’ll go out there and play.”
Leach said he expects the game to last 80 or so plays, and said he'll probably use a different scoring system than the one used last year. Which, as he said, shouldn't have been as confusing as it turned out.
“Last year, somehow it was put out, which I don’t know the details, some scoring system that would require an accounting firm to figure out what exactly the score was, which I ignored that and then we put 28 points on the board because we went offense-defense last year. Defense had 28 points, can you protect the lead, and then with the confusion of the other scoring there were all kinds of numbers on that board, but internally it was 28 points, can you protect the lead or can you not? So, different this year. And no accounting firms involved this year either.”
My assumption, based on how the teams were split up, is that it will be more of a traditional scoring system like you'd see in a game. But we'll see.
… Apodaca said afterward that he doesn't think there's anything on the line for the winners or losers as of now, but Xavier Cooper suggested that the teams play for new pairs of shoes.
“I don't think that's going to happen,” Apodaca said.