FROM PULLMAN — With this being Washington State's mock game week, the Cougars' scout-team players had a chance for the first time this season to participate in coach Mike Leach's “Thursday Night Football” scrimmage at the end of practice. We also have a few other notes to pass along, so keep reading.
For the uninitiated: each Thursday during the season, WSU's scout-team players put on pads (after a pretty light practice that doesn't typically last very long) and scrimmage against each other.
So today, after a whole lot of scout work and special-teams work, there was actual tackling and such. Tyler Bruggman led the offense first, then Luke Falk and Connor Ennis each took some snaps, too. The offensive line was comprised, at first, of Devonte McClain, Riley Sorenson, Sam Flor, Zach Brevick and Cole Madison. Brent Anderson and Pierson Villarubia stepped in later.
Defensively, Austin Brown, Moritz Christ and Max Hersey began along the defensive line, with Ivan McLennan, Peyton Pelluer, Jeremiah Allison and Feddie Davey at linebacker. Daquawn Brown and Charleston White took first crack at cornerback, and Isaac Dotson and David Bucannon were the first safeties.
Obviously, there are a few familiar names among that group that will be on the travel squad for Auburn and will likely play, at least on special teams (Robert Lewis caught a few passes, and he'd be included in that group, too). Leach said he always tries to get a few Thursday night snaps for some players who might not see a ton of action in games, even if they're not on scout team.
“There will be guys that play less. Just want to get them reps and then we can get some more in here,” Leach said. “This one was kind of, we played everybody to a degree. Shortly it’ll be pared down to pretty much the top 15 on either side. You have to make and earn the privilege to play Thursday Night Football.”
Leach said he thought “the offense staggered around, stumbled, looked for practice to be over. Thought the defense came out excited to play, then offense’s point of view changed on that and then changed dramatically shortly after it ended.”
That last part might be in reference to up-downs.
Jamal Morrow probably had the best play of the day when he hurdled White on a swing pass he caught from Falk, which led to some noise on the sidelines (and from first and second-string players who stuck around to watch).
Brown made a pretty nice play on a pass he intercepted that was intended for Drew Loftus.
– Leach was asked if there are any freshmen who he's certain will not redshirt. He named the obvious duo of River Cracraft and Lewis, but also said freshman walk-on John Thompson might play this season, too.
Defensively, Mike Breske said Brown, White and Pelluer likely won't redshirt. He also said redshirting linebacker Chester Su'a, who has yet to practice, might be “a consideration.”
– Breske said sophomore Taylor Taliulu will start at strong safety alongside Deone Bucannon. Taliulu has been getting most of the No. 1 reps recently, so this is not a surprising revelation.
“I just think he’s matured, he’s grown up, he’s had a great spring ball for us,” Breske said of Taliulu, “and then got some allergies this summer and kind of slowed him up from a physical point of view. I think he’s just getting back, healthy wise. He’s got some severe allergies. It was a tough summer for him but he’s doing good.”
– Kristoff Williams, Brett Bartolone and Rickey Galvin rode exercise bikes at the beginning of practice. Paris Taylor and Tyler Baker did some conditioning drills on Rogers Field.