FROM PULLMAN -- Washington State practiced for about an hour and 15 minutes tonight, going without pads and doing some initial scout work on USC. There was also dodgeball involved. We have a few notes, as well as some additional assessment of the Auburn game from coach Mike Leach and defensive coordinator Mike Breske.
--- Most noteworthy, perhaps: Daquawn Brown was with the No. 1 defense at cornerback when that unit was together on the field, and I didn't see Nolan Washington or Anthony Carpenter in attendance. Both played in yesterday's game, but neither returned to the field after exiting. Washington appeared to be shaken up when he left the game early in the second quarter, but it's hard to say what his apparent ailment might have been.
Brown filled in for Carpenter after he left the game.
"I thought Daquawn was very spirited and excited," Breske said. "Showed a lot of excitement out there. Not always doing the correct thing, but he did it with passion. That’s the neat thing about Daquawn, he loves this game."
--- At the end of practice, players broke off into teams to engage in a competitive session of dodgeball. If there are any lingering feelings of frustration from Saturday night's results, you couldn't tell as players beaned each other with some type of athletic balls.
This isn't the first time Leach has done this at WSU. He usually tries to lighten things up on Sunday nights with a competitive game of some sort.
--- Toni Pole was sent to the sand pit with strength coach Jason Loscalzo, where he proceeded to roll. A few other players were rolled after practice, too, but on the field and not in the sand.
--- Here's what Leach had to say about Saturday's game:
(How did it look on film?) "Pretty similar to what we saw. We’re two plays from winning the game and just need to play sharper, play better. I thought we responded to the trip real well. I thought we avoided distractions. Thought we went out there and played fast right away, played hard right away. Just got to do it better. Pretty tight game in a lot of ways, but we certainly had chances to put it away."
(On the offense) "They never stopped us other than if we stopped ourselves. They never really stopped us."
(And the defense?) "Really the same thing, other than a couple explosives they really didn’t move the ball very good. We had consistent, sustained drives, they had a couple explosives that hurt us, one on special teams and a couple offensively. Other than that we tended to get them off the field other than if they got a good play."
(On players being particularly angry afterward) "They ought to be, because if they’re not pissed it means they’re not very invested in the thing. Anybody who works hard for something is going to be upset if they fall short and if you’re not fully invested you don’t tend to be."
"After watching film, we had six explosive plays, one pass play which was very questionable whether he caught it or not. Five explosive run plays, one being the 75-yard gainer that really hurt us, and we talked about with the kids today in terms of our leverage, and just our alignment was incorrect there. Get that corrected. But I thought we played that offense, which was a lot of variations in terms of movements, formations, shifts, trying to catch you, a lot of gimmicks right off the bat. They had back to back gimmicks on second and third down. But our kids responded really well, especially the adversity we had with the heat, the humidity, they did a good job hydrating all week and were prepared from a physical point of view and had our opportunities. We’ve got to close those things out. As coach Leach talked about today, we take four plays out of that game and reverse those four plays, one on special teams, one on defense and two on offense, and it’s a whole different ball game. And that’s just four plays."
(On not rotating many players through) "I felt comfortable with where we were at. Our offense did a great job keeping us off the field. I believe we were in on 67 plays, but the first half we weren’t in much. Our offense controlled the clock, did a great job and we were getting ample rest on the sideline. Nobody was cramping up or anything like that, so we were staying with the first team."
(On the defensive front) "I thought we did a good job, we got pressure on the quarterback. They only threw it I think 20 attempts and our goal is to get a sack every 15 attempts. ... We had some other opportunities to get him. Very athletic quarterback. Those guys are hard to get. It’s hard for the big guys to get those guys down. Again, our focus was the run game. We wanted them to throw the ball but our overall emphasis was the run game."