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Simmons on receivers, plus practice notes

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FROM PULLMAN -- After snapping a few photos of the new additions to Martin Stadium -- those will be up in a few minutes -- we had a brief chat with outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons. Then we came home, typed words on a laptop, and now you are reading those words. There are more of them about footballs and football players after the jump.

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--- Destiny Vaeao was seen riding an exercise bike before practice, and appeared to spend most of the day on the sidelines. Kache Palacio was at buck linebacker during scout preparations.

--- OLs Denzell Dotson, Pierson Villarubia and Jacob Seydel, along with safety Darius Lemora, were also limited and not participating in practice. Dotson was sporting a healthy-sized brace on his left leg.

--- All remains status quo in the secondary, where Nolan Washington will rejoin Damante Horton as a starting cornerback on Saturday. Daquawn Brown and Anthony Carpenter form the No. 2 group at that position.

--- Thursday practices mean Thursday Night Football, which on this day meant John Thompson catching a whole bunch of passes from Tyler Bruggman.

Thompson, if you'll recall, earned praise from coach Mike Leach early in camp after the freshman walk-on showed steady hands and a pretty solid playmaking ability for someone who came in without a scholarship. Leach even said at one point that Thompson might play this season.

It's hard to say if that will come to fruition, but Thompson hasn't stopped working. First, he caught a quick pass over the middle and took a hard hit from a defensive back, but held onto the ball and popped right up. Then he caught a pass from Bruggman near the right sideline, then made a nifty cut back inside and worked his way upfield to pick up a few additional yards.

His third grab of that sequence was also from Bruggman, and it gained about 20 yards after Thompson took a quick pass on the left side of the field and scooted up the left sideline.

The freshman caught a couple more passes, too, and looked like the best player on the field during the short scrimmage.

--- Beau Glover, a who 5-foot-9 walk-on who snagged an interception during this period last Thursday, had a fumble recovery today after Drew Loftus caught a pass but lost the ball after being hit on the right sideline.

--- Robert Lewis might have made the best catch of the day. Luke Falk was flushed out of the pocket to his left, set up and fired a pass down the left sideline, where Lewis was being defended by Isaac Dotson. Dotson was actually in pretty good position to make a play on the ball, but he fell down and Lewis extended his arms over the sideline, pulled the ball in and kept his feet in-bounds to complete the play.

--- The biggest hit of the day came from freshman defensive lineman Emmitt Su'a-Kalio. Freshman running back Jamal Morrow was trying to block him in pass protection, but Su'a-Kalio smacked him so hard his helmet flew off. Morrow appeared to shake it off OK.

Here's what Simmons had to say about the play of WSU's receivers through two games ...

(Progress?) "We’re doing a better job of catching and getting upfield. Is there room for more improvement? Yes. We need to be better with our handsin press coverage in 1-on-1 situations with our releases. For a unit that had some playing experience last year, we’re still not … our football IQ is not as high where I would like it to be."

(Where does that shot?) "Like in the run game, if a guy has inside leverage as opposed to coming off flat and being able to square him up, we want to man release like he’s going to go follow us. Usually if they’ve got inside leverage and their eyes are in the backfield, there’s a high probability they’re in some kind of zone."

(On the game-plan against USC focusing on the perimeter) "Our guys always want the ball. That’s never been an issue. They felt like going into the game they could get over the top of them and we could get by them on a vertical route. I think they were glad they got the opportunity. Dom (Williams) stepped up and made a play, Isiah (Myers) stepped up and made a play, Kristoff (Williams) made several plays and so did Gabe (Marks). Vince (Mayle) didn’t get a ball, but he was very effective in the run game for us."

(How can Vince take the next step?) "We’ve just got to get him balls. I think he’ll be just as hard to tackle as Kristoff is. That’s a lot of person running at you full-bore."

(Southern Utah's secondary?) "They play hard. I’m a big fan of their coach, Ed Lamb. He and I played together at BYU. They’re a physical group which is a direct indication of what he was. They’re going to be a strong team physically. They’re not going to lay down, they’re going to come in here and expect to do what we expect to do each week – come in here and take someone’s heart."

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple




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