Practice four is in the books for WSU and we saw some good work out of the offense. The defense had some moments as well, but not enough to avoid up downs.
“I thought they battled back,” coach Mike Leach said after practice. “I thought defense, that’s the biggest thing is everybody’s out here trading blows and the result is everybody gets better, quicker.”
Our practice report is after the jump.
Until Colorado State stormed back for a last-minute victory, Theron West was one of the major storylines of last season’s New Mexico Bowl. The little used Washington State running back had just one carry for one yard in the regular season but showed the coaches something in the practices leading up to the bowl game.
Those practices were mostly indoors and closed to the media so we can only speculate what West did to wow his coaches. But the decision to play West paid off in a big way. He had three carries for 17 yards in the bowl game, along with three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. He blocked a kick for good measure.
West was at it again during Thursday’s practice with a number of carries and receptions, prompting Leach to declare him currently the team’s most explosive running back after practice.
On one play in 11-on-11’s West caught a pass out of the backfield and appeared to be corralled by the defense, but he juked one defender and cut upfield before the rest could catch up. Linebacker Ivan McClennan got one back for the defense a couple plays later, however, blowing up West near the sideline and forcing a fumble.
It was also a good day for starting quarterback Connor Halliday, who went 13 of 19 during 7-on-7’s, taking one coverage sack when the team was working on third down situations.
Backup Luke Falk went 4 of 5 in third and long situations and finished 13 of 20. He struggled at the beginning of 11-on-11’s, however, starting out just 1 of 4 and was “sacked” by Chester Su’a. He recovered, however, finishing 8 of 12, with a pair of touchdown passes from five yards out.
“In team he was getting pressured and stuff,” Leach said. “Falk just needs to relax and do what he did in the other periods. But of course it’s under duress and things like that. But I did like this: At the end of the drill he settled down and I thought looked better.”
- Drew Loftus had another good day, reeling in a number of catches.
- The team did some punt work with Wes Concepcion and Thomas Fossedal, both of whom struggled to get much distance. Returning punts were Sebastian LaRue, Marcellus Pippins Robert Lewis and Darius Lemora.
- Players who were limited today were Gabe Marks, Isiah Myers, Cody O'Connell, Brett Bartolone, John Thompson and Dom Williams.