From Pullman -- A third of the way through spring practices, on Saturday it was finally the Washington State defense's turn to watch the offense do up downs at the end of practice. After allowing themselves to be outperformed early in the spring, the Cougars defenders outmuscled their offensive counterparts and took care of business in the passing game to win the fifth day of spring practice at WSU.
Linebacker Darryl Monroe is a two-year starter and one of the veterans that only has significant experience in the trenches. After watching his young secondary give way to the deep and experienced offensive skill players, he enjoyed watching the men in red jerseys get extra conditioning for a change.
"Always, always, because it means that we won and as a competitor – I mean, who likes losing," Monroe said.
Watching practice on Saturday were a number of coaches who participated in WSU's coaching clinic, run by the coaches over the past two days. We also spotted a trio of what looked like underclassmen from Bellevue High School taking in the workout.
The defense set the tone early, intercepting quarterback Tyler Bruggman twice during 7-on-7's. Linebacker Jeremiah Allison leapt into the air on the first interception, stretching his arms to snag the ball at the very apex of his jump. Cornerback Daquawn Brown came up with the other takeaway, ripping the ball away from a receiver as it arrived.
Bruggman completed 12 of 15 passes in the drill; starting quarterback Connor Halliday went 11 of 15. River Cracraft continued to excel in the passing game, catching five balls in the period and Kristoff Williams had a good day as well, catching three passes from Bruggman alone.
Bruggman struggled in 11-on-11's, completing just 8 of 15 passes. There two drops, however, including one by Drew Loftus that prevented a big gain. Halliday went 11 of 14 and was "sacked" by Kalafitoni Pole. Daniel Ekuale contributed a sack for the defense as well. Cyrus Coen kept the defensive mojo flowing on the very first play, blowing up a screen pass with an audible "pop".
At running back Teondray Caldwell got the most work on Saturday, including a 15-yard run during the team session, but coach Mike Leach said that Theron West is probably playing the best right now.
It was impossible to miss the return of Cody O'Connell, who has been threatening to destroy an exercise bike all spring while he recovers from an injury. The 6-foot-8, 345 pound redshirt freshman is listed as the third-string right tackle, currently.