From Pullman — Washington State's youth in the secondary has been apparent throughout spring. But on Tuesday the offense worked on deep throws and the inexperience of WSU's defensive backs was particularly apparent.
“We went downfield the whole time,” coach Mike Leach said after practice. “I can’t say it was their best day, I don’t think they necessarily regressed. They keep improving but we put a lot of pressure on them today and I thought the offense was pretty sharp.”
But hey, the wide receivers had a good day.
Our practice report is after the jump.
It was Luke Falk's day to play backup quarterback and he picked a good one. He and starting quarterback Connor Halliday were on point throughout practice, and they had plenty of open targets to hit. Falk looked good early, hitting Tyler Baker in the corner of the end zone with a pretty pass over the defender.
Still, the offense and defense finished that drill in a tie, prompting a 1-on-1 playoff between receiver Rickey Galvin and Isaac Dotson. The sophomore safety batted the pass away, forcing the offense to do up downs. But that's as good as it got for the secondary.
Halliday went 13 of 18 in 7-on-7's with a pair of coverage sacks. He also finished with three touchdowns on deep passes to Tyler Baker, Drew Loftus and Kristoff Williams, who each appeared to find a seam just as they got passed the linebackers and into the secondary.
Falk looked sharp as well, connecting on 15 of 20 passes with touchdown throws to Loftus and Williams, who has been standing out the last couple practices. While he isn't quite as big and fast as Vince Mayle, he's a reasonable facsimile with more experience in the offense.
“Just getting more comfortable in my senior year, knowing this is my last time out,” Williams said when asked about his improvement. “I'm going to give everything I have so I don't look back and have any regrets.”
Teondray Caldwell got the offense going in the team period with a big run, in which he rushed 10 yards upfield, spun and then cut back to the left for a large gain.
Halliday torched the secondary in 11-on-11's, going 9 of 13 with four touchdowns. The first came to running back Jamal Morrow on a deep fly route. He also found Williams deep, again, and had short, goal line touchdown throws to Mayle and Galvin.
Falk went 7 of 10 with a touchdown to Tyler Baker in the period. The defense got some measure of revenge, however, as a fired up Xavier Cooper burst through line for a sack, and then cornerback Daquawn Brown jumped a screen for an interception just two plays later.
Here's what else we saw in practice:
— Defensive lineman Darryl Paulo joined receivers Dom Williams, Gabe Marks and Isiah Myers in the “limited” group.
— Receiver Brett Bartolone was nowhere to be found at practice, but Leach said afterwards that he remains a member of the team in good standing.
— Morrow got extensive work with the 1's at running back.
— A walk-on punter who is known only by his number, 43, at this point had the best punt of fall camp, booming it over Robert Lewis' head.
— Along with Lewis, Morrow, Sebastian LaRue, Marcellus Pippins and Baker took reps returning punts.
— Leach said that neither Falk nor Tyler Bruggman has emerged as the backup quarterback yet, saying, “I think they’re similar. We’re going to keep rotating them, I think they both do a lot of good things.”