From Pullman — Today, much like Led Zeppelin, I was a Fool in the Rain. And boy did it ever rain. The Cougars had their most inclement practice of the spring on Thursday. Find out which of my notes survived the tempest after the jump.
The defense was a clear victor on the rainy day, which saw numerous drops and a few receivers have their gloves taken away as punishment. Linebacker Darryl Monroe had some tongue-in-cheek words on the matter, saying:
“Receivers are usually prima donnas so they get in the rain like ‘oh man, it’s raining.’ So they try to use it as an excuse to drop the ball. But for us it’s like, OK, now it’s easier to draw the ball out or strip them or make a fumble. We chatter at them like, ‘oh, you know it’s raining, right? You know you’re going to lose?’ Just messing around with them pyschologically but it’s all just mental.”
Nobody suffered more because of the weather than quarterback Luke Falk, who appeared to pull slightly ahead in the race with Tyler Bruggman for backup quarterback. But on Thursday the redshirt freshman completed just 7 of 15 passes during the team period while also suffering sacks from linebackers Chester Su'a and Tana Pritchard. Falk looked better in the 7-on-7 session, however, completing 14 of 20 passes.
Receiver Gabe Marks saw his first team action of spring, catching a pass from Connor Halliday in 11-on-11's. Marks has been out with a groin injury but has been seeing more action, little by little, over the last week or so. Halliday went 9 of 16 in the team session and 12 of 18 in 7-on-7's.
He was also intercepted by Monroe during 7-on-7. The drill involves three “defensive linemen” who don't chase the quarterback but hold up pads to simulate defenders' waving arms. Monroe appeared to hide behind one of the pad-wavers, before leaping up to pick off a pass that was lofted to a running back, drawing some complaints from Halliday.
The day also saw the most extensive action yet for Sebastian LaRue who switched to cornerback after transferring as a receiver from Texas A&M. LaRue played a number of snaps during the team session and blanketed Kristoff Williams on one play (although he probably got away with pass interference).
LaRue also saw some work on special teams, returning one “kickoff” by making an impressive cut and then running between two defenders before they could close the gap. Not to be outdone, fellow cornerback Marcellus Pippins made an equally impressive move on the next return.
There were also some injuries. Brett Bartolone returned to practice but only to the exercise bike, which he used while wearing a sling on his left arm. At the end of practice running back Marcus Mason appeared to injure his leg and limped off the field. While the injuries don't bode well for the two contributors the rest of spring, neither appeared to be of the long-lasting or lingering variety.