Mike Leach decided to wait until the fatigue of early camp wears off some before putting his guys in full pads. His guys barely noticed. The hits that were laid on both sides of the ball were worthy of body armor during WSU's fifth day of practice in Lewiston. Still, the hits played second fiddle to some of the catches made by WSU's wide receivers, including one that Leach referred to afterwards as, "one of the best catches of my entire career."
Highlights after the jump.
-- One day after his nifty interception, Cyrus Coen laid the biggest hit of camp on Theron West, who caught the ball on a swing pass in the backfield and had just squared his body upfield when Coen smacked him straight on. It was a tone-setting hit in a brutish team session that saw two large fights break out that drew in umpteen players. Daquawn Brown gave up a 15-yard gain to Tyler Baker, who made a nice catch, but made the receiver pay with another hard shot just a couple plays later.
-- Freshman strong safety Sulaiman Hameed has gotten a lot of reps and a lot of praise for his physical play. He got maybe too physical on one play, however, laying out a running back after the play was seemingly stopped.
-- The offense got theirs, too, however. During 1-on-1 receiving drills mega-receiver Vince Mayle crushed freshman cornerback Kevin Griffin with a jarring stiff arm. Griffin responded on the next play by popping a receiver after a short gain.
-- The kickers got some action early in practice. Erick Powell made field goals from the 20, 37 and 40-yard lines, but missed his second attempt from 40 yards out. It was a rough day for Quentin Breshears, who missed wide left from the 20, 37, 39 and 42 yard lines, although the one from 39 may have been tipped.
--Connor Halliday looked especially sharp during 1-on-1's today, completing four deep passes to receivers that never had to break their strides. Baker had a nice catch on a deep ball that Luke Falk threw short. Baker slowed his gait perfectly and jumped up to make the contested catch.
-- Devonte McClain and Joe Dahl were limited today, as were Cody O'Connell and Parker Henry. The starting offensive line went, from left to right, Gunnar Eklund, Eduardo Middleton, Riley Sorenson, Jacob Seydel and Cole Madison, so it looks like Eklund slides back to left tackle if Dahl is unavailable.
-- Pat Porter was running with the 2's today, alongside Charleston White. Tracy Clark and Daquawn Brown have been starting at cornerback. Also of note was Hameed, who saw extensive time as the second-string strong safety.
-- The offense won the team session thanks to some filthy catches from Isaiah Myers and River Cracraft. When the first string offense got up to the goal line Myers made an incredible catch in which he dove across the back of the end zone between multiple defenders and Halliday hit him with a pass before he hit the ground. The catch drew wild cheers from the defense and Leach later called it one of the best he'd ever seen. Cracraft followed it nicely with a diving catch of his own but fell just short of the goal line. When Falk's unit got near the goal line the team score was tied at 27-27. Falk made a short pass to Cracraft to give his team a one-point lead, then hit Myers low on an out route, who went to the ground for another touchdown catch and sealed the win for the offense.
"We were more consistent today," Leach said of the offense after practice. "We limited what we ran. When you get right down to it, for the most part, we ran three plays today so when you consider how much we limited them I thought they played really well."
-- Both Wes Concepcion and Jordan Descalo had some booming punts today, but both also had a few duds.
-- Sebastian LaRue was not at practice today but Leach said he remains in good standing with the team and just had some family matters to attend to.
-- Leach said after practice that while Theron West and Jamal Morrow are the team's two best backs as of right now, Gerard Wicks has been "the most explosive player of camp."