Washington State just finished up a two-and-one-half hour practice on Rogers Field, their last in full pads before opening the season against Rutgers in Seattle. There were some roster changes today.
For starters, Dylan Hanser is now No. 43, Darryl Paulo is No. 99 and Peyton Pelluer is No. 47, so mark that down somewhere. Of more interest to you, in all likelihood, was the omission of freshmen Barry Ware and Deion Singleton from today's roster.
Singleton, a defensive back, and Ware, a receiver, never joined the team after signing letters of intent with WSU back in February. However, both were listed on the roster and coach Mike Leach said early in fall camp that he expected them to join the Cougars at some point.
Singleton is a plus athlete who could potentially have contributed at either corner or safety. Ware originally committed to UCLA and at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds has great size for a receiver. Here is what Leach had to say about each when they signed:
(Ware) “Big target, great receiver skills both physical and explosive.”
(Singleton) “Tall, rangy secondary player. Can do a lot of things and just an incredible athlete. His brother plays Arena Football there in the Tri-Cities.”
Classes start tomorrow, however, and neither has enrolled at WSU, likely prompting the removal of their names from the roster. That's not to say that they'll never play for WSU, however, just that they almost certainly won't this season. The players could greyshirt and enroll in January like Hanser, Marcellus Pippins and Nick Begg did last season. They could also go the junior college route. However, in either scenario Singleton and Ware will no longer be bound to WSU by their letter of intent, opening the door for other schools to recruit them.
Leach said after practice that he was unsure if he could comment on their absence, but “we're only worried about the guys that are here.”
Follow the jump for a report from today's practice.
The defensive ones and twos made life miserable for the scout team, so miserable in fact that the offensive players, presumably tired of being beaten by older, superior athletes who knew what was coming, started a couple minor skirmishes.
The defensive backs had a particularly good day against the scouts. Daquawn Brown intercepted both Connor Ennis and Peyton Bender within the space of a few plays. Shortly thereafter he broke up a pass to Gabe Marks from Bender on a comeback route.
Marcellus Pippins and Charleston White also had nice interceptions off Ennis, and Teondray Caldwell read Bender's eyes and freelanced across the field to nab his own interception. Taylor Taliulu also intercepted Bender in the session.
Bender had a nice moment of his own, finding a streaking Connor Simpson deep for a touchdown from 30 or more yards out.
On the opposite field (the one that was furthest from us) Vince Mayle had his own deep touchdown on a 45-yard pass from Halliday against an overmatched scout team secondary.
After practice we had a chance to talk with defensive coordinator Mike Breske about Caldwell and cornerback Jeff Farrar, who each made the preliminary two-deep despite only having a few practices at their respective positions.
(How impressive is it for Teondray Caldwell to be in a position to contribute so shortly after switching to defense?)
Well, he's been working at it for awhile so we moved him a few days ago and obviously he's in a learning curve but he's picking it up and I'm really excited to see what he can do.
(Is he just a football player?)
Well, Teondray, he's an athlete. And wants to get on the field, get his dirty jersey, a little log-jammed at the running back position so very open to the idea of playing defense.
(Farrar also moved up the depth chart quickly after just a few practices.)
His athleticism, things like that. He's still got things to learn in how to practice and that type of deal, he's a typical freshman but we're excited to have him here.
(Are you at all disappointed that players with more experience were quickly beaten out?)
No, there's no disappointment. They're working hard, all those guys are and it's just about production. Especially at the corner position. Making plays when you have those opportunities. You're stuck on an island and most of it's one-on-one. He's the most productive.
(Are your guys ready to hit someone wearing a different jersey?)
I think so. It's been 15 practices in the spring plus midnight maneuvers, competition drills in the offseason to summer and then obviously camp. They're looking forward to a new opportunity and the first one is Rutgers.
(What is Rutgers good at offensively?)
They're a power football team, 21 personnel, inside-outside power. They run the lead play, play-action pass off that. Also get in 11 personnel, try to stretch the field but we've got to do a good job against the run game and be ready for the play-action pass.