The Cougars held practice for about an hour tonight. There wasn't much worth noting – some punt drills, lots of scout team work at half speed – except for the return of one Sebastian LaRue, who has been away from the team because of family matters since the middle of fall camp.
After practice we talked to defensive coordinator Mike Breske for the first time since before the Rutgers game.
More on practice after the jump.
— Gabe Marks was again with the scout team – coach Mike Leach said earlier today that no decision has been made on whether or not he will redshirt, even though he didn't travel with the team to Seattle – and is wearing No. 5 now. Ricky Galvin is also No. 5 on offense and it's possible the number switch could indicate that a redshirt season is likely for Marks. Or, it could mean nothing at all.
— Freshman receiver Keith Harrington had a nice run for the scout team against the defensive regulars. While the defense isn't hitting or going full speed, Harrington still showed very nice burst and the ability to change directions quickly.
— The Cougars did a lot of passing drills, both with a defense and without. Even when the offense was running plays against the scout team the receivers were largely unobstructed. Both QBs looked good spinning the ball.
There wasn't much else from the actual practice, but I'll pass along some of what Breske said below.
(Thoughts on the game from a defensive perspective?)
We need to get our tempo going a little faster, that's on me. We came out of the gates in a fire zone and broke down in our coverage, so we kind of set the tone there. We just never really recovered to play fast and have that confidence, and that's on me and I've got to do a better job on that with the guys. Just come out and play fast.
(A lot of missed tackles on defense…)
Oh, not a lot. I mean there's a few with certain players but I wouldn't group it as a whole on the defense. But again, part of it is a couple of our guys that had some missed tackles played the whole game, 70 plays, and we've got to be careful as coaches, get some other guys in, because once you get tired your pad level comes up, you stop your feet on contact and that type of thing. We've got to do a better job of substituting so when they get to the end of the third quarter, the fourth quarter, they're fresh.
(After the first play how did Teondray and Tracy play?)
Teondray was fine. We just said Tracy get your head off. We've got to play off the first play, we don't know game speed yet. Play off, and we knew something was up. They took the ball, brought out 11 personnel and their base is 21 personnel so they're going to take a shot and guys were telling him that on the sideline. He's got to have a better recognition of the moment.
(What made Paul James so successful?)
A very patient runner. He let things develop and we've got to be very, very gap sound in that scenario. He was able to cut back, and cut way back, but we've got to be sound in our gaps.