We got updated rosters today that include the new walk-ons and one of the players stood out above the rest. Reggie Coates has transferred to Washington State from Nevada, the Cougars' opponent this week, and the 6-foot, 246 pound linebacker is listed as a redshirt junior.
We have more on Coates and the rest of WSU's practice after the jump.
Coming out of high school in 2011, Coates claimed scholarship offers from schools like Iowa State and Washington, and drew interest from other Pac-12 schools. He decided to sign with Nevada to play for linebackers coach Ken Wilson, and appears to have followed Wilson to Pullman.
“Reggie's a transferred here, walk-on from Nevada he's a good player. Played for us down there,” Wilson said. “He left that program and came to Washington State and hopefully gets a look up here. He just got here, just got into school so, another guy on the field.”
We also asked Wilson about the return of Cyrus Coen to the linebacking corps. In addition to the obvious benefits of getting a starter back – he's better than his replacement – Wilson reiterated a theme among the coaches that the depth will make a big difference on defense, and that some of WSU's struggles on Thursday were due to not subbing enough.
“He's moving well and he gives us a chance to sub guys over there and have Mitch (Peterson) not play so many snaps. Get Paris (Taylor) on the field maybe if we get into some passing situations,” Wilson said. “It can't hurt right now to get him back on the field, he had a good fall camp and was just rounding into form in the fall but he had a little setback there. Hopefully he's ready to go.”
River Cracraft was limited on Monday but was back in action on Tuesday.
The regular defense did well against the scout offense on Tuesday, with safeties Teondray Caldwell and Taylor Taliulu each collecting interceptions off quarterback Peyton Bender. The redshirting freshman also fumbled a snap, which was scooped up by Daquawn Brown.
The scout offense again used receiver Gabe Mark at quarterback occasionally to simulate Nevada's Cody Fajardo. Because of his athleticism Marks gives the defense a better look on quarterback runs.
“Gabe's a great football player,” Wilson said. “To have him and Brett (Bartolone) down on our side of the field with some of the young guys that we've got is great. He's such a good athlete, he can do different things he can throw, run, so he gives us a dimension there that we need for the speed of the game.”
I didn't see who threw it but walk-on receiver Dewan Lee Thompson had one of the day's best catches, streaking downfield for a touchdown with Taliulu in coverage.
The hands of the punt returners were still an issue during practice with Rickey Galvin dropping one today. Punter Jordan Dascalo had a good day, routinely sending the ball 40-plus yards out of his end zone.
Quarterback Connor Halliday had little trouble with the scout team defense, as expected. He was sacked on the first play but followed that with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robert Lewis, who ran an out route to the right sideline. A cluster of linebackers broke up Halliday's next pass, but the quarterback completed his next 10 or so before I turned my attention back to the defense.
Charleston White had both a good day and a bad day in pass coverage. The good was that he broke up a pair of passes, the bad was that both should have been interceptions.
After practice defensive line coach Joe Salave'a attributed some of the unit's struggle on Thursday to taking on too much responsibility and said that he hopes that they play with less pressure against Nevada, while still playing with energy and focus.
“I think more so it's just the mental aspect of the guys, you know, go into a game and they talk themselves up so much to the point that they can't perform and they can't do that. That was unfair to them,” Salave'a said. “They don't need to do put any more extra stuff in than what they've already done and that's something that those guys really were hard on because they feel they underperformed for the rest of the group. And it's a good thing that they feel that way but they cannot do that, to go into a game knowing that they prepared enough – no need to put any extra stuff to where they can't see the guys in front of them, and that's what they do best is attacking up front.”