Halliday still the starter, other practice notes
FROM PULLMAN — It was a brief practice, as is typical of a Sunday night for Washington State. But afterward came a revelation from coach Mike Leach that he's sticking with his starting quarterback. Read on.
Leach said he didn't have much to add to his postgame comments from Saturday, simply reiterating that he's frustrated by the Cougars' inability to duplicate their practice efforts on game days.
But with Halliday continuing to take the majority of the reps with the No. 1 unit, Leach did acknowledge that the sophomore is likely to make his fifth consecutive start.
Asked if Halliday will continue to take starter's reps, Leach gave a quick "Yeah."
Asked if he thinks Halliday will start again this week, Leach said: "Yes."
So there you have it. Leach will also speak with reporters tomorrow at 1 p.m.
There's not much to report from practice otherwise. Wade Jacobson worked at right tackle with the starting offensive line, which makes sense after he finished the game there Saturday.
We spoke with defensive coordinator Mike Breske afterward about WSU's solid defensive performance against Oregon State. Here's that conversation:
(Was that what you've been waiting to see?) "The first half, definitely, I thought we played lights out the first half. We made plays on defense for our offense to get back on the field and that type of deal, and really had an opportunity to go in at halftime tied up at 6-6 but we’ve got to battle through that second half deal, that first series again. We had, really, two third-down opportunities. We could have got off the field, didn’t do it, and then the last drive it’s 13-6 and again we had three third-down situations that we’ve got to find a way to get it done. And they were 6-10 on third downs the second half and all six of them came on the two touchdown drives and they were 3-10 the first half so we’ve got to clean that up."
(On time of possession being a factor) "It is what it is. We’re on 80-some plays, but it’s just another play, another opportunity, we’ve got to find a way and we talked about it today, to take advantage of that and get off the field."
(Where did the defensive effort start?) "I think it’s preparation. Our guys are doing a great job of preparation and understanding where we’re coming from as coaches and coaches understanding where the players are coming from and still getting to know each other and that type of deal. Their preparation the last couple weeks has just been outstanding. We’ve just got to take another step against Cal and build on that. We don’t want a step backwards. We want to set that bar high and keep reaching."
(What's worked so well with the pass rush?) "I think it’s a combination of things whether we’re fire-zoning or just a four-man rush, that type of thing. We pride ourselves on tackle for losses. We want to average 10 a game. We’re just under that and then our sacks, and that’s important and takeaways. That’s our major emphasis but just keep building on that and building on it and just creating more opportunities for our offense."
(Players who stood out) "Deone Bucannon had a tremendous day. He was nine out of 10 on production opportunities which is outstanding. Missed one tackle in the game. Travis Long played an outstanding game. Justin Sagote played a tremendous game, very physical in terms of his tackling and was all over the place. The group played well together and that’s what we’re looking for."