Wednesday notes: Washington to start
FROM PULLMAN — We have some notes and quotes to pass along from Wednesday's practice, which was fairly garden-variety. If there are football players in your garden, anyway.
– This likely won't surprise many who read yesterday's post detailing Nolan Washington's return to cornerback with the No. 1 defense, but defensive coordinator Mike Breske said today that Washington will return to his starting spot this weekend after missing the USC game due to apparent injury.
Breske said Daquawn Brown, who earned positive reviews for his 11-tackle performance against USC, will also play, and so will senior Anthony Carpenter, who also missed Saturday's game in Los Angeles.
– Darryl Paulo worked with the No. 1 defense a little bit during scout work in place of Xavier Cooper, though it appeared Cooper took all of the snaps later on.
Defensive line coach Joe Salave'a said Paulo has been under the weather lately, but “that's one thing we’ve got to be mindful of, is making sure our guys are good to go. We can’t just assume that everybody is ready to play. Those things, you’ve got to earn in practice, whether it be Darryl or anybody else.”
I asked Salave'a about moving Ioane Gauta from nose tackle to the outside against USC, and moving Toni Pole inside to nose. He said it had more to do with each of those players' skill sets than it did anything the Trojans were doing.
“When you’re able to have those kind of players, you want to make sure that you’re constantly putting them in a position where they can be successful, and I think it worked out for us last week,” Salave'a said. “So I always stress to the guys that nothing’s written in stone. Our job as coaches is trying to make sure that we put the best 11 guys on the field at positions where they can be successful. That was it. It was nothing major.
“It was more of what these guys have been doing in practice. Not so much what SC did. It was just knowing Junior and what Toni’s strengths are, vs. what SC was trying to do to us. It just worked out for us. Those things you’ll continue to see throughout the year. We’re not going to sit back and let people dictate tempo to us, and part of that tempo is putting our guys in those positions.”
– There was a brief 11-on-11 period today. Connor Halliday started it off by throwing just a touch too long for Dom Williams, but completed his next pass — a swing out of the backfield to Marcus Mason — for a pretty decent gain.
Mason took a carry up the middle near the goal line, and it might have been a touchdown had it been a full-contact setting. Halliday kept the ball on a zone-read on the next play and also might have scored a touchdown, but he can't be hit, so who knows. He eventually threw a touchdown pass to Isiah Myers.
– Also asked Salave'a if big, physical, run-oriented teams play to the strength of WSU's defense. He said: “Our goal as a front is to make sure that we stop the run, however that pans out. Now, with the nuances and the intricate types of offense we face, it just so happens we’re in a position to have our kids be successful. Like I’ve said all along, we’ve got to be the most physical outfit on the field on any given day. We’re not going to change any of that.”
– OLs Denzell Dotson and Pierson Villarubia were limited to activities that did not include standard practice participation. Jacob Seydel remains part of that group, too, as does safety Darius Lemora.
That's all for now. Twas a fairly uneventful practice.