Healed running back Galvin highlights WSU scrimmage
PULLMAN – There was something a bit different about Washington State’s first scrimmage of the spring Saturday.
It wasn’t the weather, which ranged from bright sunshine to rain showers to pelting hail. No, that’s typical. It wasn’t the crowd, which was slim, as is usually the case when the weather is so volatile. It wasn’t even the format, which matched starters vs. starters and backups vs. backups in the hour-long, 83-play workout in Martin Stadium.
No, it was the blur that was Rickey Galvin.
The 5-foot-8, 162-pound redshirt freshman, recovered from last fall’s broken arm, announced his presence in the No. 1 offense’s second possession.
He exploded through a gap on the right side, juked his way past a handful of defenders, than outran a couple of more before forcing his way through a tackle and into the end zone.
“I had a great view of that, I was chasing him,” said quarterback Jeff Tuel, who complemented the rushing attack with 13-of-19 passing for 112 yards, including a 25-yard score to Isiah Barton in a red-zone drive.
Galvin’s 54-yard run was one of three touchdowns the offense scored when faced with a full field, the first coming on Marshall Lobbestael’s 75-yard hookup with Bennett Bontemps on the second unit’s first play.
Add in the two other times the offense found paydirt in 25-yard red-zone scenarios – including one in which Galvin carried all five plays, capped off by a 3-yard power scoring run – and it was a good day to be wearing crimson.
“We’ve been doing it all spring,” coach Paul Wulff said of the offense. “We’ve got more players to work with, more veteran players. Like anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get, the better you get.”
The offense had 448 yards, though 129 of them came on the two big plays. After Galvin’s run (he finished with 77 yards on nine carries), the defense stiffened, only yielding one long scoring drive, that coming from the No. 2 offense.
Lobbestael directed the backup group 70 yards on 10 plays, the last one his pass for 13 yards over the middle to Blair Bomber.
The senior, battling Connor Halliday for the spot as Tuel’s backup, finished 9 of 13 for 160 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.
Halliday, the redshirt freshman from Spokane, was 4 of 13 for 21 yards, looking as if the wet, windy conditions affected his passes.
Marquess Wilson picked up where he ended last season, catching six balls for 41 yards, a total freshmen-to-be Isiah Myers (four for 44) and Henry Eaddy (five for 43) each exceeded. Receivers Jared Karstetter and Bobby Ratliff sat out with ankle sprains, but WSU still had 12 players catch passes.
“I keep telling people I think we have one of the best receiving corps in the conference, just depth-wise,” Tuel said.
The defense had its moments, forcing a three-and-out on the first possession and back-to-back ones following Galvin’s run. Aire Justin also came up with a pick in the back of the end zone in one of the red-zone sets.
“After (Galvin’s long run) we got the defense together and said, ‘Look, we’re not going to start off like this and come out with poor energy just because it’s cold and the weather’s disgusting,’ ” said linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis, who had the best hit of the day when he met Galvin in a hole on a draw play. “So we picked it up and got after it.”
“What I like about this group is the body language didn’t get bad,” defensive coordinator Chris Ball said. “They fought back and played pretty good from then on out.”
The defense started in nickel to combat the offense’s four-wide sets, played some base 4-3 and finished in a 3-3-5 set Ball said was put in only this week.
“We threw a lot at them with a bunch of different personnel groupings,” Ball said. “We’re a little banged up in the D-line, we have three starters out, so the 30 (the 3-3-5 set) is good to go to.”
But there was little the defense could do at times with Galvin, who, on one 17-yard run, made at least three defenders miss, one in the hole at the line of scrimmage.
“Little Rick, it’s funny to put it like this, but he’s deceptively fast,” Hoffman-Ellis said. “As a little guy you would think, of course he’s fast. When you’re going up to tackle him, he gets in an extra gear.
“I’m really excited to see what he can do this year.”
WSU returns to the practice field Tuesday in Pullman and will scrimmage again Saturday at Martin Stadium. The final spring scrimmage is scheduled for April 16 at Albi Stadium.