PULLMAN – Luke Falk and his stable of rangy wideouts hummed from start to finish, James Williams made a few long, winding runs to the end zone and throughout a 90-play exhibition at Martin Stadium on Friday night Washington State’s top offensive unit gave fans a glimpse of just how potent it has the chance to be this fall.
“I thought we executed better than I guess (we do) typically this time of year,” coach Mike Leach said. “And then we appear to be evolving into a little bit of depth. I thought the defense tackled well and ran to the ball well, which is really key.”
The scrimmage lasted just shy of two hours and represented the 10th practice of the Cougars’ fall camp slate. It was also their first workout in Pullman since returning from Lewiston’s Sacajawea Junior High, where the Cougars held seven mid-afternoon practices on natural grass fields amid scorching August heat.
Below are a few highlights from the mock game:
- Tyler Hilinski hooked up with Robert Lewis for the scrimmage’s first completion and drove the offense all the way to the 1-yard line, where Keith Harrington met a brick wall of defensive players and was dropped short of the end zone. Erik Powell drilled a 24-yard field goal to cap the drive.
- C.J. Dimry was a difficult cover for the Cougar defensive backs all evening. The 6-foot-4 receiver picked up 20 yards on his first reception from Falk, then held on to a 17-yard looping pass in the end zone on the very next snap. “It’s good that everyone was firing on all cylinders,” Dimry said. “That was a great sight to see.”
- Williams found his creases early and often. The sophomore running back – one of four tailbacks who could see field time this fall – opened his night with a 24-yard gainer that saw him cross midfield after bouncing around the left edge of the offensive line. Williams went 20 yards untouched to the end zone on his next carry. “Our receivers made sure I didn’t get hit as much as I was supposed to,” Williams said, “so that was good.”
- Williams, who looked spry all evening, zig-zagged 50 yards for a score later on in the scrimmage.
- Jalen Thompson had the only defensive takeaway of the night, picking off an overthrown pass from Falk near the right sideline. Thompson stretched back to grasp the ball with both hands, then managed to get two toes in bounds before falling down. “I had good concentration on the ball and I looked it in all the way through,” Thompson said.
- Running back Jamal Morrow didn’t do quite as much for the ground game and his backfield mate Williams, but the senior was as integral to the Air Raid as any wide receiver and caught two touchdown passes from Falk.
- WSU’s newest scholarship athlete, linebacker Nate DeRider, chased down Hilinski for a sack on the fourth offensive drive.
- Nickelback Kirkland Parker, still entrenched in a position battle with Hunter Dale, broke through for a sack on Hilinski later on. Parker worked mostly with the No. 2 defense Friday evening.
- John Bledsoe, the son of WSU great Drew Bledsoe, got on the field toward the end of the evening. The Cougar walk-on QB split a series with Connor Neville.