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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Cougars start slow on Day 9


FROM PULLMAN -- Mike Leach said his team had its slowest start of any practice yet this spring on Tuesday. No wonder things seemed quieter. We still have plenty of news and notes, so read on.


It may have been quieter, but that didn't mean the players didn't hear an earful from the coaches. Especially Leach. The Cougars spent an early portion of practice working on their screen passes, as they typically do, but Leach wasn't happy with the effort. So he stopped the drill and made the entire offense -- or the entirety of the offensive players participating on that field, anyway -- do 30 up-downs, telling them "we'll stay out here as long as we need to" before demanding that everyone get back on the ball, because "we've already wasted enough time." Asked if the team responded to that bit of tough love the way he wanted them to, Leach said, "I thought it sent a message. You’re out here to give great effort and preferably do it during the drill, but if we have to teach work and effort, we’ll get the effort one way or the other." The skeleton and team sessions went much better than the individual drills, Leach said, calling both of those periods "better than average." The offensive line seemed to respond, in particular. "There were a couple of those things that would have been 1-yard gains, they pushed the pile and we got 5 or 6." ... Leach also had praise for the play of Elliott Bosch, who has taken over at center with the No. 1 offense in the absence of Matt Goetz, who is still out with a left leg/foot injury of some kind. ... There was obviously one burning personnel issue heading into Tuesday, and that was the status of offensive lineman Denzell Dotson, who was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of DUI. Dotson was, indeed, at practice, participating in the same role he has been all spring. I asked Leach after practice if he had a specific policy as it pertains to DUI. Here's what he said: "You look at it and consider the facts and adjust to it as it comes. It depends on the circumstances of the situation, the whole deal." So, will Dotson face any further punishment? "Anything that we do, have done, will do, that’s strictly within the team," Leach said. ... Defensive end Adam Coerper returned to full speed and played with the No. 1 defense during team session. And running back Rickey Galvin appeared to be a full participant after being limited the last couple weeks. Some other players were missing, though. Safety Tyree Toomer, who has missed the last three practices with an undisclosed injury -- the only kind around here anymore -- wasn't at practice. Neither were CBs Spencer Waseem or Travion Smith, or DE Jordan Pu'u Robinson, all of whom have missed time due to injury at one time or another this spring. DT Kalafitoni Pole sat out contact drills with a large wrap/club on his right arm. Receiver Kristoff Williams didn't have pads on and rode an exercise bike during contact workouts. Henry Eaddy did the same. LB Darryl Paulo walked out on crutches and rode a bike during practice. OLs Matt Goetz and Jake Rodgers are both still out with leg injuries. CB Brandon Golden, S Max Gama and RB Kyle Lappano were all limited to conditioning drills, as was RB Kruger Story. CB Nolan Washington resumed his usual routine of participating in some of the lighter drills, working out some in the sand pit and observing during team session. ... Eric Oertel continues to stand out at linebacker, flattening Marcus Mason with a big hit during the team period. He did the same to Marquess Wilson a little later. Darren Markle made a nice play in pass coverage about 30 yards downfield against Brett McDonald. ... Leach liked some of the things running back Leon Brooks did in the screen game. Brooks caught a touchdown pass off a screen pass with the aid of a big-time block from an offensive lineman, whose number I didn't catch.

That's all for now.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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