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


Day 2 in the books


FROM PULLMAN -- Most of the television cameras were gone, and there was far less fanfare. But Mike Leach and the Washington State football team still conducted their second practice of the spring earlier today. We've got a recap after the jump.


Another day, another one-third of Mike Leach's offense introduced to his players. If you're scoring at home, that's two-thirds of it so far. "I thought retention was pretty good," Leach said. "We put a lot on them, even some elaborate stuff. Pleasantly surprised with how we picked it up and how we’re doing. A lot of times this time of year, guys will hesitate. We didn’t have too much hesitation, which I thought was good." ... Connor Halliday didn't practice today after taking an accidental hit to his still-healing liver during Thursday's practice. He still spent most of practice on the field, wearing his jersey and a pair of sweats, and did throw the ball a couple of times. Leach, of course, doesn't discuss injuries, driving that point home by saying, "He’s here and he’s doing what we want him to do. Like all the Washington State Cougars, he’s as healthy as can be and we couldn’t be happier." OK, then. ... There are three defections of note, as well -- tight end Gordy Anderson, safety Jack Wilson and safety Jordan Simone are no longer on the team. I'm told Anderson and Wilson's departures are health related. No word on Simone. ... A contingent of players were again limited to exercise bikes and conditioning drills on the side. They were CB Nolan Washington, CB Spencer Waseem, WR Rahmel Dockery, CB Travion Smith, OL Joe Dahl, DE Hamza Griffin and DT David Davis. CB Brandon Golden was also seen on a bike, though he participated in some practice activities, too. Washington did some work in the sand pit, as well. Again, injury information isn't disclosed, though Dockery did take a hit to the shoulder on Thursday. ... As pleased as Leach was with the way the offense -- and QB Jeff Tuel -- responded to his tutelage, it was the defense that had the better day. The coaches have placed a big emphasis on stripping the ballcarrier. That's a priority for seemingly every tackler. RB Carl Winston in particular had trouble hanging onto the ball. ... Deone Bucannon and Daniel Simmons each snagged an interception off David Gilbertson during the 7-on-7 period. Tyree Toomer picked off a Cody Clements pass during team session, and Chester Su'a -- who was singled out in a rather loud way by LB coach Jeff Choate earlier in practice -- redeemed himself later with an interception of Tuel. ... Walk-on receiver Drew Loftus and sophomore Kristoff Williams each hauled in impressive grabs in the end zone during 7-on-7s. Marquess Wilson caught a TD pass from Tuel in team session. ... This coaching staff is much more vocal than the last one, as we noted Thursday. But it's not without a purpose. More often than not, players who receive a tongue-lashing are also praised later in practice when they correct their mistake. ... As expected, Travis Long is doing some work at linebacker, a position he said he played a bit in high school. He'll line up pretty much everywhere along the defensive front at one point or another, I'd imagine. ... Jake Rodgers limped off the field after getting his leg rolled up on. He stuck around and watched the rest of practice, though. ... Rickey Galvin, Marquess Wilson, Gino Simone and Leon Brooks alternated during a punt return drill. ... The entire defense ran sprints for a few minutes after practice, and DE Jordan Pu'u Robinson followed with the first "rolling" session (when a player lays on the ground and literally rolls his way down the field) of Leach's spring tenure, and a couple other players were "rolled" in the sand pit.

All for now.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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