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


A lighter Sunday for WSU


FROM PULLMAN -- Calling Sunday's practice "light" is only a description of the activity. The competition was just as fierce, but not in a way that you might assume. Read on.


There was some football first, about 45 minutes worth, as WSU went through its typical Sunday night work without pads. Connor Halliday and Jeff Tuel split reps with the first-team offense. Marquess Wilson and Teondray Caldwell did not participate, and neither did cornerback Nolan Washington. All three players left Saturday's game due to injury. ... After those 45 minutes, the Cougars gathered together at midfield as a team while small orange cones were set up on both sides of the field. The purpose? The Cougars were going to play some dodgeball. They split into four teams -- two composed of offensive players, two composed of defensive players -- and faced each other on two different sides of the field. From what I saw, Matthew Bock helped one of the defensive teams win its first game against the offensive team they were playing, and Cyrus Coen was a key contributor in another defensive victory soon after.

Coach Mike Leach said he wanted his team to "compete at something" and was pleased with the result.

The Cougars will take tomorrow off before practicing Tuesday and Wednesday, then will take Thursday and Friday off before returning to practice on Saturday night. Leach said Tuesday and Wednesday's practices will both be similar to a typical Tuesday practice, with third-and-long and red-zone work mixed in, along with one-on-one drills.

Leach said he'll use the week to decide between Tuel and Halliday at quarterback.


"We’ve got a week, and they do some good things but I thought Jeff played pretty well," Leach said. "Part of it, we’ve had a little bit of leapfrog going on there and they just need to settle in and quit making it harder than it is."

So what's he looking for?

"The biggest thing is who moves the offense," Leach said. "You’ll see this at all levels, there’ll be guys that look like a million bucks and then all of a sudden some short guy walks in here and does a great job. You guys have seen it at all levels, whoever moves it the best. Running backs, most of the time running backs come from big schools and the reason they do is because who’s strongest, who’s fastest, that’s quick to evaluate. Then they end up landing at big schools. Quarterbacks come from all shapes and sizes. The reason that is, is because providing you can throw it 45 yards without it fluttering, you can develop the ability to make good decisions and other skills along with it, providing you’ve got a supporting cast to work with and make the other players around you better, regardless. So I think that’s why you see them splattered all over the place. There’s great D-3 players, great who’s-who players. So I do think there’s some intangibles with moving and elevating the players around you. The ultimate thing that a quarterback does is feature and make the players around him better and utilize those resources."

All for now.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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