From Pullman -- Most of the Cougars were back at practice on Tuesday after taking Monday off, like always, to lift and watch film. Some defenders, however, were limited meaning their backups saw the bulk of the action. At safety Taylor Taliulu was limited during practice and Casey Locker took his reps with the first string defense. Taliulu was injured in Saturday's game at Arizona and needed to be helped off the field, but returned to play in the second half.
Also limited was linebacker Cyrus Coen, who missed much of Saturday's game despite starting. In his place at the SAM linebacker position was backup WILL linebacker Tana Pritchard. The sophomore appeared to handle the transition well.
"When you play as long of a season as we do everyone's getting cross-trained," linebackers coach Ken Wilson said. "So it was just a matter of time before we had to start moving guys around a little bit. We've been very lucky up to this point but we were ready for that when it happened."
Isaac Dotson, Bennett Bontemps, Jacob Seydel, Chester Su'a and Moritz Christ were the other limited players.
More from practice after the jump.
The quarterbacks got in extensive work, both in the skeleton drill and in 11-on-11 situations. Starter Connor Halliday and Austin Apodaca went against the scout team defense, while freshman Tyler Bruggman provided scout team work against the No. 1 defense. When the quarterbacks missed, Apodaca's throws typically appeared to be a bit behind the wide receivers, while Halliday would overthrow them. Halliday was largely accurate, however, going 12 of 15 during 11-on-11 drills with one sack. Apodaca went 5 of 8 during the skeleton drill.
The first team defense started off well against against Bruggman, but the talented freshman appeared to have found his stride by the day's end. Linebacker Justin Sagote picked off one of Bruggman's passes, and nearly had another a couple of plays later. Safety Deone Bucannon tipped a Bruggman pass and Sagote dove to catch it, but was unable to reel in the football before it hit the turf.
Tracy Clark had a forgettable day of special teams work, muffing a pair of kickoffs.
After practice coach Mike Leach spoke about former WSU head coach Dennis Erickson, who is now the co-offensive coordinator at Utah. The Cougars face the Utes on Saturday in Pullman.
"There were others, too, but he had a hand in changing football. There were a lot of things going on then. One, BYU had started throwing the football, controlling the passing game, spreading the field out. And then the West Coast offense took off, took it in another direction. Then Dennis and Mike Price and Jack Elway and those guys started three-step passing game, and then you had the Run and Shoot stuff too. The three-step passing game was just a controlled deal that he spread out, it evolved to where that's what people's answers to everything from blitzes to where they drop way off and there's open space. The other thing that I think was really good about it was distribution.
"Now when I got into coaching, that was, BYU's thing was one thing and then what that added to it was more one-back stuff, more quick stuff as opposed to just bringing in a whole bunch of people to block all the time to cover some space. I think it was a part of changing football and he's in the middle of it.
"He's a fantastic guy, one of my all-time favorites. When you consider all the places he's been, things he's done, he's like the most understated regular guy. He's one of my favorites."