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Mike Price and Jeremiah Allison fire up the Cougars

Before today's practice former Washington State football coach Mike Price addressed the team.

We weren't close enough to hear what he was saying, but judging from how animated he became during his speech, we're guessing it was something inspiring.

Price coached the Cougars from 1989-2002, taking WSU to a pair of Rose Bowls and three 10-win seasons.

"A good guy, I've know him for years," current coach Mike Leach said. "A great guy, actually the first time I ever came out here was to speak at a clinic he put on."

One Price finished up and exited with his former QB, Jason Gesser, as escort the Cougars took the practice field and linebacker Jeremiah Allison did his best to fill the motivational void.

We have more on practice, after the jump.

Maybe Allison had some extra pent up energy or maybe he's buying into the lion motif today's athletes seem to be into. Whatever the reason the linebacker was especially vocal on Tuesday, roaring after big plays and turning what seemed like a fairly mundane practice during the drill period into one of WSU's most energetic practice.

"Jeremiah is the light of the fireworks out here so he needs to continue that," linebackers coach Ken Wilson said.

He was especially fired up after sacking Connor Ennis during a scout team period, which was shortly followed by a sack from Peyton Pelluer, who took reps with the ones at Mike linebacker.

Pelluer got his first career start on Saturday at Mike, but ended up with about 50 percent of the reps while sharing time with former starter Darryl Monroe. Wilson said the two are fighting for the spot right now and Monroe had a nice play of his own to breakup a pass that was nearly intercepted.

Cyrus Coen had a big play of his own, intercepting Luke Falk earlier in the practice.

The Cougars have a tough task ahead stopping USC quarterback Cody Kessler and his plethora of wide receivers. To avoid getting burned by the Trojans' play-action passing game they'll need to first take care of running back Javorious "Buck" Allen, who has already passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season.

"If we can slow the run down they're going to throw the ball and they do a good job on level three, level two routes," defensive coordinator Mike Breske said.

Breske also provided a critique of his young defensive backs that played against Arizona on Saturday, particularly Pat Porter, a freshman who made his first career start.

"He was playing off and we wanted to press these guys," Breske said. "Just playing too deep the first series and then he got back up. We wanted to get in their face, 6-foot-3 receivers we want to press them."

One thing the Cougars can do to scout USC is look at Washington last season. The Trojans of course are coached by former UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who took a few assistants along with him.

However, they don't look like USC did last year, something that surprises Leach considering the fact that Sarkisian and former USC coach Lane Kiffin both coached there under Pete Carroll.

"I would have thought more. But offensively the complexion's a little different and then what Wilcox runs defensively is a little different, too," Leach said. "Lane was kind of traditional sort of well not the NFL now the NFL now looks more like us but the more traditional run, play-action that kind of controlled passing game stuff.

"Sarkisian is a little more of the run and unbalanced lines and put extra people here, trying to leverage you with extra people."

Limited at practice were Devonte McClain, Nick Begg, Mack Hopkins, Kahshan Greene, Nate DeRider and Isaac Dotson. Charleston White wasn't at practice, as far as I could see. Also absent was Gerard Wicks.

Sam Flor ran with the ones at center – he started there against Arizona – but usual starter Riley Sorenson also participated. The starting cornerbacks on Tuesday were Porter and Daquawn Brown, with Kevin Griffin and Marcellus Pippins as backups.

The safety starters were Darius Lemora and Taylor Taliulu with Sulaiman Hameed and Beau Glover backing them up.

Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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