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Dinged up Cougars add a receiver

It's a good thing Washington State entered the season with so much depth at receiver, returning their top eight from last season. Last year's leading receiver, Gabe Marks, is going to redshirt the season, while starters River Cracraft and Kristoff Williams are both limited and wearing yellow no-contact jerseys during practice.

So it was good to see Barry Ware at practice today. Ware, a freshman, was on the roster during fall camp but never arrived. He's with the team now, however, and looks the part at 6-foot-2, 213 pounds. While it's unlikely Ware will play this season, it's nice to add depth at outside receiver with Isiah Myers, Kristoff Williams and Vince Mayle graduating after the season.

"He looks good," Mike Leach said after practice. "We've just got to get him out here practicing. We're glad to have him and are looking forward to working with him … He's a big, tall, physical guy with really long arms that has a lot of range to him."

We have more from practice, after the jump.

The team took its customary field goal attempts to start practice, except this time it was Quentin Breshears not Erik Powell. Breshears has taken over as the team's No. 1 kicker after the Nevada game, in which Powell went 1-for-3 and Breshears made a 38-yarder.

"We had a chance to give Quentin a shot, he took advantage of it so good for him," special teams coordinator Eric Russell said. "Both of them I think are good kickers but they've got to understand that we can't miss."

Russell did say that Powell will continue to handle kickoff duties for the time being.

Gabe Marks and Peyton Bender took most of the scout team quarterback reps, running Portland State's pistol offense, which includes a lot of quarterback runs and quick passes to the sideline.

Bender had a good day throwing the ball, including a nice deep-ball to Brett Bartolone over the top of the defense with the pocket collapsing right in front of him. He's not particularly fast, however, and didn't do much during the designed runs.

Marks, conversely, is faster than all but an elite few quarterbacks, and continues to give the defense trouble when he tucks it and runs.

The Cougars did one-on-one passing drills on the opposite side of the field. Dom Williams hauled in a deep pass on Charleston White, shaking the cornerback with a subtle but sweet delay move with his hip.

Quarterback Connor Halliday showed good timing while throwing touchdown fades to Tyler Baker and Isiah Myers, and backup Luke Falk zipped a nice pass to Rickey Galvin for a touchdown on a five-yard out.

The Cougars did some punt drills and with Cracraft out the return duties were shared by Galvin, Jamal Morrow and Marcellus Pippins, with Galvin getting the most reps.

Also limited were Mack Hopkins, Mitch Peterson, Nate DeRider, Isaac Dotson, Nick Begg and Chester Su'a, who was in street clothes.

Pat Porter stood out at gunner. He's really fast, at one point outrunning the ball on a punt that didn't have that much hangtime.

Meanwhile, the offensive line was struggling through a drill against the defensive line, the one where all the defenders initially attack and then only one keeps pushing to try and sack the quarterback, played by Marks.

The offensive players fared poorly, and the first string was made to do up-downs by coach Clay McGuire. One player who did perform well was Devonte McClain, who would have had a perfect rep against Toni Pole if he had struck with his left arm instead of swinging it into the nose tackle. Still, he stood Pole up and held square while the tackle attempted a spin move before and then reengaged.

Xavier Cooper was a full participant after sitting out some drills on Sunday.

Porter also looked good during a one-on-one matchup with Vince Mayle. The big, fast receiver beat him initially, but Porter's closing speed allowed him to catch up the Mayle and break up the pass in the end zone.

It's too bad he won't have many opportunities to lead block in the Air Raid, but Squally Canada was a very willing blocker during the scout team's quarterback runs.

Bender was intercepted by Darryl Monroe after trying to force a pass into the middle of the defense, but on the next play he threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Marks.



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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