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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Cougars give a sneak peek at white helmets

The Cougars did indeed debut their white helmets at tonight's practice, albeit without any decals, which lasted for about an hour. Not all the Washington State players wore white helmets, but most of the regulars did. This is purely speculation on my part, but I would bet that we'll see white pants and white helmets on Saturday, and either crimson or anthracite jerseys. If WSU wears anthracite jerseys along with whatever Oregon comes up with (probably dark green numbers on a green jersey or something similar) it's going to be pretty tricking keeping track of who does what.

There were just a few noteworthy items from tonight's short practice but we also had the opportunity to speak with defensive coordinator Mike Breske and running backs coach Jim Mastro afterwards.

Notes and quotes from practice are after the jump.


-- Defensive end Destiny Vaeao was limited on Sunday and that's bad news for the Cougars, who will need all hands on deck against Oregon this weekend. Kristoff Williams and Theron West were also limited -- they weren't on the sidelines during Saturday's win over Portland State -- but Williams took reps returning kicks.

-- The Cougars spent most of practice going through drills, but did spend some time having the regulars go against the scout teams. Backup quarterback Luke Falk made a nice throw to River Cracraft on a post route.

-- No changes among the starters on either side of the ball.

Like I said, these Sunday practices are short and sweet. Here's our interview with defensive coordinator Mike Breske:

(Thoughts on the Portland State game?)

Excited for the guys to get a W. We played very, very good in the first half. Talked to them at halftime and came out a little sluggish in the third quarter and gave up 14 points. The offense picked us up and then we started playing good ball again on defense. So we've got to get that corrected but the kids played fast and this next week's game, we've seen similar plays now for three weeks and so I think that's beneficial.

(Is Charleston White giving you some continuity at the field cornerback position?)

He played a really good first half and got a little tentative in the third quarter. They threw the ball 51 times, more than the norm for Portland State and a lot of it was empty, quick game. The ball was released and we talked about it tonight that through the course of the game you've got to see that tempo. You've got to understand that he's getting rid of the ball quickly because he's pressured a bunch. We've got to be able to react to that and not be tentative, not be hesitant. That was a learning curve but now we've seen it, we've done it, and we go to the next opportunity.

(How was the tackling on Saturday?)

I thought, the third quarter, we were not good and it was a little bit of everybody. Again, we're focusing on that. The first half we tackled well, the fourth quarter we tackled well and we've just got to get four quarters of it. And that's D-line, linebackers and DBs. Everybody had their opportunity in that third quarter and we had opportunities to get off the field on third down and either a penalty or something crazy on the field. We've just got to mature on third down and get off the field.

(Daquawn and Charleston played almost the entire game. Do you think you'll substitute more against Oregon?)

I don't know, I think Daquawn's in great shape. Chuck's in great shape. Daquawn I believe had 10 tackles, (five pass breakups), had a very explosive, very productive game playing in the boundary. Daquawn stays on the field. If Daquawn needs to come off he'll let us know.

(You're facing another quarterback who can run. What's different about the way Oregon attacks than the Pistol offense employed by Nevada and Portland State?)

Well they've got a first-round draft pick at quarterback which is a lot different than what we've seen the last two weeks and he's the tops. He's throwing the ball very, very well right now. He's their leader, which the quarterback should be and he's elusive. If you watch the Michigan State game they blitz him, they had him, and somehow he got away. He's a very talented individual and he makes plays on his feet.


And here's Jim Mastro:

(How well did the running backs play on Saturday in your opinion?)

A lot of what we do is not seen but we protected the quarterback really well. Everything we asked them to do in the game Saturday, they did.

(When the running backs don't see the ball often as was the case in WSU's first two games, is there a danger that they'll try and do too much in their limited touches?)

We emphasize so much about routine plays around here. When your number's called just do what you do in practice here every day. With the way this program operates, the only difference between practice and the game is people in the stands. They just have to be able to make routine plays when called upon.

(Is the offensive line improving in run blocking?)

Any time we're getting the ball for five, six yards a crack the offensive line is doing pretty well. They're improving every week, and they're young kids so they've got to get better and better.

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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