Mike Leach told reporters after WSU's fifth practice that they have filed an appeal to let Kyrin Priester play immediately. If it is successful, Priester could make an immediate impact.
Priester showed again on Wednesday why he would be such a big addition to the 2015 team. His strength and speed have been noticed, but what really jumps out is how he seems to always make the contested catch. He was well covered on three or four routes today, but he never signaled to the defender when the ball was near with his body until it was nearly past the two of them, then at the last moment he would whip his hands around the ball while holding off the defensive back. He's also very good with the ball in his hands and, if eligible, he and Dom Williams would give the Cougars two high-level players at the X receiver position.
-- At the H receiver position, freshman Kyle Sweet appears to be getting a long look at the No. 2 spot behind Robert Lewis. While I think the coaches will want to keep Lewis—who Leach called one of the team's best blockers—on the field as much as possible, it still appears that Sweet will see time as a freshman. So far, it looks like Sweet runs good routes and can do some damage in the open field after the catch. Another freshman receiver Leach noted was Tavares Martin Jr., who has been playing at the Z receiver position.
-- Wednesday's practice was WSU's first in full pads and the Cougars celebrated after practice. While the players knelt at midfield and listened to the coaches, an ice cream truck playing the WSU fight song drove onto the field, eventually parking on the track so that players could grab a cool snack after the hot practice.
-- Not a great day for the kickers, Erik Powell and Brett Schafer. Powell hit the goal post on a miss from 20-yards and also missed from 41-yards to go 3-5 with a long of 45-yards. That being said, Vince Grippi (he came to Lewiston!) and I agreed that the 45-yarder would have been good from about 60-yards out. The kid definitely has some power. Schafer missed from 34 and 41 yards and possibly from 45, it was hard to tell whether or not that one was good.
-- James Williams got a little run at punt returner today, as did Martin Jr., Priester and Gabe Marks. After practice, running backs coach Jim Mastro said that Williams could be the best athlete he's ever had.
-- Peyton Bender had a nice skeleton drill, dropping in beautiful intermediate passes to Sweet over the middle and Priester on the sideline. He also had a couple touchdown passes to Jamal Morrow and Gabe Marks.
-- Shalom Luani continues to paly well in his first week with the Cougars, intercepting Falk during the skeleton drill.
-- Powell and Zach Charme were the punters again on Wednesday. Charme showed a little more leg power than we'd seen in previous practices but it's not consistent, yet. Powell was solid.
-- The defensive was able to pressure Bender during the team period. Jeremiah Allison sacked the quarterback early and two plays later Dylan Hanser (I think) sacked Bender and knocked the ball loose. Bender responded nicely by completing his next five passes.
Safety Isaac Dotson again saw time at nickel. Luani and Taylor Taliulu were the safeties when Dotson slid over to nickel.
-- Falk relied again on a potent ground game, highlighted by running back Gerard Wicks, who had a long run and later sprung Jamal Morrow for a score while lead blocking. Falk even called his own number on one play and rushed around the right tackle for a gain of around 10 yards.