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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


WSU practice notes: Coaches bring defensive energy

The Washington State defense started off Wednesday's practice a bit sluggishly. The defensive coaches changed all that.

The Cougars do a scramble drill to get moving at the start of practice in which a graduate assistant runs back and forth while scout team receivers try to get open downfield, with the starting and second string defenses covering.

Despite the quarterback not exactly being in game shape, and the receivers being mostly walk-ons, there were a few completions. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch called the defense around him and gave a fiery speech, the gist of which was that the team could not allow itself to have a bad practice just because it was raining.

It took awhile for the message to sink in and scout team running backs Killian Page and Alijah Lee caused problems for the defense. But eventually the unit got it together and that's when the turnovers began.

Safety/nickel Calvin Green led the way with a pair of interceptions on Wednesday, both of which came on deep passes. Kirkland Parker picked off Matt Jimison when the quarterback rolled left on a naked bootleg.

Frankie Luvu jarred the ball loose with a big hit on Page, and Hunter Dale recovered it. Dale also intercepted a pass, although the coaches weren't thrilled that he did so by stiffly backpedaling and leaping to make the grab, correcting his technique afterward.

Here is what else I saw today:

-- Dylan Hanser saw some time with the twos as a strongside linebacker, as did Logan Tago. Defensive tackle Jeremiah Mitchell also ran some with the second unit.

-- Gabe Marks had a heck of catch on a deep pass from Luke Falk during the "good-on-good" seven-on-seven drill, getting his feet in the back of the end zone and then spiking the ball with authority. Another Falk pass was nearly intercepted by Darrien Molton but the cornerback couldn't hold on.

-- Jacob Seydel recovered nicely during the OL vs. DL drill, getting beaten by Daniel Ekuale's bull rush but coming back to stop Robert Barber on his next rep. Freshman offensive guard Drew Norvell also was impressive, holding his own against nose tackle Ngalu Tapa.

-- Shalom Luani intercepted a deep Peyton Bender pass during a short good-on-good team period.

Quick note: I won't be at practice tomorrow because I'll be in work meetings up in Spokane. We've got a cool post planned for SportsLink, though, so make sure to drop by.

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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