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WSU practice notes: Luke Falk looks sharp

Quarterback Luke Falk looked sharp in Washington State's first full practice since last weekend's loss to Portland State.

Falk took reps with the first team and had a good practice, completing passes downfield and throwing with good velocity. The same could not be said of Peyton Bender, who struggled on Tuesday.

During seven-on-seven, Bender threw one interception to Dakota Sinchak and would have thrown two but the defender dropped the pass. He had a couple more that were batted down or broken up and never appeared to get into much of a rhythm.

On the other practice field, freshman quarterback Tyler Hilinksi had a mixed day. He threw one beautiful pass that traveled 45-yards in the air, only to bounce off Kyle Sweet's hands in the end zone. However, he later threw a pass that was intercepted by Peyton Pelluer.

Of course, I saw more than just the quarterbacks at practice. Here are my notes:

-- Suli Hameed, Mack Hopkins, C.J. Dimry, T.J. Fehoko and Amosa Sakaria were limited during practice.

-- It seems like I've seen more NFL scouts this year than in the past. Likely a function of having one seemingly surefire draftee in Joe Dahl, and a few players who are likely to get invited to camp even if they aren't drafted in Destiny Vaeao, Gunnar Eklund and maybe a few others. Today I saw scouts from the Rams, Chargers and Bills.

-- Erik Powell took kicks at the start of practice, and was generally accurate until the final attempt, which went way to the right of the goal posts.

-- The Cougars defense ran some tackling/pursuit drills  early in practice, with an emphasis on would-be tacklers shortening their strides to allow for quick changes of direction.

-- Freshman safety Hunter Dale had the play of the day. The Cougars were running a deep ball drill with the defensive backs where the defender would start running backwards in either a backpedal or bailout position. Then, defensive coordinator Alex Grinch would throw the ball somewhere on the field and the defender would have to break out of his backpedal and run to the ball for the interception. Grinch threw one deep that led Dale right to a big, plastic trash can. Dale didn't see the obstacle and tripped over it, practically flipping, but still managed to haul in the interception.

-- Some of the offensive linemen looked really good during the one-on-one drill against the defensive line. Cole Madison stood up Kache Palacio and Gunnar Eklund similarly stonewalled Daniel Ekuale. Chris Paz tossed Noah Osur-Myers aside, earning the approval of assistant coach Joe Salave'a. Dahl actually didn't have a great rep, getting beat by Hercules Mata'afa, prompting the left tackle to take himself out of the drill to do up-downs nearby.

-- One player who I think deserves a little ink now is walk-on running back Alijah Lee. Gerard Wicks, Keith Harrington and Jamal Morrow form the running back triumvirate and James Williams is the Back-Of-The-Future ™. But Lee is the hardest working guy in show business, playing running back for the scout team and getting beaten up every day by the starting defense. It's a thankless job, but Lee seems to give the defense a better look than most scout running backs and is able to punish a missed assignment or lackluster effort with a good run.

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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