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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


WSU practice notes: A pick party for the defense

Washington State's secondary struggled at times on Wednesday. But six interceptions cover a lot of blemishes.

It should be noted that freshman quarterback Tyler Hilinski is doing a very good job testing the regular defense, completing intermediate and deep passes to walk-on receivers by placing accurate passes through tight windows and gaps in coverage.

That said, there are a few more windows and gaps than defensive coordinator Alex Grinch would prefer and a few of the backup defenders have gotten earfuls for being out of position. But the secondary made lots of plays on Wednesday, intercepting many passes and earning many celebrations from Grinch.

Here's what else I jotted down in my trusty notepad:

-- The list of limited players on Wednesday was the same as it has been, with one exception. Frankie Luvu was back at practice and is no longer being held out.

-- A couple number changes: Alijah Lee is now wearing No. 48 and Skyler Cracraft is rocking No. 37.

-- Logan Tago saw some action with the ones as a Sam linebacker, which isn't all that different than nickelback except it's played by a bigger player and is used a little more against the run. Tago did a good job getting off blocks during the run skeleton drill, although I was frankly unimpressed by the third-team offensive lineman in question's ability to engage the linebacker.

-- The interceptions I saw all came off scout QBs, and only two of them came off Hilinski. Pat Porter and Charleston White made those interceptions. My favorite pick, though, was made by Marcellus Pippins, who didn't appear to actually see the ball but had his hands raised as he closed on a receiver. The ball hit his hands and he reacted quickly enough to figure out what was happening and make the catch.

-- There were two new punt returners today. Gabe Marks and Kaleb Fossum took the reps in place of Kyrin Priester, who has struggled in both of WSU's games. Marks has the edge in speed and playmaking ability, but Fossum, a freshman walk-on, has shown good hands throughout camp and the team trusts him to act as holder on field goals.

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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