After a pretty normal practice, the Washington State first teamers faced off against each other. Then, the Cougars held a scrimmage for the underclassmen.
The initial scrimmage was "good-on-good," with Luke Falk leading the first team offense against the first team defense, and then Peyton Bender following with the second teamers. Granted, there was a fair amount of subbing, so the lines between the units got blurred pretty quickly.
For example, backup safety Hunter Dale intercepted Falk's fifth pass, which the quarterback sort of lofted to a double-covered receiver under pressure. He had marched the offense down near the red zone pretty efficiently, hitting Keith Harrington on a screen pass for about 30 yards and then getting another 25 or so on a pass to Tyler Baker.
After the interception, the offense stayed on the field at the 15-yard line. Gerard Wicks cut the distance in half with his first run, and got into the end zone with his second. Harrington then scored from about seven yards out, taking a pitch to the left and racing toward the pylon. However, I think Harrington's run would have been called back due to holding.
Bender came in and led an efficient drive (the drives started about 45 yards away from the end zone), with a sack by Kache Palacio standing as the only blemish. Bender found the end zone it with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Robert Lewis. But in a later opportunity (the drives continue despite a score) he threw a pass that was seemingly intercepted by Dale, but then dropped.
At this point the defense really started to break down, and by the end of practice few of the defensive players or coaches were happy with the day. The first pass of Falk's second drive was a quick hitter to Dom Williams, who ran right to the space vacated by some blitzing defenders. With the ball in hand he raced up the sideline about 40 yards, coming pretty close to scoring.
After that first play, there were wholesale defensive substitutions. The twos didn't last long either, though, as Falk quickly found Kyle Sweet up the middle of the field for a touchdown from about 35 yards out. The twos then rushed to the sidelines for some up-downs.
The rest of the team period continued more or less in that vein, with the defense making up some ground at the very end when Falk threw three consecutive incomplete passes. He was under a lot of pressure and Eduardo Middleton was yanked from his right guard spot at one point. Nonetheless, the offense beat the defense, 28-20, leading to more up-downs for the men in white.
Here is what else I saw at practice today:
-- Still no sign of safety Isaac Dotson. The players limited in practice were the same.
-- It appears that Marcellus Pippins and Charleston White are essentially sharing the starting spot opposite Darrien Molton. The players split reps with the first team.
-- Brett Schaeffer made five of six kicks today, with a long of 42. He might have been perfect, but it was hard to tell from our vantage point whether or not he made a kick from 33 yards, but it appeared to me that he missed.
--Kyrin Priester has struggled recently and those issues continued today with a glaring dropped pass during skeleton. Falk hit him right on the numbers on a curl route and, despite having no defenders nearby, the receiver dropped the pass.
-- Andre Drillar played well at left tackle during one-on-one drills.
-- The Cougars did a lot of kickoff coverage practice, with most of the focus being about running to spots and staying in lanes. Erik Powell was impressive as the kickoff guy – he's gotten really good at aiming the ball.
-- James Williams was against the star of the underclassmen scrimmage. He pounded the defense with runs and took a few passes out of the backfield for 15 or 20 yards. The defense did get some satisfaction, though, when Darius Lemora laid a big hit on the freshman to stop one just a couple yards past the line of scrimmage.