Tue., Aug. 9, 2016
Highlights and observations from Lewiston
Before we get to the practice highlights, we have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that players and coaches were not available for interviews after practice, so I don’t have any videos to pass along. This is apparently a “day-to-day” thing, so there’s a chance our stories from camp will start to contain a notable lack of perspectives other than my own.
The good news is that my favorite part of the job, our weekly live chats, starts up again tomorrow. Join me here on SportsLink at 10 a.m. so we can catch up and talk Cougars football.
Now, here’s what I saw at practice.
-- Defensive back Charleston White arrived at camp. He’s a good athlete with a lot of game experience who can play either corner or safety, so he’ll at least bolster the secondary depth.
-- Bullish predictions about Washington State’s 2016 season typically center around what is expected to be a formidable offense. So far in camp the defense has looked a little better, however, and the gap widened on Tuesday. Early in practice, the defensive backs broke up nearly as many passes as they allowed during the one-on-one drill. And the defense won the team period by a score of 49-23, which led to 25 up-downs for the offense. Mike Leach wasn’t satisfied with the quality of up-downs, so he stopped the offense after 25 and told them to start over.
-- While the defense held the offense down most of the day, there were some good individual performances by offensive players. Gerard Wicks had hi s best run of camp during team period – assuming he breaks a safety’s tackle he’s gone 55 yards for a score. C.J. Dimry blew past Robert Taylor on a fly route to score during one-on-one’s and River Cracraft made a nice catch despite being held by White. Cracraft had a good day overall, scoring a touchdown during team when the defense was dominating otherwise, and plucking a ball away from Shalom Luani in the end zone during one-on-one’s.
-- One defensive player who got a shot today was true freshman Marcus Strong, and he had a pretty cool learning moment. He was running with the second unit during the skeleton drill when he lost track of Isaiah Johnson, who got wide open on a comeback route. The first-year player got some tough love from the coaches, but apparently learned something. Just a couple plays later he got his first interception, diving in front of Kaleb Fossum to pick off Tyler Hilinski’s offering.
--Robert Taylor played cornerback rather than safety today, and had another good practice, picking off Hilinski’s throw on the first play of the team period. Whether the move is permanent or just taking a look at Taylor in a different role is uncertain. Jalen Thompson has played very well at the strong safety spot during camp, but the Cougars seem to have more depth at corner than safety.
-- Another defensive back who has been coming on is Treshon Broughton. If you recall, Broughton was brought in as a junior college transfer last year to play cornerback, but arrived at camp late. Luckily for the Cougars, true freshman Darrien Molton emerged as a starter-caliber cornerback, so they were able to ease Broughton into playing time. Now he’s in a rhythm, however, and intercepted one of Luke Falk’s passes to Tavares Martin on Tuesday.
-- Dezmon Patmon had a great touchdown catch on a deep ball from Hilinski during skeleton.
-- Isaac Dotson had a really good day, breaking up one of one of Hilinski’s passes during team period and interception Falk on the final play of the period, in the end zone.