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Sports >  WSU football

Observations and notes from day 11 of Washington State camp: Trey Tinsley efficient, decisive while Gardner Minshew struggles to get in rhythm

WSU quarterback Trey Tinsley (10) throws during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU quarterback Trey Tinsley (10) throws during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

On the one hand, it feels like the summer of 2018 in Pullman might last forever. It was a toasty 92 degrees on Wednesday, and as always, substantially hotter on the artificial turf as the Cougars plugged through day 11 of preseason camp at Martin Stadium/Rogers Field. Then again, when a few-hundred 18-year-olds pour onto the turf and into the bleachers for orientation within minutes of practice ending, you can easily sense the academic semester is right around the corner.

Here are the daily notes and observations from Wednesday’s practice in Pullman.

Notes and observations

– After Gardner Minshew and Anthony Gordon took turns during the 11-on-11 period Tuesday, it was Minshew and Trey Tinsley who flip-flopped on Wednesday. Similar to Tuesday, though, it was Minshew getting multiple drives and the other guy getting just one. The QB analysis, as always, continues two sections below this one.

– The offense grew lackadaisical during one of the skeleton periods and earned some up-downs because of it. Mike Leach’s other preferred method of punishment is “rolling” his players – which he explained in a comedic post-practice interview last spring – but we haven’t seen the WSU coach turn to that quite yet.

– Jack Crane, who I believe, will win the starting placekicker job also seems to be the Cougars’ top choice in kickoff situations. He slammed a few long kicks deep into the end zone and some went past it. Though Crane’s never kicked a field goal for WSU, he does have some experience in the kickoff realm and recorded nine last year as a redshirt freshman.

– With Josh Watson still in a yellow no-contact jersey, Liam Ryan is getting a large share of the reps at left guard. Coaches are still trying out different offensive line combinations, hoping that by cross-breeding their big guys, they can develop better depth at each of the five spots. At one during the team period, we saw a front five of Ryan (LT), Brian Greene (LG), Fred Mauigoa (C), Christian Haangana (RG) and Robert Valencia (RT).

– The Cougars were in shells only Wednesday. I’d imagine they’ll be in full pads for tomorrow’s normal practice, then strip off the pads for Friday’s varsity short walkthrough leading up to Saturday’s 1 p.m. scrimmage at Martin Stadium. All practices are still open, but that’ll change at some point next week.

Highlights

– Safety Deion Singleton, who should be in the two-deep as a backup safety, cut in front of his receiver to snag an interception on a ball thrown by Tinsley during the team period.

– Minshew aired out a 30-yard pass to Kyle Sweet, who caught the ball as he was running diagonally to the boundary before stepping out of bounds.

– Five plays later, Minshew noticed Sweet in a bubble near the front of the end zone and lasered a short-range pass to the receiver, who caught it without a defender near him.

– The highlight of the day for Tinsley came on his second play of the 11-on-11 series. The redshirt junior uncorked a high, deep throw down the left sideline, placing it perfectly for Robert Lewis, who made the catch and barely snuck a toe in bounds.

– Tinsley displayed his touch later in the series when he lofted a ball for Tay Martin in the back corner in the end zone. The pass flew over the head of covering cornerback Myles Green-Richards and Martin stretched his arms out to reel it in before stepping out of the end zone.

– It’s always difficult to judge the validity of QB runs during practice because the passers aren’t allowed to be touched, but Tinsley would’ve had at least 15 yards and probably more on a sneak around the left side.

– Nickel Damion Lee got to Tinsley for a touch-sack on the second to final play of the drive.

– During Minshew’s second series, linebacker Dillon Sherman bided his time on a pass play and eventually shot into the backfield to record a QB sack.

– Minshew got a chance to show off his wheels and dashed for a 5-yard touchdown that, similar to Tinsley’s scamper above, would’ve been legitimate in a game scenario.

Keeping up with the QBs

Gardner Minshew: Through the last two practices, Minshew has led four offensive series during the 11-on-11 period while the others have each led one. And he’s worked with the No. 1 skeleton group twice, while Tinsley and Gordon have each done it once. Superb on Tuesday, Minshew’s play regressed Wednesday though he did manage to get his offense into the end zone three times including once with his feet. Still, he was just 8-of-15 after a 14-of-17 showing on Tuesday.

Trey Tinsley: Gordon on Tuesday needed the day Tinsley had Wednesday. IF the redshirt juniors are still competing for the starting job – or even if they’re competing for backup reps at this juncture – one has looked superior to the other since Friday night’s scrimmage. Tinsley was moving the offense at a blistering pace to start his drive, completing all of his first four passes including the long one to Lewis that was mentioned above. The last two plays of the series weren’t quite as encouraging – a sack and an incompletion – but Tinsley still finished the day 6-of-8 with a touchdown, no interceptions and a long rushing play that got the offense amped up.

Anthony Gordon: Gordon was left out of the rotation Wednesday. If Leach hasn’t already cut this competition down to two guys, I’d anticipate a Gordon sighting on Thursday.

Quotable

“In high school, after my senior year I had two hip surgeries on both sides so I had five anchors in my left hip and three in my right. so I’ve always known how to treat the body and it’s not nothing new. I’ve always known after practice, after lifts, any off days I’m always doing ice baths, getting my stuff stretched out by the trainers and stuff like that.” – Nickel Hunter Dale, on how experience with injuries has taught him how to treat his body.

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