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FIRST QUARTER OSU 3, WSU 0
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Amid myriad questions about whether Washington State’s football team has improved from a season ago, there is one department in which it is no longer an arguable subject. This Cougars team is considerably better at rushing the passer than in 2011.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – He wasn’t saying it to place blame solely on quarterbacks Connor Halliday and Jeff Tuel, because certainly all aspects of Washington State’s offense had a hand in Saturday’s no-show. But coach Mike Leach provided at least an abridged snapshot of what went wrong in the Cougars’ 19-6 loss at Oregon State here on Saturday.
What went right Washington State played its best defense of the season, holding No. 14 Oregon State to just six points in the first half despite a big field-position edge for the Beavers. OSU finished with 370 yards of total offense but also ran 31 more plays than the Cougars. Deone Bucannon, Ioane Gauta and Casey Locker each intercepted OSU quarterback Sean Mannion, who was also sacked three times.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Debates over who should start at quarterback for WSU will only increase after coach Mike Leach went back and forth between Connor Halliday and Jeff Tuel on Saturday. Neither player was able to put the ball in the end zone, though Tuel’s numbers (11 of 17, 126 yards) suggested that his was the more efficient performance.
PULLMAN – As the public waited to find out who Washington State’s starting quarterback would be on Friday against UNLV, so too did Connor Halliday. But he had a pretty good idea. “I was never told I (was) starting,” Halliday said Monday. “I just took all the reps with the first team offense and Jeff (Tuel) didn’t practice all week, so it was just kind of obvious. “We’re not told much either. We’re kind of in the same boat. We just go along and try to have as good a week of practice as you can have to help the decision in your favor.” It might be a tougher decision this week. Tuel is still wearing a brace on his injured right knee, but split reps with Halliday during the scout work session of Sunday night’s brief practice. The Cougars took Monday off and will return to the practice field today at 3:30 p.m.
PULLMAN – What happened in Las Vegas won’t stay there when it comes to Washington State’s quarterback competition. And yes, it’s probably safe to call it that now.
PULLMAN – Perhaps it’s fitting that Connor Halliday’s first start of the 2012 season might come in Las Vegas. He’s confident, a “gunslinger,” according to his high school coach, and brings an aggressive, eyes-downfield mentality to the quarterback position that some fans have clamored for since his brilliant, 494-yard game against Arizona State last season as a freshman.
PULLMAN – The bevy of players riding exercise bicycles on the sidelines of Washington State’s football practice field gained a new member Monday. Wearing a brace on his right leg, quarterback Jeff Tuel seemed to walk just fine but didn’t participate in practice, instead riding a bike and observing from the field at times during the two-plus hour practice.
PULLMAN – Jeff Tuel’s status may be uncertain – to the public, at least – for Washington State’s game at UNLV on Friday. Tuel, WSU’s senior starting quarterback who left Saturday’s 24-20 win over Eastern Washington with an apparent right leg injury, spoke to reporters after the game and seemed to walk without a limp.
Jeff Tuel’s status may be uncertain – to the public, at least – for Washington State’s game at UNLV on Friday. Tuel, WSU’s senior starting quarterback who left Saturday’s 24-20 win over Eastern Washington with an apparent right leg injury, spoke to reporters after the game and seemed to walk without a limp. He had jokes, too. So did coach Mike Leach, who doesn’t acknowledge injuries. “We don’t have injuries around here so he’s 100 percent, and I would think if anything, he can run a 4.5 (40-yard dash time) now instead of a 4.7,” Leach said. Yeah, OK. It’s entirely possible that Tuel’s injury, which required an ice bag on the inside of his right knee area, is minor and he won’t miss any time. But if Tuel can’t go, the Cougars aren’t exactly hurting for depth at that position. Redshirt sophomore Connor Halliday was part of WSU’s quarterback competition in camp, and completed 5 of 11 passes in relief of Tuel on Saturday.