FINAL SCRIMMAGE: D-tackle Pole shines

TONI POLE

PULLMAN -- Toni Pole provided a reminder to more than 250 fans under the Martin Stadium lights as to why he nearly played as a true freshman a year ago before his season was derailed by an injury. The defensive tackle provided relentless pressure to lead a solid performance by the defense in Washington State's final scrimmage.

Coach Paul Wulff again decided to match starters against backups during the scrimmage, which lasted a little less than an hour.

"We got a little more live plays in than I thought we would and I thought our tackling was pretty good," Wulff said.

The 1s and 2s on defense each dominated the offense early on, with the group forcing three-and-outs in four of the first five drives. The defense, specifically the line, was stellar with the front four fighting through the offensive line to make plays.

Pole led the charge for the front four, with two tackles for loss, including one on RB Marcus Mason where he got through the hole with ease for the tackle. Other than a 22-yard scamper by RB Rickey Galvin, the defense held the offense in check during the first five series, and starting LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis said he was pleased with how the team came out ready to compete.

"I felt like we did a good job running our defense as far as the d-line controlling the line of scrimmage and as far as linebackers scraping and fitting," Hoffman-Ellis said.

Hoffman-Ellis steadfastly maintains this defensive unit is the best he has worked with in his time here.

"Just miles in terms of the mental game," Hoffman-Ellis said on the team's growth through camp. "Guys are getting schemes now where we can play around with our defense and where offense is picking up on some of the stuff the defense is doing. Guys are growing mentally and that's huge for a team like us."

AFTER THE DEFENSE had their way early on, the offense developed more of a rhythm and the passing game flourished. QB Jeff Tuel was able to get some time in the pocket thanks to some solid work from the offensive line. That unit bounced back after getting beat in the trenches early and were able to prevent the d-linemen from getting into the backfield with consistency.

With the extra time, Tuel was spreading the ball over the field with WR Marquess Wilson being the beneficiary of several of Tuel's throws. Wilson caught a few short passes from Tuel and nearly broke loose for a 50-yard touchdown on one play, but DT Justin Clayton was able to make a shoe-string tackle downfield to limit Wilson to 19-yards.

On the ensuing play, the only touchdown of the scrimmage came when Isiah Barton was left all alone in the back of the end zone and twisted his body to haul in a 21-yard TD.

"I feel like we have great chemistry going," Barton said. "I've improved a lot since last year and I'm starting to understand the system a lot better and Tuel and I have been connecting since I've gotten a good grasp of the offense. Everything's looking good right now and I'm hoping for a great season."

On the ground game, the Cougs were able to find some success with RB Carl Winston seeing some extra time with the 1s. The offensive line was able to provide some holes for Winston, who loves contact while going up the middle for extra yards. Winston had three carries for 20 yards, while Galvin had a team-high 22 yards on his lone carry.

The Cougars will practice tomorrow afternoon and Wulff emphasized the importance of the next 48 hours as the team gets ready to enter it's first game week of 2011.

"These next few days are really important," Wulff said. "We're going to work a little bit on the opponent but we have a lot of Cougar stuff we need to get taken care of before we really hit the following week for our first prep week against Idaho State."

NOTABLE NOTES:
Punter Dan Wagner had punts of 47, 42 and 39 yards Thursday night.

Andrew Furney connected on a 27-yard FG attempt early on, then had a 48-yard attempt blocked by DT Anthony Laurenzi. Backup Alex Gauper also tried from 49 yards, but his attempt was blocked by LB Cyrus Coen.

QB Cody Clements saw some action late running with the 3s and fired a beautiful pass to WR Dominique Williams and for a 27-yard gain.

RUNNING WITH THE 1s
OFFENSE
QB: Jeff Tuel
X receiver: Marquess Wilson
Flanker: Isiah Barton
Z receiver: Jared Karstetter (WR Henry Eaddy also seeing reps with 1s)
TE Andrei Lintz
LT: David Gonzales
LG: John Fullington
C: Andrew Roxas
RG: B.J. Guerra
RT: Wade Jacobson
RB: Logwone Mitz (Rickey Galvin and Carl Winston also got reps)
DEFENSE
LE: Adam Coerper
LT: Toni Pole
RT: Anthony Laurenzi
RE: Travis Long
SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
MIKE: C.J. Mizell
WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis
CB: Daniel Simmons (Note: Nolan Washington also getting reps with 1s)
SS: Deone Bucannon
FS: Tyree Toomer (Note: Casey Locker also seeing action running with the 1s)
CB: Damante Horton



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