PRACTICE: Well, that one's out of the way

ISIAH MYERS

PULLMAN – The Washington State Cougars practiced poorly Tuesday afternoon, but the day ended well when the team learned that quarterback Connor Halliday has been released from Pullman Regional Hospital.

Halliday had been hospitalized since Saturday night with a lacerated liver. He was hurt that afternoon in an overtime loss to Utah. A redshirt freshman making his first start, he played the entire game despite the fact he was apparently injured in the second quarter.

Earlier Tuesday, coach Paul Wulff said Halliday was "in a lot of pain" in the hospital. The Cougars said Halliday will travel for Saturday's season finale against Washington in Seattle.

Wulff said it is too early to determine if Halliday will be 100 percent for spring football. Wulff has said he expects Halliday to battle Jeff Tuel for the starting job.

If Halliday was missing physically at practice Tuesday, plenty of other Cougars were missing mentally.

Quarterback Marshall Lobbestael struggled with his passing on another cold day with strong, icy winds. There were breakdowns on the offensive line, and a number of passes were dropped.

"Today was not a very good practice, obviously," offensive lineman John Fullington said.

Asked if the Utah loss, which eliminated WSU from bowl consideration, was affecting the Cougars at practice, Fullington said, "Maybe. But I think we'll recover tomorrow. I think this was kind of an eye-opener, how bad a practice we had. We have to step it up."

That includes Fullington, who said he struggled at left tackle. Fullington is subbing for David Gonzales, who again watched practice with a protective boot on the right ankle he sprained against Utah.

Fullington made five starts at left tackle last season after Gonzales went down with a fractured arm. With Gonzales and starting right tackle Dan Spitz sitting out a second straight practice with ankle sprains, Fullington again moved from guard to tackle, and Andrew Roxas remained at Fullington's old left guard spot.

"John's a little rusty at tackle," offensive line coach Steve Morton said.

"It was a little rough," Fullington said. "I felt I was all right the first half of practice, but the last, I was struggling. It's way different technique (at tackle). You have to set out more; you have more ground to cover. On the outside, you can't lean at all or you're going to get beat. You've got to stay balanced."

Fullington was not alone in his struggles. Lobbestael and new No. 2 quarterback David Gilbertson both had trouble connecting with receivers.

Lobbestael started the day impressively, passing the ball well on a quick scoring drive. True freshman wide receiver Isiah Myers, who may have been WSU's best player at the practice, soared high to make a great catch early in the drive. He hauled in a short pass from Lobbestael to end the drive with a touchdown.

Myers, who has caught seven passes this season in a reserve role, saw plenty of time with the 1's. Young receivers Myers, Bobby Ratliff, Kristoff Williams and Henry Eaddy are getting plenty of reps this week with star wideout Marquess Wilson (hip) doing little at practice for the second straight week and starting wide receiver Isiah Barton lost after blowing a knee against Utah.

Defensive tackle Brandon Rankin, who has come on of late, had an impact at practice. Matthew Bock again played defensive end on the 1's, since Lenard Williams and Adam Coerper are out with knee injuries.

Running back Rickey Galvin, linebacker Sekope Kaufusi and safety Deone Bucannon practiced far more than Monday. They've been nursing various injuries.

Bucannon burst up the middle to block a punt by Dan Wagner, who had no chance. However, Wagner also got off some big punts with good hang time after turning in perhaps his best performance of the year against Utah.

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