Cougs switch focus to Southern Utah

NOLAN WASHINGTON

PULLMAN — Sunday night's short practice was an hour-long helmets and shorts session that consisted of special teams and short periods against the respective scout teams in Martin Stadium. And one senior returned to the No. 1 defense after being limited last week.

Senior CB Nolan Washington was a full participant tonight and worked with the No. 1 defense. Freshman Daquawn Brown got the nod at cornerback against USC and performed very well.

"(Brown) was good for his first time start," defensive coordinator Mike Breske noted. "He had a couple penalties that we have got to clean up…technique issues and we will work hard on that. He played very spirited and with a lot of emotion out there, but you have to as a corner."

Brown led the team with 11 tackles, six of them solo. Still, Washington was inserted into the No. 1 unit on Sunday night while Brown went back with the 2s. Whether that's to get Washington some quality reps after missing time and Brown will still start on Saturday, or not, that remains to be seen.

The Cougar defense stifled the Trojans as they struggled to throw the ball and were hassled by the WSU defensive line all night. Both USC QBs went 11-for-21 for a total of 54 yards.

"I thought we were very stout up front," Breske said. "Our fits were for the most part right on target. We got some pressure with a three-man (front.) We did a lot of eight-man drop which they were not ready for. I was real happy with how the DL played."

Senior safety/corner Anthony Carpenter still was limited at practice. While the No. 2s worked against the scout team, freshman CB Alex Jackson received a few reps at CB.

ON THE OTHER side of the field, the offense lined up against the scout team defense in a short 11-on-11 session.

Junior QB Connor Halliday threw two TD passes in the session and did not turn the ball over. Both scores were caught by sophomore WR Dominique Williams, who had the decisive 50-yard gainer that led to Andrew Furney's winning field goal at USC.

Redshirt freshman QB Austin Apodaca threw one TD and that was to sophomore WR Gabe Marks for 15 yards. He also did not turn the ball over.

Mike Leach was asked if he was worried about Halliday's turnovers.

"We just have to keep improving," Leach said. "He just needs to make better decisions and don't try to force too much, but I thought he did a great job managing the game in the second half."

THE COUGS NOW shift their focus to the Southern Utah this week. Leach was asked if he was worried about his players not keeping their focus this week while preparing for the Thunderbirds.

"We better not." Leach said. "We are going to coach hard all week. We have got to get better this week. It does not matter who you play. We've got the utmost respect for Southern Utah. Part of this is a whole building process and you have to improve each week."

THE SPECIAL TEAMS work entailed getting to the ball and moving quickly. At first, the punt coverage team would have the ball snapped, do an up-down and hustle down the field to the punt returners.

Later, players were practicing shedding blocks and staying in their lanes as coaches launched balls through a punting machine to returners.

The Cougs will have the day off Monday, but will return to practice on Tuesday afternoon.

Running with the 1s:
QB- Connor Halliday
RB- Marcus Mason
X Receiver- Dominique Williams
H Receiver- River Cracraft
Y Receiver- Brett Bartolone
Z Receiver- Gabe Marks
LT- Gunnar Eklund
LG- Joe Dahl
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- John Fullington
RT- Rico Forbes

DEFENSE:
DE- Toni Pole
NT- Ioane Gauta
DE- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Destiny Vaeao
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Nolan Washington
CB – Damante Horton
S – Deone Bucannon
S – Taylor Taliulu

No. 2 Defense
DE- Darryl Paulo
NT- Robert Barber
DE- Matthew Bock
BUCK- Kache Palacio
SAM- Eric Oertel
MIKE- Jared Byers
WILL- Tana Pritchard
CB- Alex Jackson
CB – Daquawn Brown
S – Casey Locker
S – Isaac Dotson

Limited Players:
CB Darius Lemora
LB Chester Sua
WR Austin Baker
LS Ryan Saparto
OL Jacob Seydel

Not in attendance:
S Bennett Bontemps
LB Austin Rapp

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