NEW SCOREBOARD TAKING SHAPE ON WEDNESDAY
PULLMAN — Nolan Washington will get the start at cornerback opposite Damante Horton on Saturday, defensive coordinator Mike Breske said after Wednesday’s practice. You can expect to see Daquawn Brown and Anthony Carpenter gets reps on the island, too. On the field, it was a good day for the offense as a sophomore receiver cut the rug with some impressive route running.
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Both starting units continued their usual work against their respective scout team counterparts on Wednesday.
Some may have thought that Brown would continue to start at corner given his mostly positive performance at USC.
Nope, says Breske.
“Nolan will start with Damante,” Breske said. “Daquawn will play and Anthony Carpenter will play. So, we are going to try and play four guys at that position.”
Carpenter has been Mr. Versatile within the WSU secondary this season, lining up at both safety and corner. Both he and Washington were sidelined after apparent injuries against Auburn, (WSU does not report injuries.) On Wednesday, Carpenter filled in at the No. 2 CB spot alongside with Brown.
The depth chart lists freshman CB Alex Jackson as the No. 2 corner behind Horton but it appears Breske and crew are leaning on experience when it comes to the corner position.
THE DEFENSE TOOK to the west end zone and practiced different run and passing sets against the scout team offense.
Breske was asked about Southern Utah’s style of offense and what to expect from the Thunderbirds. There’s quite a bit to prepare for, including even the rarest of rare these days in college football – a fullback.
“(They are) multiple when they get into 10- and 11 personnel,” Breske said. “A lot of one back, zone read type of plays. They have a traditional fullback in the heavy sets. So, they turn into a different philosophy and we have to prepare for both.”
THE TENDENCY FOR fans is to look past an FCS opponent but Southern Utah has already knocked off one FBS team this season and are on the cusp of the Top 25 FCS polls (27, 28).
They’ve caught the eye of Mike Leach, too.
“They are pretty strong,” coach Leach said. “They played strong last year too. They are a pretty good sized group and they are clearly dedicated to the weight room.”
“I know they beat (Montana) a year ago…at Missoula and many people do not do that.” Breske noted. “They play very physical.”
Breske served for two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Montana before coming to WSU.
THE COUGAR DEFENSE looked primed on the practice field Wednesday. Sophomore DE Xavier Cooper was sharp coming off the snap and stifling the scout defense on the run.
Cooper tallied a “sack” on freshman QB Tyler Bruggman and posted two tackles for loss on freshman RB Gerard Wicks.
Sophomore Paris Taylor continued his work with the third defensive unit at SAM. Since we did not have the opportunity to speak with Breske yesterday, we asked him why they decided to try him out there – the 6-3, 206-pounder came to WSU as a safety.
“We are just evaluating Paris,” Breske said. “He was not able to go through camp at Lewiston. So, he has been cleared now and we are trying to get a good evaluation on him in terms of whether he is going to help us this year or redshirt him.”
Taylor continues to be listed at safety on the official roster.
DURING 7-ON-7, junior QB Connor Halliday built further on his strong performance from yesterday, rifling the ball to many different receivers. However, sophomore WR Gabe Marks stole the show in both skelly and team session.
It seemed anything thrown his way, Marks hauled in. One was a play in which he scorched the secondary for a long TD pass in 11-on-11 off a Halliday throw. But overall, Leach wasn’t all that impressed.
“I thought we were good yesterday…little sloppy today, but had good tempo,” Leach said.
Still, junior RB Marcus Mason had some nice runs, including one carry in the team session where the o-line cleared the roadway and Mason moved the chains.
Later, sophomore RB Jeremiah Laufasa went ground-and-pound on two consecutive runs that each picked up good yardage.
By my count, at the end of the team session Halliday was 17-of-20 with 2 TDs and no interceptions.
Redshirt freshman QB Austin Apodaca went 9-of-10, with a TD to WR Kristoff Williams. He didn’t throw any picks either.
ON SPECIAL TEAMS, senior RB Leon Brooks got in some work as the No. 1 punt return man, with a few reps going to sophomore WR Brett Bartolone.
The highlight of special teams play on Wednesday came on the first play of punt drills. Sophomore LB Jeremiah Allison shot through the line – untouched -- and then shed a block at the second level of protection.
Allison got a hand on the ball and knocked it down which garnered cheers from his fellow Cougs – save for those tasked with ensuring that doesn’t happen. Still, a great individual special teams effort from Allison.
SCOREBOARD PHOTOS AT BOTTOM OF THIS REPORT
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
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- Anthony Carpenter
CB – Daquawn Brown
S – Casey Locker
S – Isaac Dotson
S Darius Lemora
LB Chester Sua
OL Denzell Dotson
OL Pierson Villarrubia
Not in attendance:
S Bennett Bontemps
LB Austin Rapp
LS Ryan Saparto
OL Jacob Seydel
NEW SCOREBOARD PUT THROUGH ITS PACES ON WEDNESDAY.
NEW BOARD IS ONE OF BIGGEST IN PAC-12.