Changes on the Cougar defense

Changes on the Cougar defense

PULLMAN— The repercussions of the pounding Washington State’s defense absorbed against Rutgers were readily apparent Saturday in the Cougars’ first practice since the defeat. Teondray Caldwell and Tracy Clark were no longer running with the first unit. Darius Lemora took Caldwell’s place at strong safety and Charleston White slid into Tracy Clark’s spot at corner. That wasn’t the only change.

Outside linebacker Cyrus Coen, who did not play against Rutgers for undisclosed reasons, was back in action Saturday and fully active with the first-team defense. Mitch Peterson played in Coen’s place against Rutgers and led the Cougars with 16 tackles.

Lemora (pictured above) and White are both second-year freshmen. Lemora posted six tackles off the bench against Rutgers, and White didn't play in the game.

One area where no changes were apparent Saturday was the defensive line. Thought to be a team strength coming into the season, the unit struggled against Rutgers, unable to stuff the run or put pressure on quarterback Gary Nova.

Defensive coordinator Mike Breske said after practice Saturday he expected more out of that group, but he also pointed the finger at himself for not stepping up the tempo of the D.

In addition, he said, he and the staff need to do a better job of substituting because some guys on D played all 70 snaps and their fatigue led to high pad level and missed tackles as the game wore on.

Meanwhile, on offense, line coach Clay McGuire said was “proud of the way” his troops performed, and singled out sophomore Riley Sorenson, who started at and played played center for the first time at any level.

“The biggest thing is they didn’t play scared,” McGuire said of the OL, which featured three first-time starters in Sorenson, Cole Madison and Eduardo Middleton. “We definitely made our share of mistakes and we had a lot of plays in there we’d like to clean up and have back, but one thing I did think was they went out there, played fast, didn’t hesitate, and good things happened.

“We gave up two sacks in the red zone, and we don’t want to give up sacks ever, but especially not in the red zone,” McGuire said.

“When the game is on the line, we give up a big sack there and put us in second and long, third and long, fourth and long in those situations on that last drive. The whole game, we did a pretty decent job but that last drive was probably the worst series of offensive line play we had … It doesn’t matter how good you play in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth series. You’ve got to play great that next series, and if we had done that, it would’ve been a really good game for us, and that’s what has a bad taste in our mouths right now is that last drive. We didn’t finish the game up front.”

NOTABLE:
  • Cody O’Connell, Nick Begg, Jeff Farrar, Kevin Griffin, and Nate DeRider were limited in practice on Saturday.
  • Cornerback Sebastian LaRue was present in practice and participated in drills.
  • Receiver Gabe Marks worked with the scout team and was wearing No. 5 instead of his usual No. 9. In a press conferene Saturday, Leach said he didn’t know yet if Marks, who didn’t suit up for the Rutgers game, would redshirt this season.
  • Receiver Brett Bartolone, injured much of the last year, played with the scout team as well.
  • Connor Halliday provided one of the few highlights in the team session with a touchdown pass to Rickey Galvin that was about 30 yards long.
  • Sunday is an off-day for the Cougars. They’ll practice again Monday.

    Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
    OFFENSE
    QB: Connor Halliday
    RB: Jamal Morrow, Theron West
    X: Vince Mayle
    Y: River Cracraft
    H: Rickey Galvin
    Z: Kristoff Williams
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Gunnar Eklund
    C: Riley Sorenson
    RG: Eduardo Middleton
    RT: Cole Madison

      DEFENSE
    E: Destiny Vaeao
    NT: Kalafitoni Pole
    T: Xavier Cooper
    BUCK: Kache Palacio
    WILL: Tana Pritchard
    SAM: Cyrus Coen
    MIKE: Darryl Monroe
    CB: Daquawn Brown
    CB: Charleston White
    FS: Taylor Taliulu
    SS: Darius Lemora

      Primarily taking reps with the 2’s
    OFFENSE
    QB: Luke Falk
    RB: Gerard Wicks
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: Robert Lewis
    H: Calvin Green
    Z: Isiah Myers
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Jacob Tweten
    C: Sam Flor
    RG: Cody O’Connell
    RT: Jacob Seydel

      DEFENSE
    E: Darryl Paulo
    NT: Robert Barber
    T: Daniel Ekuale
    BUCK: Ivan McLennan
    WILL: Chester Sua
    SAM: Paris Taylor
    MIKE: Jeremiah Allison, Peyton Pelluer
    CB: Tracy Clark
    CB: Marcellus Pippins
    FS: Teondray Caldwell
    SS: Isaac Dotson
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