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August 13, 2013

FALL NOTEBOOK (8/13): Back in Pullman

Video courtesy of WSU Athletics Communications and WSUCougars.com

PULLMAN | After practicing in Lewiston, Idaho for ten days, the Washington State football team resumed fall camp at home in Martin Stadium today.

"It's good to be back," Mike Leach said in an interview with the media after practice.

Redshirt junior quarterback Connor Halliday said the team grew closer together during their time in Lewiston, but that the team is happy to be back as well.

"It's nice to be on turf," Halliday said. "The receivers were really happy to be on turf, compared to Lewiston where there were holes in the field."

The team will finish up fall camp this week and will continue practicing in Martin Stadium the remainder of the week and plan to begin Auburn prep work after the team's second scrimmage on Friday.

Today's practice started out a bit sloppy, with players dropping balls and making mental mistakes, but the team was able to bounce back at the end of practice and finish up strong during the scrimmage portion.

"If it was last year, we would have had a bad practice because we started out bad," Halliday said. "But today we were able to battle through that during the team scrimmage and kick the defense's butt."

Some notes from the first day of practice in Pullman today:

According to Leach, redshirt junior Connor Halliday would be the starting quarterback if the team played a game today, but the competition is still open.

After sitting out most of last season due to an arm injury, junior wide receiver Ricky Galvin ran strong, caught some passes and is expected to be used all over the field this upcoming season on special teams and offense.

Redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca and freshman Tyler Bruggman got the majority of the reps for individual and 1-on-1 drills. According to Leach, he wanted to rest Halliday's arm and wanted to give the two quarterbacks more of an opportunity to get some throws in.

During 1-on-1 drills, Apodaca was very accurate with his throws -- especially throwing the deep ball.

Bruggman struggled during the 1-on-1 drills by overthrowing his receivers at times, but was quick with his decision making.

Senior kicker Andrew Furney's leg is looking strong and accurate, as expected.

The starting job for the wide receiver position is still "up for grabs," according to Leach, and multiple receivers were rotating in and out during the first and second team reps today in practice. Same group of guys, though.

Seniors Nolan Washington and Damante Horton continued to look like they have separated themselves from the rest of the cornerbacks as they took the majority of first team reps throughout the team sessions.

Horton leaped in the air late in the scrimmage portion of practice for an interception of Apodaca but fell awkwardly on his hip and had to be helped off the field. He had ice on his hip and was walking under his own power out of the stadium following practice.

Freshmen Daquawn Brown and Alex Jackson were taking second team reps during practice and are still battling for the starting job.

Senior defensive back Anthony Carpenter was at safety with the first team defense alongside Deone Bucannon as Breske continues to tinker with safety combinations.

Taking the majority of the first team reps for the running backs was sophomore Teondray Caldwell. Marcus Mason also saw time.

Redshirt sophomore running back Jeremiah Laufasa had two touchdown runs during the scrimmage at the end of practice and ran over Horton on one of them, which helped energize the team. Leach praised Laufasa's performance while in Lewiston and the walk-on running back looks like he could be pushing for short-yardage carries this season.

Sophomore safety Paris Taylor was the only player riding the bike during practice today.

Galvin and Caldwell took first team reps on kickoff returns.

Junior cornerback Tracy Clark joined Horton as the only players to record an interception.

The first team offense, led by Halliday, was able to move the ball down the field quickly against the first team defense and score during the scrimmage at the end of practice.

The second team offense, which was led by Apodaca, struggled to drive the ball, but finished up strong in at the end by scoring on a Laufasa run.

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Darryl Monroe said that the defense is looking good but needs to improve the mental mistakes and communication. Overall, though, "It's [the defense] going to be scary for some offenses this year," Monroe said.

Leach said he would stick with the same game plan with any of his quarterbacks and wouldn't adjust to anything different during a game regardless of who's taking snaps.

The first team offensive line remains the same as it has throughout camp with LT Gunnar Eklund, LG Joe Dahl, C Elliot Bosch, RG John Fullington and RT Rico Forbes.

Washington State NEWS


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