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August 17, 2013

SCRIMMAGE (8/16): Offensive onslaught





PULLMAN | River Cracraft has all but cemented himself into the wide receiver rotation after yet another impressive outing during the Cougars' second scrimmage of the fall on Friday.

The true freshman wide receiver abused the secondary en route to hauling in six catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Leach had glowing remarks for the rising freshman following the team's 50-plus play scrimmage.

"He's excited to play," Leach told the media when addressing Cracraft after the team's scrimmage. "He goes out there and plays hard every snap, so he's reliable, and he's got more opportunities to get open than other guys that don't play as hard as he does because he's going to maximize every one of them.

"There's a trust factor that develops between you and the quarterback so then he's looking for you, he knows what you're going to do and he trusts what you're going to do. He's played hard from, really, day one.

"Everyone is banged up and tired and him more than anybody because he's taken more reps than anyone we have in the first group because he did all that post practice stuff in Lewiston. Each practice at the end we'd run a bunch of plays with the new guys and he did all of those, too."



Overall, the Cougars ran a short scrimmage in comparison to their 75-plus play scrimmage last weekend in Lewiston. The offense was visibly dominant on the Martin Stadium turf but the defense did some good things, as well.

"I thought it was pretty good," Leach said of the team's scrimmage. "We didn't get too many plays because we've been getting in such good work in team [sessions] but I thought our first defense played pretty well and the second offense got an explosive or two but other than the big play, our defensive guys got some sacks and what not.

"Our first offense looked pretty good against our second defense. We need to iron out our kicker because he's got to kick better than that."

Leach, alluding to senior place kicker Andrew Furney who converted just one of his three attempts on the afternoon, was noticeably upset with the special teams performance during a simulated late game spike and field goal attempt.

Connor Halliday was up and down on the day but finished by completing 11 of 17 passes for 91 yards and three touchdowns. He was also intercepted by freshman cornerback Charleston White, who made a leaping grab over Gabriel Marks in the end zone.

Each of Halliday's touchdown throws were from inside the five yard line - Isiah Myers for five yards, Rickey Galvin for three yards and Robert Lewis for five yards. Despite a few forced passes down the field, Leach was impressed with the first team offense and Halliday, in particular.

"I think he'll have a really good year," Leach said. "His supporting cast has something to say about that, too, and how he works with them, but we're all still a work in progress."

The first team offense, led by Halliday, went up against the second team defense while redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Apodaca was impressive against the first team defense.

Apodaca finished 7 of 13 for 93 yards and connected with Cracraft for the first score of the day on a 52-yard catch and run touchdown.

Tyler Bruggman was arguably the most impressive quarterback of the bunch, finishing 6-of-8 for 116 yards and two touchdowns while mixing in with the second team. He connected on long touchdowns to Dominique Williams and Cracraft during the latter half of the scrimmage.

On defense, redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Xavier Cooper was impressive, gathering two "sacks" including a safety "sack" as he busted through the line to notch two-points for the defense against Apodaca and the second team offense.



Sophomore Destiny Vaeao was back with the first team defense at the BUCK linebacker spot while Kache Palacio reverted back to the second team. With senior cornerback Damante Horton watching from the sidelines for the third consecutive day with a hip injury, freshman Daquawn Brown once again filled in opposite Nolan Washington.

Sophomore safety Taylor Taliulu worked alongside Deone Bucannon at the first team safety spots.

That's all for now but we'll have much more from the Cougars' second scrimmage of the fall early Saturday as Evan Baron relays his fall notebook from the scrimmage session. You can see the official stats via WSU Sports Information below.

SCORING SUMMARY

Apodaca to Cracraft, 52-yard pass.
Halliday to Myers, 5-yard pass
Halliday to Galvin, 3-yard pass
Bruggman to D. Williams, 22-yard pass
Bruggman to Cracraft, 48-yard pass
Falk to Ratliff, 4-yard pass
Cooper sack-safety
Halliday to Lewis, 5-yard pass
Furney 48-yard field goal

RUSHING

Jamal Morrow: 1-11, Jeremiah Laufasa: 1-8, Gerard Wicks: 2-7, Marcus Mason: 1-7, Leon Brooks: 1-5

PASSING

C. Halliday: 7-11-91, 3 TD, INT, A. Apodaca: 7-13-93, TD, T. Bruggman: 6-8-116, 2 TD, Luke Falk: 5-8-38, TD

RECEIVING

R. Cracraft: 6-144, 2 TD, G. Marks: 4-61, R. Galvin: 3-23, TD, Vincent Mayle: 2-27, J. Morrow: 2-7, I. Myers: 2-10, TD, Kristoff Williams: 2-8, Teondray Caldwell: 2-6, D. Williams: 1-22, TD, G. Wicks: 1-8, John Thompson: 1-8, Bobby Ratliff: 1-4, TD, R. Lewis: 1-5, TD, Theron West: 1-(-5)

SACKS

X. Cooper: 2 sacks, Kalafitoni Pole: 1 sack

INTERCEPTIONS

C. White: 1 interception




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