Spring Ball day 4 was in the books Thursday. This post is coming to you so late because I was running on 4 hours of sleep Thursday and woke up sick. As a result I left practice directly after 11v11 finished and missed media time. Then the weekend happened and here we are. Happy belated Easter to you all. However I was on hand for the rest of the action Thursday and here is your proof.
As I walk to the practice field, the Defense is practicing gap assignments and the backfield is practicing shifting coverages. The first D unit seems to be CB: Horton and Carter; S: Bucannon and Locker; LB Oertel, Monroe*, Palacio*, Sagote; Dline: Bock, Gauta, Cooper
* Both Monroe and Palacio were switching first team reps with Allison and McLennan respectively. On a side note I totally saw Palacio and Faoliu at the Rebelution and Jboog concert Wednesday night. The late night didnt seem to affect their play today.
I love watching the WRs get tennis balls shot at them. Sometimes guys and its pretty funny to watch. Yost is watching as receivers catch and he ramps up the speed a bit to keep em on their toes.
The Offense is running some basic plays against the 3rd string D to warm up. It seems that as Halliday and Apodaca switch in and out so do the O-line and skill players. For Halliday (who I assume is with the 1 unit) the O-line from left to right consists of Eklund, Dahl, Bosch, Goetz and Forbes. Skill players are Marks, Bartolone, Ratliff, Dominique Williams and 3 running backs: Caldwell, Mason and Brooks.
Apodaca’s unit consisted of Seydel, Dahl, Brevick, Dotson and Middleton on O-line from left to right. Skills players are Kristoff Williams, Bontemps, Galvin, and Myers. Running back is Laufasa.
Jake Rodgers isnt in pads. Not sure if this has been the case for all of springball, but I am noticing it now for the first time.
The Dline is grouped up and just watching the Offense go through its reps. They are pretty intimidating. I imagine this is what it feels like to be stared down by either a pack of Lions, Rhinos, or Silverback Gorillas. Ill let you decide which is more accurate. I think I’m going with the Rhinos.
Horn blows and its Bull in the Ring time. I am too small to notice any of the matchups but it sounded intense. I can hear hoots and hollers amidst the crashing and thumping of pads.
The construction is still loud as hell. That Jackhammer is ringing throughout the practice field and its not helping my headache at this point.
After Bull in the ring, the offense and defense part ways as usual. I stay on hand to watch the D and here we find my first rookie mistake of spring practice. I have managed to go by pretty well unnoticed by fellow media men or SID guys through 3 practices, but I was very cordially told Thursday that I couldnt stand on the sideline and needed to go behind the endzone. Im a little embarrassed by the mistake on my part, but hey it happens right? Its not like I’ve ever done this before or make a living off it.
Here is your update on the construction around Martin Stadium.
I head to the safety of Martin Stadium to watch the offense and QB’s are throwing their typical deep routes to WRs. Oline is going through some position drills in the East endzone.
Horn Blows and the 4 QB drill begins. Like last Tuesday, a assistant coach is throwing balls to WRs because of the lack of signal callers on the roster. I find it interesting to watch how the QB’s rotate in this drill. They start out A-B-C-D and then switch to C-D-A-B then D-C-B-A etc, making sure they get to throw to every route being ran on the field. Meanwhile the WR’s are staying in the same spots and getting the max reps at their respective route possible.
Punters are practicing their approach and drops in the west endzone, while RB and O-line are participating in the same drills as before the horn.
Now Mike Bowlin is punting across the width of the field and I swear if they go another 6 yards he’s going to hit me right in the dome. I actually moved cause I thought he might hit me. As he rockets on in the air Andrew Furney yells out, “He’s kicking BOMBS!”
Now switched to 5 QB’s and Connor Halliday is yelling out routes for guys to be running. He seems to be in control. Leach lets out a yell and the drill ends, outside WR’s go to do work with Simmons. QB’s go to practice handoffs.
A cement truck has pulled up to the construction site now and it has a large WSU logo on it. This must be a sign things are progressing nicely for the project.
Horn blows and I am tricked into thinking 11v11 is starting. However in this drill their is a normal offensive line with two centers. Halliday walks up and one center snaps the ball and the right side of the offense takes off, with the right side of the defense in pursuit. Halliday hits a slant to the right. Then Apodaca walks up to the other center and the left half of the offense and he snaps the ball, eliciting the reaction of the left side of the D. This continues, with Apodaca and Halliday switching sides.
Both guys have looked pretty crisp so far.
Apodaca leaves and normal full offensive plays start to be run. Halliday is practicing throwing out to the flats on either side, Caldwell is the back taking the checkdowns. The O-line is switching out a lot. Usually they just run two separate groups, but here they are mixing and matching guys a lot more than normal.
Apodaca came in and delivers a strike while under pressure from the D. However he then threw a pick right in the defenders chest. He seemed a tad timid directly after that be he recovered fine. Other than a bobbled snap, Halliday looked good.
Halliday runs a QB sneak and it catches my eye. “Ballsy move Coach” I think as defenders fly past Halliday and he goes to the ground amidst a sea of bodies. It seemed before Leach wanted to avoid any contact with his QBs and here he was inviting it running several QB sneaks in a row with Halliday and Apodaca. Apodaca showed some nice speed and power pushing 7 yards through defenders.
Horn. Now its 1v1 for WR and DBs. I love watching these battles, both sides are very prideful. Halliday hit Myers right in the hands and he dropped it. This would be a theme for Myers who has had a pretty rough spring so far. For the most part the DB’s were getting abused, but Myers dropped two more balls to the disdain of his coaches.
Dominique Williams made a great diving catch, bobbling the ball and then coming up with it. Gabe Marks absolutely toched Damate Horton for a deep td. First throw in the redzone, Bartolone came away with a nice snag for a td. Bobby Ratliff joined in with a strong one handed grab for a td. Myers has another drop. Apodaca found Kristoff Williams for the prettiest fade I have seen in the left corner of the endzone.
Leach has now called out Myers and pulled him off the drill. A assistant has been told to throw to him and Leach says “catch 100 to the left, 100 to the right. If you drop it start over again. Ill be watching. Dont waste time on this field, if you do it again you’ll be up in the stands!”
Rahmel Dockery picks off the final pass and the offense does updown.
Now we begin the WR screen drill and Only Halliday is participating. Interesting because only Apodaca participated in it on Tuesday. Overall the WR’s looked much more physical in their blocking. Robert Lewis especially looked better after getting Galvin killed on Tuesday. However the defense still won the day and the offense gets to do updowns.
Special Teams begins and Leon Brooks, Robert Lewis, Brett Bartolone, and Tyler Baker are returning the Punts. I also wrote down #20 as being with the group but thats Deone Bucannon and that could have been a mistake on my part.
The punts are live and #6 makes a great block on the kick and Mike Bowlin goes to the ground. You might be thinking this 6 was Damonte Horton, but he was the wrong color to be Horton. According to the roster it was Conner Johnson, the walkon QB from Spokane, who made the play. Johnson hasnt been playing QB all spring, he has actually been making various appearances in special teams play and as a WR.
Wes Concepcion has been kicking punts as well but they are noticeably shorter. Like 10-15 yards shorter and with much less hang time. A third punter was introduced and he is wearing number 39. The roster says he is a running back named Chris Boachie, if thats indeed who it was, Boachie was much better than Concepcion. He wasnt at Bowlins level, but he did thunder one kick down range that was as good or better than any of Bowlins and it drew out several exclamations from teammates.
Horn. Skelly time. Halliday starts off with the first team. He is doing a good job scanning the field and not locking onto his first guy. Halliday fits a ball into a very tiny window between two defenders for Bartolone. Gabe Marks then welcomes us all to the Gabe Marks Show as he comes down with a lunging catch fully-extended.
Breske can be heard shouting “Bullsh** corners!!!” he isnt happy with some of the guys getting free. Halliday had a play breakdown and he calmly rolled out and hit his checkdown. Nice to see.
Rahmel Dockery almost picks off Halliday and then Eric Oertel comes in the next play and successfully gets the int. Bad throw again from Halliday into traffic. It bounces off a defenders chest.
Halliday starts yelling at his offense trying to rally them from the poor couple of plays. Ricky Galvin has hands covered in Guerrilla Glue. The guy just doesnt drop anything.
Apodaca is in now. Throws a beautiful pass to a tight-rope walking Dominique Williams on the sideline. He had Bartolone open deep right but he couldnt put enough air under it. Rahmel Dockery is spending a surprising amount of time with the D. Most I have seen of him so far.
Galvin makes two amazing catches. Put him on my Heisman watch list.
On a complete side note, there are two guys running the stairs of Martin Stadium in full fire-fighter gear. And they are doing pushups after every flight of stairs. Yeesh.
Horn. Special teams time again and the QB’s are throwing fades to each corner of the endzone. There are two trashcans in each corner and both Halliday and Apodaca are trying to make it in. Apodaca is the only one who pulls it off. He puts both arms straight up and does a walk-off, Halliday is impressed. I look in front of me and Coach Yost is talking to a Trainer who takes out athletic tape. Yost then continues to tape both of his feet and then go back out on the field… I have never seen a coach do that before.
Horn. Jesse Brown is leading the 3rd string O against the 1st D. I met Brown for the first time this weekend. He came to a party at my place with a buddy of mine and we chatted by the bar (I was the bartender). Great guy, fun to talk with and he gave me some incite that I wont share here. Something tells me bar-talk wasnt meant to be published, even on a blog.
Now we move to 11v11. Halliday started off and his line from left to right was Eklund, Middleton, Bosch, Goetz and Forbes.
he was 10-15 on the night and here is what his plays looked like.
Complete over the middle for Bobby Ratliff
Complete on a nice screen to the left for Teondray Caldwell
Incomplete, starred down Myers and Horton almost picked it off.
Complete short right to Robert Lewis
Incomplete after rolling left intended for Myers who had 3 guys on him
Complete checkdown left to Leon Brooks
Incomplete thrown out of bounds after pressure
Handoff middle for Teondray Caldwell who is fast.
Incomplete deep right for Robert Lewis who was covered well by Horton
Complete over the middle for 15 yards to Dominique Williams
Complete quick to the right for Bartolone
Complete short middle to #RickyGalvinForHeisman who got cracked my Monroe but still held on
Handoff left for Marcus Mason
Incomplete middle for Dominique Williams
Complete short right for Mason
Complete over the middle for Isaiah Myers who finally gets redemption on a great catch while going to the ground
Handoff right for Theron West
Complete left corner endzone for Ratliff, beautiful throw and catch
Apodaca is in and his O-line from left to right is Seydel, Fullington, Brevick, Dotson, Middleton
Apodaca went 8-13 on the day, heres what his plays looked like
Complete right to Robert Lewis
Incomplete right for Theron West who bobbled it and got killed by 13, which garnered quite a response from the field. I literally wrote down “WOOOOOO” in my notes.
Complete to Robert Lewis over the middle
Incomplete, good pass but bobbled, didnt write down a number
Complete deep right for Gabe Marks
Complete left to Kristoff Williams on a WR screen that was immediately broken up
Incomplete left for Bennet Bontemps
Handoff middle for Marcus Mason
Offsides on Middleton
Complete right on a low bullet for Gabe Marks
Incomplete right for Myers
Complete left for #RickyGalvinForHeisman
Complete left to Dominique Williams. Apodaca felt the pressure, rolled left and made a nice throw on the run.
Handoff middle to a number I didnt see
Comeplete short right to Bontemps
Handoff middle for Theron West
Handoff Marcus Mason left
Incomplete to the left for Mason. – Away from the ball Gabe Marks comes to fisticuffs with a defender, players have to break it up.
Thats all, sorry its so late. I’ll be there Tuesday (tomorrow yeesh this was late) for the action from day 6. Go Cougs