The Washington State University football team continued preseason camp with a two-hour practice in helmets and shorts Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars again worked through their similar practice format of individual drills before working through some 1-vs.-1 battles with the offensive and defensive lineman on one field while the wide receivers and defensive backs squared off on the main field. The was a little more feistiness on the second day of camp as a couple players from both sides of the ball got tangled up after the whistle once or twice throughout the day.
Both sides of the ball turned in a some nice plays in the 7-vs.-7 session as senior cornerback Damante Horton forced a turnover by ripping the ball away from sophomore wide receiver Gabe Marks after he came down with a catch. A few plays later, Marks answered by leaping high to pull down a pass in traffic, bringing some yells from his offensive teammates. Towards the end of the segment, senior linebacker Eric Oertel stepped in front of a receiver and picked off a pass and returned it for a would-be pick-6.
Saturday’s special teams segment focused on punt coverage for the second straight day, this time punters Mike Bowlin and Wes Concepcion punted to a group of returners after yesterday saw the balls launched from a machine.
Following the special teams session, the Cougars worked through a team segment. Redshirt-junior quarterback Connor Halliday led the offense on the first drive, making a nice scramble and first down completion to newcomer senior wide receiver Vince Mayle midway through the series. The defense buckled down in the red zone against the offense and kept them out of the endzone in the final couple plays.
Redshirt-freshman Austin Apodaca quarterbacked the second offensive series and he opened the drive with a pair of completions to Marks and sophomore wideout Brett Bartolone. Towards the end of the drive, the defense again came up big as redshirt-junior defensive lineman Toni Pole burst through the line and registered a “sack.” That play was allowed to continue despite the sack and Apodaca’s pass was picked off by redshirt-sophomore linebacker Tana Pritchard, bringing a huge celebration from the defense. The day’s final play saw redshirt-junior wide receiver Rickey Galvin leap to catch an Apodaca pass in the corner of the end zone with a defender pushing him out of bounds as he came back down.
WSU continues fall practice Sunday at 3 p.m. where the Cougars are expected to practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts for the first time this season.