April 2, 2013
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State football practiced in full pads for the first time this spring, working out for two hours on Rogers Field and in Martin Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
The intensity was dialed up more than it had been in the previous practices as pads popped throughout the afternoon. The Cougars worked through their usual practice segments of individual position drills, one-on-one battles, 7-vs-7, special teams that focused on the punt coverage/return teams, and finally a "live" team segment.
Quarterback Connor Halliday led the first series for a scripted number of plays that went the length of the field. A couple highlights on Halliday's series was a completion to Bobby Ratliff in traffic for a first down followed by another pass to Rickey Galvin who raced up the sideline, received a big block from running back Teondray Caldwell and scampered another 20+ yards for a big play. Halliday capped his series with a touchdown pass to wideout Dominique Williams. Quarterback Austin Apodaca was hounded by the Cougar defense as he led the offense during his series. Apodaca strung a couple completions together before ending his day with a touchdown pass to Galvin who reached back to make a smooth one-handed catch for the score.
The defense also turned in some big plays as linebacker Jared Byers picked off a Halliday pass early in the team segment and raced the other way for a score. During Apodaca's drive, the defense received sacks from BUCK linebacker Kache Palacio and defensive tackle Xavier Cooper. A couple plays later, nose tackle Ioane Guata burst through the line to blow up a running play. Cooper followed with a similar play of his own, beating an offensive lineman to get into the backfield to wallop speedster Robert Lewis just as he received the handoff.
Following the team segment, head coach Mike Leach put the offense against the defense in a best of three series with the ball on the two yard line. The defense swarmed the ball carrier on the first two plays, both runs, to win the competition.
The Cougars continue spring practice Thursday at 3 p.m. at Rogers Field and Martin Stadium.