The Cougars' first team offensive line looked good Monday, but the second team offensive line was "awful," Mike Leach said.
LEWISTON – Midway through the 11-on-11 period at Washington State’s practice Monday afternoon, an agitated Cole Madison watched in mortification from the sidelines as the second team offensive line allowed the defense to swarm Luke Falk.
That series had also included a botched center-quarterback exchange, and two ineffective run plays that saw Jamal Morrow get swallowed up by the defense almost as soon as he tucked the ball.
“Hey man, pull your heads out of your (behinds) and let’s GO,” Madison hollered, trying to pump up the backup offensive linemen.
Madison wasn’t the only one who took issue with the performance of the second team offensive line.
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“I thought our first group was good, I thought our second group was awful,” WSU coach Mike Leach said Monday after practice, in response to a question seeking his opinion on the offensive line. “So we’ll probably make some changes with the second group. Put some other guys up there, because we’re not entirely getting what we’d like out of the second group.”
Through the first six practices of WSU’s fall camp, the Cougars have stuck with a consistent lineup on both the first and second team offensive lines.
- LT: Andre Dillard (6-5, 306 pounds, rs-jr.)
- LG: Cody O’Connell (6-9, 368 pounds, rs-sr.)
- C: Fred Mauigoa (6-3, 315 pounds, so.)
- RG: B.J. Salmonson (6-4, 310 pounds, rs-sr.)
- RT: Cole Madison (6-5, 314 pounds, rs-sr.)
- LT: Liam Ryan (6-5, 281 pounds, rs-fr)
- LG: Cedric Bigge-Duren (6-6, 320 pounds, rs-so)
- C: Noah Osur-Myers (6-4, 295 pounds, rs-so)
- RG: Robert Valencia (6-6, 291 pounds, rs-jr)
- RT: Josh Watson (6-4, 292 pounds, rs-fr)
But that will most certainly change now that the second group has drawn the ire of the head coach.
“I didn’t feel like today they blocked,” Leach said of the second team offensive line.
More notes from Monday’s practice:
– Backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski and outside receiver C.J. Dimry have a discernible chemistry on the field. It likely stems from them being roommates and close friends. In 11-on-11, Hilinski went to Dimry on back-to-back throws, hitting the receiver in stride on a post route, then putting it right on Dimry’s back shoulder to pick up a third down conversion.
– Falk worked with the beleaguered second team offensive line early in 11-on-11, and in spite of their troubles, he nonetheless found a way to score, connecting with Tavares Martin Jr. for a nifty little catch-and-run that Martin Jr. took to the house for a touchdown.
— When the offense moved to the goal line, Martin Jr. showed excellent body control, hauling in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Falk with Jalen Thompson covering him. Martin Jr. was careful to tap both toes inbounds before falling out of bounds with the ball cradled in his arms.
— The defense also got the better of Martin Jr., however. In the final play of Monday’s practice, Marcus Strong – who was filling in for Marcellus Pippins at right cornerback again – stayed with Martin Jr. all the way to the deep left corner of the end zone. Martin Jr. leaped to pull in a ball from Falk, but Strong stayed with him and got a hand in there to force an incompletion, and knocked Martin Jr. to the ground in the process.
— Freshman slot receiver Jamire Calvin and nickelback Kirkland Parker battled back and forth for most of the afternoon. Calvin gave Parker trouble in 7-on-7 and WR/DB drills. But on one play in 11-on-11, Falk aired it out for Calvin in the end zone, and Parker rose to the occasion, staying in lockstep with the shifty receiver and forcing an incompletion.
— Pippins, defensive end Nnamdi Oguayo and linebacker Dylan Hanser were limited in practice. That meant more reps for Strong, Derek Moore and Frankie Luvu, respectively. Redshirt freshman Dillon Sherman has also been getting an increasing number of reps with the second team at weak side linebacker.