C.J. Dimry, Isaiah Johnson and Robert Taylor stood out at practice on Wednesday
Washington State practiced in full pads for the first time this fall camp on Wednesday, and for the fifth day in a row, Alex Grinch’s defense once again trumped the offense during the team period at the end.
The defense won by a score of 29-25, but it was a pretty close fight.
“I thought we executed better. I don’t think it had anything to do with the pads as much as just really building on the work we’ve done to this point. I thought both sides of the ball executed a little better, a little sharper, even with a certain amount of fatigue,” WSU coach Mike Leach said. “I thought this was the best practice we’ve had.”
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— Nickelback Kirkland Parker turned what would have been a Kyle Sweet touchdown into an interception when he matched Sweet’s leap to pull down the pass from Tyler Hilinski and out-wrestled the receiver for the ball.
— Hilinski did, however, eventually found freshman Isaiah Johnson in the end zone to put up points for the offense. Johnson, a freshman, had one of his better practices. He caught Hilinski’s touchdown pass over D’Jimon Jones’ head, and after two days of alternating first team reps with Kaleb Fossum, he’s starting to get into a rhythm at the Z position.
— Jones didn’t back down though. The freshman athlete from Federal Way bounced back and later got a pass breakup against Johnson in the end zone.
— The defense put on a heavy pass rush and made starting quarterback Luke Falk run. Shalom Luani, Logan Tago and Hercules Mata’afa each sacked Falk once, while Dylan Hanser got his hand on one of Falk’s passes for a pass breakup close to the line of scrimmage.
— In the 7-on-7 component of practice, nickelback Parker Henry had a pass breakup, and cornerback Darrien Molton picked off Falk once.
— Freshman receiver Dezmon Patmon showed his soft hands and his physicality when he caught and held onto a pass from Hilinski in the corner of the end zone despite tight coverage by Robert Taylor. Taylor, by the way, has been taking reps at both safety and cornerback. It looks like the coaches are determined to get him on the field this season, it’s just a matter of figuring out where he fits in best.
— Leach commended Taylor, saying the junior college transfer made a breathtaking play in Tuesday’s practice.
“He made a play yesterday that I’ve never seen made before. Came down from safety and picked a ball in the flat. Just the space you have to cover and how quickly you have to take off. It’s typically a play. I don’t even care if the defense knows it’s coming because I don’t think they can get there. But evidently Robert Taylor can,” Leach said. “If anything, he’s faster than what we thought he’d be. And we thought he’d be pretty good. He’s not a real big guy, but he’s both faster and more physical than we thought he’d be, and we had pretty high expectations of him,” Leach said.
— C.J. Dimry, the Cougs’ beanpole (6-foot-5, 201 pounds) of an X-receiver, made the highlight play of Wednesday’s practice during the 7-on-7 period when he out jumped his defender in the back of the end zone and snared caught a pass from Falk with only his left hand. Dimry also scored again to end the team period, this time beating Treshon Broughton in the end zone.