Leach smokes out possibility of rule change

MIKE LEACH

PULLMAN -- Defense. It's all about defense. If someone were to tell a Cougar fan during fall camp that defense would be Washington State's biggest strength, they'd think you were nuts. But that's where it stands. That unit came out once again Wednesday night and stymied the Marquess Wilson-less offense. Also, Leach put to rest any inkling that marijuana use would now be okay within the program.

While it appears Initiative 502 will pass, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Washington State, coach Mike Leach will not move on his approach on the matter.

"I don't know if it changes anything for a while because it's still against the federal law," Leach said. "It's still illegal on this team. They can do it after they play football here."

Marijuana use will remain one of Leach's unbreakable cardinal rules, along with striking a woman and theft.

As far as junior wideout Marquess Wilson and his status with the team goes, nothing really changed Wednesday. Athletic director Bill Moos spoke with Wilson this afternoon, but according to Leach that changes nothing in his eyes.

"I'm not too concerned about it," Leach said. "Bill does a great job. Bill's a guy that anybody can use a little advice from -- from time to time."

On the field, the defense again excelled. The first-team offense had six cracks from the 3-yard line to put it in the end zone.

The defense prevailed all six times.

Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel threw one interception to sophomore linebacker Cyrus Coen, stacking his turnover total to three on the day. Freshman safety David Bucannon intercepted Tuel twice on the day, both acrobatic diving efforts.

Tuel struggled for most of the evening, failing to hook up with his receivers on multiple occasions. Sophomore Connor Halliday didn't perform much better, also throwing an interception. Halliday did find freshman wideout Drew Loftus for a long touchdown, although that pretty much capped off the highlight reel for the day.

It should be noted that sophomore pass catcher Isiah Myers was once again present for practice, but favored his right leg and did not do any live scrimmaging with the team. Myers hasn't played for almost a month, and his status for Saturday remains in question.

Leading the receiving corps has been a plethora or youngsters. This evening, the starting lineup consisted of freshmen Dominique Williams, Brett Bartolone, Gabe Marks and sophomore Bobby Ratliff. The group is rather green, but Leach believes that comes with its positives, as well as obvious negatives.

"They came out and won their jobs -- they worked hard," Leach said. "The negatives would be experience."

That has been a theme this season as the Cougars have played 16 freshmen during games. Five of them have started.

Williams has started at the Z-receiver in recent weeks and has really made an impression with the coaching staff, specifically the offense-oriented Leach.

"He's steadily improved his skills and worked hard," Leach said. "He's really taken advantage of his opportunities."

One factor Leach will have to game plan for Saturday may be the weather. With a high temperature expected to be below freezing, and a real possibility of snow, Leach said he and the team have nothing to worry about. It's nothing new.

"There was a bunch of near misses and we practiced in snow (at Texas Tech)," Leach said. "(Saturday) will be a lot like today … minus a couple degrees."

Kickoff for the Dad's Weekend game is 7:30 p.m. Saturday against UCLA.

The 1s
Running with the 1s for the scrimmage:

OFFENSE
LT- John Fullington
LG- Jake Rodgers
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Matt Goetz
RT- Wade Jacobson
QB – Jeff Tuel (Connor Halliday got quite a few snaps as well)
RB –Marcus Mason/Carl Winston/Leon Brooks/Teondray Caldwell
X-WR –Dominique Williams (Isiah Myers got some time)
Y-WR – Brett Bartolone (Gino Simone got some reps)
Z-WR – Gabe Marks (Kristoff Williams got some time)
H-WR – Bobby Ratliff
DEFENSE
LT- Logan Mayes (Destiny Vaeao got some time)
NT- Ioane Gauta
RT- Xavier Cooper (Matt Bock got some snaps)
BUCK- Travis Long (Logan Mayes got some time)
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Anthony Carpenter
CB –Daniel Simmons
FS- Casey Locker
SS- Deone Bucannon
SPECIAL TEAMS
LS - Alex Den Bleyker
P - Mike Bowlin and Wes Conception
KO – Bowlin
FG - Andrew Furney
KR - Rahmel Dockery, Leon Brooks, Theron West, and Brett Bartolone
PR - Brett Bartolone, Leon Brooks, Theron West, Rahmel Dockery and Marcus Mason

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