Football holds second spring scrimmage

Cougar defense struggled in red zone, but had 10 different players record a sack during game Saturday



Redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Gordon throws a swing pass to redshirt senior running back Keith Harrington during spring practice April 5. Gordon threw for 125 yards and three touchdowns during Saturday’s scrimmage.

JACKSON GARDNER, Evergreen reporter

Nine touchdown passes highlighted the second scrimmage of the spring for WSU football.

Both sides of the ball struggled to find consistency, but Head Coach Mike Leach was encouraged by what he saw.

“I think we’re ahead of schedule,” Leach said. “We’ve got a little more depth. We are able to go not a full three groups [deep], but two and a half, so from a depth standpoint that’s helpful.”

Redshirt junior Trey Tinsley was the first quarterback to take the field and found the end zone twice during his time at the helm of the Cougar offense.

Tinsley connected with sophomore wide receivers Tay Martin and Jamire Calvin for two of his three touchdowns and completed 15 of 23 passes.

Fellow redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Gordon came in after Tinsley and maintained the offensive productivity.

In Gordon’s first play from the line of scrimmage he found junior wide receiver Dezmon Patmon for a 20-yard score. Gordon finished the day completing 12 of his 17 attempts with 125 yards and three touchdowns.

On Gordon’s final touchdown pass, he found freshman wide receiver Rodrick Fisher for a four-yard score, giving Fisher his second touchdown in as many scrimmages. However, Fisher was sidelined for the remainder of the practice after landing on his ankle awkwardly.

True freshman Cammon Cooper led the WSU quarterbacks in passing with 134 yards on only 13 passing attempts. Cooper’s day was highlighted by a 24-yard touchdown strike to Martin.

Redshirt freshman quarterback John Bledsoe got involved in the touchdown action as well when he found redshirt junior Easop Winston from 16 yards out.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cougars had bright spots, but similar to the offense they suffered from poor performance in the red zone.

“We played great defense a year ago, but in the red zone it was a problem and it was the same thing today,” first-year Defensive Coordinator Tracy Claeys said after the scrimmage. “I’ve told [Leach] we would like to have a lot of red zone snaps and we have to play better in there, and we didn’t do that.”

The front four of the Speed D were among the highlights for the Cougar defense. Ten different WSU players were able to find a way past the Cougars’ offensive line for a sack.

Leading the way was senior defensive lineman Nick Begg, who landed four sacks on the day.

The Cougars’ secondary pulled in two interceptions, including one from redshirt freshman defensive back Armani Marsh, who stepped in front of a pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Neville.

Redshirt sophomore safety Dylan Axelson led all Cougar tacklers with seven. Right behind Axelson was redshirt junior cornerback Deion Singleton with five tackles.

Begg, redshirt sophomore linebacker Dillon Sherman and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jesus Echevarria each contributed four tackles.

On special teams, redshirt sophomore kicker Jack Crane had another perfect day. Crane hit a field goal from 39 yards out and a pair from 42. He is now a perfect 7-7 in the Cougars’ two scrimmages.

WSU will play the annual Crimson and Gray Game 1 p.m. Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. The game can also be seen live on Pac-12 Networks.