Offense outpaced on final day of spring practice

After dominating the spring game, the Cougar defense again gave the offense a run for their money Tuesday on the final day of spring practice.

“That’s what we do,” WSU junior linebacker Darryl Monroe said. “When we decide to play, that’s what we’re capable, so now we just need to focus on deciding to play every time.”

The defense forced WSU redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Bruggman to throw three interceptions during the team scrimmage portion of practice. WSU redshirt senior Tracy Clark was one those players who stepped up and made a play for the defense.

“I was in cover 2 (defense), I was just sitting and both receivers did slants and I just jumped it and came up with the ball,” Clark said.

Clark returns to the secondary as one of the older players on the team. However, this is the first time the redshirt senior has gotten the opportunity to work with the first team defense for an extended amount of time. After spending time watching the game on the sidelines, the California native is ready for his chance to play.

“Sitting and watching helped me really learn the game and learn different techniques to see how I could better myself when I get out there (on the field),” Clark said. “Now that I’m out there playing, it’s just coming really easy, just staying focused and doing the best of my abilities.”

From the first day to the 15th day of spring practice, Clark said he’s more confident playing with the No. 1 defense.

Another player rising up in the depth charts on defense is WSU redshirt sophomore safety David Bucannon. After recording seven tackles in the spring game last Saturday, Bucannon snagged an interception from Bruggman in the team portion of practice.

“I think David’s done a good job,” WSU Defensive Coordinator Mike Breske said. “He’s learning our defense, that’s a thing I focus on with David when we watch film, is ‘why we did this or why we didn’t do this.’ Mentally this is his second spring ball and he’s got to have that grasp, and I think when you’re comfortable with my expectations, you play fast.”

During the 7-on-7 drills, WSU redshirt senior quarterback Connor Halliday completed 14 of his 20 passes with five touchdowns. Bruggman went 13-of-19 with two touchdowns.

Halliday finished up his final spring practice completing eight of his 14 pass attempts in the team portion of practice. The Spokane native threw a touchdown pass to WSU redshirt senior running back Rickey Galvin to finish off the spring.

“It was good, best spring I’ve ever been a part of here,” Halliday said. “The talent is unlike anything I’ve ever seen here and we’ve got guys that can really play some football, and so it’s an exciting time here in Pullman.”

Besides throwing three interceptions in the team scrimmage portion of practice, Bruggman completed eight of his 14 passes and threw two touchdowns.

“I just think they (backup quarterbacks Tyler Bruggman and Luke Falk) need to improve overall (heading into the summer),” WSU Head Coach Mike Leach said. “They both had a really good spring, and I think they both improved in the course of spring. They just need to keep pushing, most of the stuff they could do a little quicker, a little more precise, and just try to not make too much happen and just steadily improve their skills.”

Leach officially brought on former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell as an “offensive analyst” for the Cougars. Harrell was an All-American quarterback and one of college football’s leading passers in 2008.

“Now that spring ball is over, he (Leach) just tells me to analyze everything they’ve done and everything they’ve run and see if there’s any ways I can make it better,” Harrell said.  “Or I can remember what we did (at Texas Tech) that helped it, and at times that’s going to be my job and other times it might be just to be a sounding board for the quarterback, but also help with the receivers.”

With spring ball officially over, the Cougars will stay in Pullman for summer classes then hit the ground running with individual workouts in preparation for fall camp in August.