Battle in the trenches heats up Thursday at spring practice

Offensive, defensive line highlight fourth day of camp



Redshirt sophomore quarterback John Bledsoe, right, hands the ball off to sophomore running back Max Borghi, middle, while senior offensive line Robert Valencia rushes forward to block Tuesday afternoon at Martin Stadium.

JOHN SPELLMAN, Evergreen reporter

WSU football took the field Thursday for the fourth time this spring and for first time this spring the sun did not illuminate the field at Martin Stadium as clouds hung over Pullman.

The Cougars looked to continue their improvement in the spring so far, as Head Coach Mike Leach has been working his players hard to refine their skills in practice each day.

“We go out there competing each day, getting better and better, and as the days go by just focusing on the little things to get better,” junior wide receiver Tay Martin said.

Thursday’s workout opened up with the usual position specific drills before the players came together to perform team drills.

One of the more exciting battles that takes place during the team drills is the clash between the offensive and defensive linemen.

“I think our energy in the drills has been pretty good, we have had some scuffles in there and some guys getting after it, but it’s a respect factor between the two sides,” defensive line coach Jeff Phelps said. “The battle of the trenches is something we talk about all the time, but I will say that offensive linemen and defensive linemen are the only ones with the word men in their titles.”

The person that the offensive line protects has been a big topic of conversation for the Cougars as they look to find the replacement for Gardner Minshew II at quarterback.

The two leaders of the competition so far, redshirt seniors Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon, continued to show why they are at the head of the quarterback battle as they made some incredible throws.

Gordon was able to carve up the defense by throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Travell Harris and scrambling out of the pocket to find redshirt freshman wide receiver Mitchell Quinn in the end zone.

Tinsley also looked good on Thursday afternoon, making some nice throws. However, he did turn the ball over once on an interception that was tipped off the hands of senior wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr.

“Today’s practice was good, we have a lot of places where we can clean up and there’s definitely something we can always work on.” Redshirt junior offensive lineman Josh Watson said.

The Cougars return to the field Saturday at Martin Stadium for their next practice.