WSU Camp

Washington State Cougars head coach Mike Leach watches his team during a spring practice on April 5, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman.

LEWISTON, Idaho — The last few plays of the team period are always more intense than the past few and tensions between offensive and defensive players finally boiled over (maybe it was the 100 degree heat) after Derrick Langford broke up a Gage Gubrud pass intended for Dezmon Patmon.

It wasn’t clear who started the skirmish, or who all was involved, but white and red jerseys collapsed into one area of the field before they were divided.

NOTABLE

The defense came up with not one, but two strips, during the “screen” drill. Marcus Strong came up with one of those and Bryce Beekman had the other.

• Daniel Isom, the junior college defensive back who’d made a handful of pass breakups and a couple of interceptions through the first three days of practice, worked with the No. 1 defense at strong safety next to Bryce Beekman.

• There’s still plenty to sort out at a number of spots, and because the Cougars use an eight-man WR rotation, consider all eight “starters.” Nonetheless, the first unit looks something like this: Anthony Gordon/Trey Tinsley/Gage Gubrud (QB), Max Borghi/Clay Markoff (RB), Calvin Jackson Jr./Tay Martin (“X” receiver), Dezmon Patmon/Easop Winston (“Z” receiver), Brandon Arconado/Kassidy Woods (“Y” receiver), Travell Harris/Renard Bell (“H” receiver), Liam Ryan (LT), Robert Valencia (LG), Fred Mauigoa (C), Josh Watson (RG), Abraham Lucas (RT).

And the second unit: Gordon/Tinsley/Gubrud (QB), Deon McIntosh/Jouvensly Bazil (RB), Brandon Gray (“Z” receiver), Rodrick Fisher (“X” receiver), Mitchell Quinn (“Y” receiver), Billy Pospisil (“H” receiver), Cade Beresford (LT), Jarrett Kingston (LG), Brian Greene (C), Hunter Mayginnes (RG), Patrick Utschinski (RT).

One Big Play

During Gage Gubrud’s team period series, the quarterback sensed pressure from the pass-rush and stepped forward before releasing a rocket to Renard Bell, who gained a few steps on defender Shahman Moore and brought in the pass. Bell legged out about 10 more yards before being stopped 10-15 yards shy of the goal line fore about a 60-yard completion — the longest of the day for either quarterback.

Gubrud’s playmaking ability outside of the pocket is as good as advertised and it’s certainly an advantage he has on the other two, who have some improvisation skills but not Gubrud’s mobility or in-game experience. Bell and most of the WSU receivers are pretty adept at allowing their QB to keep plays alive, often freeing themselves when a play breaks down — what Mike Leach likes to call “mop up plays.” And Bell has been one of the team’s best deep threats since his redshirt freshman season.

Standout

The recipient of Sunday’s “one big play,” linebacker Dillon Sherman, had another productive day at camp. Justus Rogers, Sherman’s competitor at the “Mike” linebacker spot, seems more qualified to defend the pass, but Sherman came up with a pair of break-ups during Tinsley’s series in team period. And one of those was nearly an interception.

The redshirt junior dropped back into the defensive secondary on a pass play and jumped high to palm a throw into the middle of the field. The ball stuck for a brief second before falling to the turf. Later on, Sherman got his hand on Tinsley’s final pass attempt of the series for a second PBU.