WSU soccer observations: Receivers ship on ‘big-time plays’ after coach Jake Dickert’s problem

PULLMAN – Washington State will maintain 25 practices forward of its season opener Sept. 3 towards Idaho. Below are observations from the sixth day of fall camp in Pullman.

The notes

At the staff’s pre-practice breakfast, Dickert issued a problem to WSU’s outdoors receivers: “I need some big-time plays,” he mentioned. “I need a deep ball from each one of you.” Donovan Ollie promised to catch a minimum of two downfield passes throughout Tuesday’s workout routines at a cloudy and breezy Rogers Field.

“He delivered,” Dickert famous after the session.

Ollie got here up with a couple of spectacular grabs in one-on-one and full-team drills and was named Dickert’s offensive participant of the day after WSU wrapped up its first follow in full pads. The Cougars’ different beginning outdoors receiver, De’Zhaun Stribling, additionally responded to the coach’s request and produced the day’s most memorable play (see beneath). Both gamers caught landing passes in 11-on-11 intervals.

Stribling and Ollie are returning starters who will probably be relied on tremendously this season within the pass-heavy system.

“We need those big-boy receivers,” Dickert mentioned. “There’s no way the ‘Coug Raid’ can function without big-time (receivers), especially red-zone threats on the outside.”

Stribling – the best freshman receiver within the Pac-12 final yr – has boosted his high pace (with out pads) from 19 miles per hour final yr to just about 23 this fall, in accordance with Dickert.

“That’s a helluva development for a 19-year-old kid,” Dickert mentioned. “He’s developing and maximizing his athletic ability. I think you’re going to see a different No. 88 on that field this year.”

Ollie, a fourth-year sophomore, “has really changed his body” over the previous two seasons, Dickert mentioned. “He’s changed his mental attitude and his capacity and I think he’s really growing. We need that on the outside. We’re going to use them more than we have in the past and I think that’s an exciting thing for both of those guys.”

WSU’s receivers seem to have a bonus over the defensive backs, however the Cougars’ secondary didn’t make it simple Tuesday. The DBs recorded two interceptions in full-team drills and persistently challenged receivers in one-on-ones – beginning CBs Derrick Langford Jr. and Chau Smith-Wade had been noticeably efficient. Stribling versus Langford has change into probably the most entertaining head-to-heads at fall camp.

“It gets so competitive and we’re making each other better in the process,” Stribling mentioned.

Starting quarterback Cameron Ward accomplished roughly 14 of 21 passes in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 segments. He threw loads of screens and sidearm fast outs, sprinkling within the occasional lengthy go. Ward tossed a well-placed 45-yard rating to Stribling and later match a 10-yard TD go via site visitors to Ollie. Freshman backups Emmett Brown, Xavier Ward and John Mateer alternated into the lineup for transient stretches.

Dickert put his whistle in his pocket, tossed his play playing cards to the facet, flipped his ballcap round and took half in a few drills.

“I want to show these guys I still got it,” he mentioned.

The 38-year-old former Wisconsin-Stevens Point extensive receiver lined up as a defensive again and tried to maintain tempo with the Cougars’ pass-catchers in a single stretch of particular person exercises. “(Outside receiver Tsion Nunnally) was knocking me on my tail,” Dickert mentioned. “That was bad footwork. I gotta work on that.”

Later, Dickert exhibited correct tackling methods and wrapped up a couple of foam dummies.

“I love being out here, period,” he mentioned. “I love being with the guys. I can never just stand still. It’s one of those things. … I can’t just blow the whistle and walk around all day. I love being a part of it.”

Dickert acknowledged that beginning duties this season at left guard will doubtless go to Brock Dieu or Christian Hilborn.

“I think those two are kinda locked in,” he mentioned of the redshirt freshmen. “We’re going to need both of them. … Whoever wins that job is going to be out there first, but that doesn’t mean they will be out there all the time.”

Dieu was a full participant Tuesday after being held out of 11-on-11s a day earlier.

True freshmen Djouvensky Schlenbaker and Jaylen Jenkins shouldered further first-team reps instead of junior operating again Nakia Watson, who was pulled from the lineup about halfway via follow after bruising via inside-running drills. He spent half of the morning strolling across the sidelines in avenue garments and conversing with teammates. Reserve RBs Kannon Katzer and Dylan Paine, each redshirt freshmen, rotated in and took reps beside major playmakers.

The Cougars will conduct a “high-intensity, low-impact” follow session Wednesday morning at Gesa Field, designed to concentrate on formations and fundamentals.

Scouts representing the Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts attended follow.

Running again reps up for grabs

Asked about Schlenbaker’s potential as a backup operating again, Dickert broadened the scope of the dialog.

“I don’t even know who No. 1 is, let alone No. 2,” he mentioned of the RB depth chart. “I think those guys need to come out here and prove it.”

Dickert expects it to be a “by-committee” strategy this season for the Cougars’ backfield. Watson might be nonetheless the favourite to start out, however the job gained’t be all his. That’s “not a knock on Nakia,” Dickert mentioned.

“That’s just a challenge to a lot of different guys that gotta be ready to play,” he mentioned. “They all have uniquely different skill sets.”

Dickert talked about 5 potential ball carriers: Watson, Schlenbaker, Jenkins, Katzer and Paine.

Watson has been the primary RB to take the sphere with the Cougars’ first unit in each staff drill since spring camp. The Wisconsin switch has been the anticipated starter in 2022 since he took the reins from seniors Max Borghi and Deon McIntosh ultimately yr’s Sun Bowl. Schlenbaker, from Bellingham, emerged rapidly in spring camp as a strong runner and has seemingly been solidified behind Watson this preseason. Jenkins, a Texas native, may add a speedier factor to WSU’s backfield. Katzer and Paine are each sturdy redshirt freshman Washingtonians – Spokane and Tumwater, respectively – who test in at 5-9 and about 195 kilos. Apparently, they’re all within the combine.

“I don’t think there’s an established No. 1, 2 or 3 right now,” Dickert mentioned of the RB depth chart.

Three massive performs

  1. Stribling took off on a deep route down the center of the sphere in the course of the full-team interval. Langford, the Cougars’ high cornerback, stored stride with Stribling the complete approach. The two jostled for positioning as Ward uncorked a 45-yard rainbow go towards the middle of the tip zone. The throw arrived on time, however got here down proper in the course of the interlocked Stribling and Langford, each of whom acquired their palms on the ball. Stribling tugged it away from the opposition as the 2 crashed to the turf. After securing the TD reception, Stribling popped up and chirped at Langford whereas a throng of Cougars sprinted upfield to rejoice probably the most excellent performs of the preseason to date. “I’m going to keep bringing it up every time I see him,” Stribling mentioned of the spotlight.
  2. Smith-Wade – the Cougars’ No. 2 man on the cornerback place – got here up with a red-zone takeaway earlier within the day in staff drills between WSU’s first models. Ward tried to squeeze a 10-yard go into a good window on the front-right nook of the tip zone. Smith-Wade poked the ball up and away from receiver Zeriah Beason, then plucked it out of the air and shimmied forward for a 10-yard interception return.
  3. Javan Robinson, a promising true freshman cornerback from Florida, capped follow with a stunning interception, which prevented a sideline TD catch. Playing towards and alongside backups in 11-on-11 drills, Robinson appeared to fall a step behind receiver Anderson Grover, who was headed towards the back-left nook of the tip zone. True frosh QB Emmett Brown tossed a 15-yard go in Grover’s route. Robinson surged late and dove, slipping in entrance of the meant goal on the final second. Robinson, named defensive participant of the day by Dickert, has been singled out a number of occasions as one of many brightest rookies on the roster. He’s competing for a reserve function at CB.

Their phrases

“The mentality and the standard is to get takeaways every day. Right now, we’re reaching that goal, a set goal – we’re getting turnovers every day in practice. As long as we keep doing that, it will turn over into the season.” – WSU junior linebacker Travion Brown on the protection, which completed in a tie for fifth nationally final season with 29 turnovers gained.

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