For Connor Halliday, the first three days of Spring ball were about overcoming a challenge from fellow quarterback Austin Apodaca. Day four brought out something else in him, leadership and a little fire. An altercation with walk-on wideout Willie Roach showed he’s not thinking about the position battle as much anymore as he is being the leader of his team. The two butted heads in a heated exchange before dodging some blows from the other and being tackled by coaches and teammates (receivers coach Dennis Simmons grabbed Halliday while Henry Eaddy threw Roach to the turf). After that things escalated elsewhere, with Gabe Marks and Leon Brooks getting in it with defensive players and more.
Basically there was a noticeable attitude change amongst the offense. After watching as many highlights as were possible from Spring ball over the first 3 days, it looked like the defense had the noticeable edge in cockiness and attitude. It was offset a little bit by the offense having at least decent performances on days 2 and 3, but there’s something to be said about the “O” finally getting into the fracas. In fact I’d venture to say that it’s paramount that Halliday takes control of this team and the entire offense picks it up in this way.
Too often the offense just “took it” last year while defenses continuously pummeled them into 3-and-outs or forced turnovers. While it’s just one day early in Spring, it marks the beginning of a different 2013 for this Cougar football team. Halliday has fire in him, you’ve seen it constantly as he became visibly frustrated with himself multiple times last season. But he’s generally far more reserved towards his teammates. If he can channel that fire and pass it to the entire team in a positive way, the Cougs could turn the corner. Team’s tend to follow their quarterback so it’s only natural that this would be the case.
In other news Ivan McLennan is up 30 pounds since he arrived in January (up to around 240 on his 6’4″ frame) and is impressing daily with his burst and quickness. Coach Breske after practice said that McLennan is finally eating correctly due to availability in contrast to his home life in Los Angeles. McLennan himself also said that he is lifting really for the first time in his life. With such quick weight gain, you would think a loss of quickness and foot speed, but Breske says he’s just adjusting and hasn’t really lost a step. He is competing with Kache Palacio for snaps throughout the Spring while Logan Mayes rehabs his knee.
WSU gets back at it on Saturday morning at 10 am. There was talk of a scrimmage but that will not happen now for whatever reason. Still, we’ll see how the Cougs react to being a little testy after Thursday. You don’t want to see it every practice or anything, but altercations like these are generally a sign of good competition. We’ll see where it goes as we start to count down 4 weeks till the Spring game.