We are at the mid-way point of the football season, and at 3-3 the Cougars feel like they have done some things well, but ultimately haven’t played at a level that Head Coach Paul Wulff believes the Cougars are capable of playing at.
The focus for the Cougars this week in practice has been the execution of some of the small nuances on offense.
Coach Wulff, during his weekly press conference, spoke of needing to finish off plays.
He said it wasn’t an issue of a lack of focus for the reason for their poor execution. Stanford disguised their coverages very well, and sometimes when defenses show multiple looks from multiple formations, it can be hard for some of his young lineman to pick up those coverages in time.
It’s a matter of continuing to execute the precise game plan, and stay inside with what the Cougars do best.
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Washington State will have a little bit of a breather this week when they travel to Seattle to host the 1-5 Oregon State Beavers.
Not to say that the Cougars are overlooking the Beavers, but for a team that has lost two consecutive games, the opportunity to hang up a crooked number on a struggling team is there for their taking.
There are reasons why Oregon State is 1-5, and it isn’t a case of a “team that is better then their record reflects” type of situation.
The Beavers are a young team with very little Pac-12 experience, and it shows.
They continuously allow teams to extend drives by taking costly penalties. The Beavers are one of the most penalized teams in the conference averaging 7 penalties for 70 yards per game.
If Washington St. really wants to shake of these last two losses, they will take full advantage of all Beavers penalties, and capitalize on every Beavers mistake.
Aside from being a young football team, Oregon State has weapons on offense. Led by redshirt freshman QB Sean Mannion, 156-240, 1588 yards, 5 td’s, 9 int’s, 65 com%, and a 6.6 ypa, the Beavers feature a pass heavy style offense.
They are averaging 284 yards per game through the air on 40 attempts. Mannion may have one of the best receiving threats in the conference as well in WR Markus Wheaton.
Through six games Wheaton has 46 rec for 548 yards. But it’s not just Markus Wheaton Washington State has to look to contain. The Beavers have a slew of possession receivers they can throw at the Cougars. Jordan Bishop, James Rodgers, and Joe Halahuni can all cause some sort of match up problems for the Cougars. This will take a total team effort to defend.
Where Oregon State losses the bulk of their games is on the defensive side of the ball where the defense is giving up 32 points per game. Where the Beavers are having hard time stopping opposing teams is in the running game.
Oregon State is giving up 155 ypg on average, and with Washington State’s two headed monster in Carl Winston and Ricky Galvin, the Beavers will be faced with a tall task of stopping the Cougars running attack that if given space, can be very deadly.
Key to Victory:
Washington State will win this game if they can play solid defense up front. Oregon State doesn’t feature a heavy emphasis on running the ball. Between two RB’s, Malcolm Agnew and Javon Stevenson, the Beavers are only carrying the ball 13 times a game.
Washington St. must completely shut down the Beavers running attack, and put the game on the arm of Sean Mannion. Generate a solid pass rush with your front four, and try to keep Mannion on the run as much as possible.
This should allow Washington State to create multiple turnover opportunities.
On offense, continue to pound the ball will with RB Carl Winston and Ricky Galvin. Oregon State gives up a ton of yardage on the ground so there really should be no need to try and deviate from that. This will be a perfect game for the Cougars to be able to control the time of possession.
It also will also allow QB Jeff Tuel the opportunity to get into an early rhythm with his receivers.
Also Look for Paul Wulff to dial up a big play or two in the second and third quarters. Something is telling me that this will be a very fun game on offense.
News, Notes, and Injuries:
LT David Gonzalez sat out Wednesday’s practice resting a sore leg. Wulff said he fully expects Gonzalez to be ready to go on Saturday.
RT Wade Jacobson will not play this Saturday as he was in northern California for second opinion in regards to treatment options on his injured back, surgery has been mentioned, which would be season ending.
If that happens, Jacobson will declare a medical hardship.
Oregon State vs WSU at Century Link Field in Seattle
TV: Root Sports ch.30
Radio: 770 KTTH
Vegas Line: Washington State -2.5
Steve’s Hopeful Prediction: 42-21 Washington State