There Wasn’t Much to Love…At All
This past Thursday the Cougars headed to Provo with the mind set of defeating Mike Leach’s alma mater BYU Cougars on national television.
Since the signing of Leach in November, August 30th was a day marked on every Cougar fan’s calendar. The game couldn’t come soon enough.
It was the longest day of school for each and every student on the WSU campus. Eyes glued to the classroom clocks, anxiously waiting for that 7:15 pm kickoff.
What was unexpected was how painfully long the abysmal-of-a-game the Cougars would put on for us.
Really? Something To Love?
One of the most difficult things I have ever had to accomplish: Find a positive from the 30-6 blowout this past Thursday night.
If there was anything to love, it was the performance put on by Ioane Gauta on the defensive line.
Gauta, a transfer from Fullerton Junior College, was a man among boys Thursday night.
Standing at 6’3″, 305 lbs with the mane of a lion flowing past his numbers, Gauta was unleashing his fury all across the field in Provo. Our defensive line was far from outstanding, but Gauta was making plays and stopping the running backs with a swipe of his paws.
There is a lot of upside to the JC transfer, let’s hope he continues flashing his skills as the season goes on.
Well there is obviously plenty to hate from this game.
Let’s start with the playcalling.
I hated the lack of risk-taking by the “high octane” Mike Leach. Half-back draws and pistol running plays littered our offensive game plan, and neither worked.
I recall a stat stating the Cougars refrained from a single run longer than 5 yards.
I hated the timid demeanor of Jeff Tuel.
The offensive line was impressive. They would have been in my love section if it weren’t for John Fullington’s two holding calls that took back a touchdown and another big play both to Marquess Wilson.
Tuel had all of the time in the world, but refused to throw the ball down field. Leach mentioned in the post game interview that the receivers were not executing their routes and were unable to create separation. If that was the case, use your athleticism Tuel.
You had running room, you are a mobile quarterback, pick up those five yard scrambles and keep a drive going. Or take a risk and throw to your future-NFL-receiver in coverage, you saw what happened both times you attempted to.
I hated the body language of the entire team. Marquess Wilson was constantly throwing up his arms after plays, or hitting his helmet on the sidelines. He had very good reasons to be upset, mainly the holding calls previously noted, but that still does not give an excuse to pout.
As a junior he has to be more mature than that.
Leach made a reference to this issue in the post game conference as well.
“We’ve got to be a mentally tougher team. We can’t have all these basset hound looking faces on the sideline. As coaches, we have to improve that.”
I hated the defensive game plan Mike Breskewas brought into Pullman because of his experience and his notoriety to take risks and force turnovers.
Where were the risks?
We put no pressure on the quarterback Riley Nelson. Because of this, Nelson had a hay-day picking apart our secondary in a surgeon-like fashion.
If we were getting outmatched on the defensive line, Breske needs to enhance his blitz packages and get to the QB. Our secondary is not talented enough to cover receivers for extended lengths of time.
That was proven Thursday night.
Overall it was hard to take anything from this game that we can look forward to.
Hopefully this was just growing pains and will only be a minor speed bump on the beginning of a road to a great season for the Cougars.
Time will tell.