It’s time for the pregame blog post. Do we have any words of wisdom? You’ve been reading this blog for a while, do you really think I can come up with any? Read on.
• So what are the three keys for WSU today? We have our ideas. … Oh, you want me to share them? OK. …
• Tackle well in space: This is by far the biggest key. The run and shoot is going to get players out in space with the ball. There’s no way to stop it, unless you sack Greg Alexander every time he steps back to pass and that isn’t going to happen. So the Cougars back eight – and yes, expect them to play a lot of three-man front today – will be asked to make tackles one-on-one. That hasn’t been their strength the past couple years, so they will have to step up and make the play. As a corollary, check out Louis Bland and how he’s running. I haven’t seen him out yet but he also isn’t in street clothes like Aire Justin and Eric Block, so my guess is he’ll probably try to go. … UPDATE: He is. He’s in uniform and going through warmups. … He’s the one WSU player who seemingly always makes tackles when he is supposed to. If he can’t go, there is one less sure tackler on the field. But just to flip the coin a little, Alex Hoffman-Ellis will take his spot and there is no linebacker faster in a crimson uniform. And speed will be needed.
• Get a hat on a hat and push: WSU has to run the ball effectively. If the Cougars can, there are three positives: You keep the ball out of Alexander’s hands, you wear down the Hawaii’s defense and you win. For Cougar fans those are all positives. It’s possible for WSU’s offensive line to do this, as long as all five of them can fulfill their responsibilities on the same play. Last week, four of the five would lock up their man and the fifth would fail. It happened with different guys way too often.
• Win the turnover battle: The main reason Hawaii struggled last week is it turned the ball over four times – in the first half. WSU must force the Warriors to turn the ball over again and get some breaks of serve. The Cougars aren’t good at forcing turnovers – last year’s three fumble recoveries are proof of that – but the offense can certainly help the margin if it does what it did last week, take care of the ball.
• That’s it for now. We’ll be back at halftime and after the game. Until then …