From Pullman — The big news out of practice tonight was the participation of freshman defensive lineman Emmitt Su'a-Kalio, who was arrested last week (scroll down after clicking the link for the story on Su'a-Kalio). The team is handling the matter internally, but apprently won't — or at least hasn't yet — suspended the freshman from team activities.
Freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown was very active, deflecting two passes and intercepting another in the 50-minute practice. Nolan Washington ran with the second unit at cornerback, after practicing with the starters last week.
After practice we spoke with defensive coordinator Mike Breske, whose group gave up 585 yards but just 20 offensive points. Some highlights of that interview are after the jump.
(What did you think of the defense's performance on Saturday?)
“It's kind of that bend but don't break philosphy. We gave up way too many passing yards but I was really happy, especially with the third quarter. We got down to business and that type of deal, had some key takeaways in the red zone. Toni Pole with the strip and recovery and then he had another recovery on another drive. Plus the special teams takeaway on the kickoff, that's five takeaways. Three fumbles and the two interceptions so that's key.
I think that was one of the major difference in the game, that we took five opportunities from them and got it for our offense. I thought our kids played hard, we've got to clean some things up with their eyes in terms of what they're looking at, they got fooled a few times. But we knew they were going to throw the ball a bunch and that game took forever. In terms of — I think we scouted 94 plays not including penalties. I think our offense was probably in the high 80's, so a lot of football plays for the fans.
(With another gun-slinging quarterback in OSU's Sean Mannion next week, were the passing yards worrisome?)
Well, we saw him last year. I believe he got hurt in our game, but he's a 6-foot-5 quarterback, 220-pounds pocket style quarterback who can scramble, but will throw to scramble. Very similar to our philosophy on offense. He'll hang in there until the last second; he's taken some shots. But he's got a strong arm and they've got a talented receiver in No. 7, who's kind of their big-play guy.
But they're running the ball roughly 31-percet of the time — they've committed to throwing. I think our offense is at 25-percet so a lot of offense in the game.
(Ioane Gauta had his first two sacks of the season against Cal, was there something specific he exploited?)
I think it's just timing. He's had opportunities earlier this year but you've got to capitalize. It's kind of like fumbles — they can come in bunches. You work at it, you work at it, you work at it and all of a sudden it hits. And a lot of times that's with sacks, too. The quarterback just gets rid of the ball, just gets rid of the ball. We left I think three sacks out there, we had three for the day but very easily could have had six for the day. We needed that. Our stat for sacks is one per 15 passing attempts and they attempted 62 passes so we needed more than three sacks.