FROM PULLMAN — Washington State was back at it on Sunday night, getting in their brief practice before thunder, lightning and rain descended upon the Palouse. We beat the elements back to the homestead, and have the following notes to pass along.
– Wind gusts really picked up toward the end of practice, with a couple of them rushing through strong enough to turn the construction crane about 75-90 degrees. I have no idea if that's a particularly bad thing or not. But it wasn't exactly comforting from our perch atop a stairwell attached to the CUB.
A good bit of dirt and dust came sweeping across the field, too, though not enough to interrupt practice.
– Destiny Vaeao remains limited, and Kache Palacio is still the No. 1 guy at buck linebacker as a result.
– The entire receiving corps spent a bit of time in the sand pit after practice. Word is that someone missed a tutoring session. That's a no-no.
– Otherwise, practice was spent on the usual: special teams and preliminary scout work. It didn't last quite an hour.
We spoke with Mike Breske afterward about Southern Utah, Idaho and other things. Here's that conversation.
(On being top pass defense in nation) “We haven’t really gone against a passing offense yet. This’ll be a good test this weekend against Idaho. They threw the ball 25 times last week, more of a balanced team, but they do throw a lot of wheel route sand try to go deep and that type ofthing. Southern Utah, we were expecting a lot of dink and dunk, and that’s what we got.”
(Have you seen much Idaho film yet?) “Started today. Quarterback’s a good athlete, redshirt freshman, makes things happen. They put 28 up in the first half against Northern Illinois. Gave up nine sacks which you’re going to struggle with, and turned the ball over with some fumbles, but they moved the ball against Northern Illinois, who I believe was in the Orange Bowl a year ago, beat Iowa the first week, was one of the top picks in the MAC. So they’ve got my attention.”
(On capitalizing on sack opportunities) “We can open up some cans when you get in that situation. We’ve got to be real tight on our run fits this week. Always start with the run game first and then progress to the pass game. This is going to be a big game for Idaho and for Wazzu and kind of set the tone for our conference.”
(On Idaho's rushing offense) “They do a little bit like Auburn, the one-back stuff, zone read, the triple, the arc read, all that stuff. There’s some good carryover for us. But then they’ll get into 2-back and run power. Handoff. He’ll get under center like we saw this past Saturday. So they’ve got some different philosophies going on offense.”
(On generating pass rush against SUU) “The thing you’ve got to understand is I’ve been doing a lot of 3-man stuff, so we’re not going to get great pass rush. What was frustrating was our drop people were not exactly where they need to be. Especially on that first drive, we had two opportunities to get off the field and should have been off the field. But we didn’t execute our job. That’s my fault as a coach and we’ve got to get that corrected. We’re not going to get great pass rush with a 3-man rush. But then we did a lot of fire zones and that type of deal, we got some hits. On Daquawn’s (Brown) pick, Jared Byers just clocked him and forced a bad throw. It was a heck of a catch by Daquawn, one-handed, baby. But those are things we need. We were fortunate to get three takeaways, had an opportunity for a fumbled snap and we’re offsides. We’ve got to clean that up down in the red zone.”
(Do you think the defense got better?) “Some people. Not all of us. Made that point in our unit meeting that some of us are taking a lot of snaps, and I’m not seeing that — getting better. That’s accountability and you will be held accountable.”
(Who did get better?) “I thought Daquawn Brown got better from the week before. He was in position, never out of position. Played steady Eddy for the most part with everybody else in the back end. Linebacker wise, Darryl Monroe played pretty good. Kache (Palacio) had a pretty good game for 50-some plays, which he hasn’t had. Deone (Bucannon) kind of got him with the holding call and then he picks him off on the next play.”
(Will Palacio start again?) “We’ll see how the week goes and make that determination. But I have no problem putting Kache in the game.”