Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Travis Long: defense must improve ‘little things’


FROM PULLMAN -- It took roughly 30 minutes on Thursday for Washington State's defense to figure out how to properly execute what linebacker Travis Long calls "little things."

Such as lining up properly.

"We just were able to take the corrections we made at halftime, put those onto the field," Long said Monday. "We were able to line up and execute our calls. Usually, all day when we were doing that we were successful in stopping them."

That was primarily in the second half, when the Cougars held BYU to just six points (two field goals) despite a couple of red-zone trips.

But before that, they'd surrendered 294 yards in the first half, allowing BYU to take a 24-6 halftime lead.

Part of the problem was caused by BYU's hurry-up offense, which didn't allow the Cougars to line up properly on a number of plays.

They'll have to respond faster against Eastern Washington, which throws the ball frequently and plays an up-tempo style of offense.

"Obviously they like to throw the ball a lot," Long said. "That means we’re going to have to get after the quarterback and not let him get back there and put a strain on our secondary. That’s kind of on the front seven."

More from Long ...

(On the linebacker play) "I thought we played well. I think little things like liing up correctly, certain plays that kind of shot us in the foot. Other than that we played very hard and did our jobs the majority of the time."

(What were those corrections?) "It’s really just technique stuff and missed alignments. That’s really how a lot of big plays happened. So we’ve got to do those, get lined up correctly every time and always be able to give ourselves a chances."

(On practicing against a pass-heavy offense) "That could potentially help. We see an offense every day that most colleges don’t, throwing the ball nearly every play. That could help us a lot I think."

(On recovering from last week's mental issues) "Just kind of a mentality. It’s really an individual choice of how you want to come out there, I just think as a leader I just need to keep pushing that on everybody. We’ll be all right."

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.