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


Cougars spend Sunday night prepping for ASU

The Cougars practiced early yesterday watched the team they just beat (OSU) knock off the team they play next (ASU).

They took the field on Sunday night for a short, late practice to begin preparing to replicate OSU's success and send the Sun Devils on a losing streak.

Our practice report is after the jump.

Arizona State is known for a mean blitz on defense but Oregon State did a good job of picking it up, giving up just two sacks. While Washington State's offense doesn't make use of a tight end like OSU's does, the Cougars learned some lessons about what works to stave off ASU's pressure.

"Oregon State controlled the blitz more with formations," said running backs coach Jim Mastro. "They had the two tight ends and when they didn't want to throw it they just max protected and made some plays."

The Beavers were not, however, able to hold star ASU receiver Jaelen Strong under 100 yards (he finished with 103 on nine receptions). Of all the excellent receivers WSU has faced this season, Strong is certainly among the top couple and will be a tough matchup for a Cougars secondary that won't have Daquawn Brown for the first half.

"He's physical, very physical. He's got strong hands, goes after the ball," defensive coordinator Mike Breske said. "They'll leave him on the backside a lot of times, away from trips, try to get one-on-one coverage in the boundary. They'll move him around but some way they're going to get him the ball. They line him up in the backfield, motion him out, try to isolate coverages. He's very talented."

Speaking of Brown, he won't be available for that first half because of a questionable targeting penalty that was assessed during the OSU game. While that penalty appeared to be incorrect on replay, it's not the first time that the perhaps overzealous Brown's excitement has gotten him into trouble.

He's a very talented cornerback and plays with a lot of passion, which has likely fueled WSU's leading tackler. But the coaches would prefer he do a better job of not letting that exuberance get the best of him.

"Well I think he's got to be smart," Breske said. "I think he's had nine 15-yard penalties in various shapes and forms and that's just a little immature. We've talked about it and that type of thing, but yeah, he's got to celebrate with his teammates."

Breske also clarified that Kevin Griffin, who started the game, was "out of the game already" when Marcellus Pippins burned his redshirt and subbed in for Brown, something coach Mike Leach indicated as well last week.

The practice itself was a typical, light Sunday practice that lasted about an hour. The good news is that quarterback Luke Falk should have a nearly-full complement of receivers to throw to on Saturday as River Cracraft and Calvin Green were back and running with the ones.

Scout running back Keith Harrington appeared to be at full strength once again.

I did not, however, see Rickey Galvin or running back Gerard Wicks, although it's possible/probable that they were at practice and in street clothes like limited offensive tackle Cole Madison often is.

The limited players I did see were Brett Bartolone, Mack Hopkins, Nick Begg, Isaac Dotson, Nate DeRider and Kalafitoni Pole.

In Pole's place Darryl Paulo slid inside on the defensive line.

Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

Follow Jacob online:

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.