Turn up the aggression
The Cougars are 11th in penalty yardage given up this season at just 37.6 yards per game. Not getting flagged is good, sometimes. Head coach Mike Leach and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch made some comments this week to the effect that the lack of defensive holding and pass interference calls against the Cougars this year can also be interpreted as a sign the defenders are playing too conservatively. Against an OSU passing offense that completes less that 50 percent of its passes, the Cougars should be willing to cut loose.
Pile on Seth Collins
The freshman OSU quarterback had a no good, very bad day against Arizona last week. He completed just 8 of 24 passes for a measly 56 yards in a 44-7 loss to the Wildcats. With so few college starts under his belt, Collins isn’t yet experienced in moving on from such a poor performance. If the Cougars, who rank fourth in the Pac-12 with 2.8 sacks per game, can get after Collins and force him into some mistakes early in the game, he likely won’t recover.
Keep an eye on Jordan Villamin
Because Collins is OSU’s leading rusher, as well as primary passer, the Cougars will be ready to defend the run, even as he drops back to pass. But the Beavers also have a downfield threat in Villamin, and he will make the Cougars pay if they lose track of him. While Villamin’s numbers are depressed by OSU’s anemic passing offense, the sophomore proved himself to be a capable player as freshman last season catching passes from Sean Mannion, and his ability to put together a big game was evident in a 138-yard performance against Stanford.
Overcome their Beavers demons
More than a couple recent WSU ascents have been thrown asunder by OSU teams. The 2005 team’s 3-0 start turned into a seven-game losing streak that began with a loss to the Beavers. In 2011, the Cougars sat 3-3 and appeared capable of making a bowl game before an OSU squad that would finish 3-9 blew them out 44-21. The Cougars can’t let those Beavers ghosts cost them a conference win today or OSU will send another promising season off track.