PULLMAN – There might not be another college football team better equipped to handle an emotional, tumultuous week than this one.
Washington State’s players have been through the wringer over these past four years.
Interim coach Jake Dickert detailed to media members Tuesday a conversation he had with mainstay linebacker Jahad Woods the morning after coach Nick Rolovich and four Cougar assistants were fired.
“He’s had the highest of highs. They finished as a top-10 team. They had GameDay on campus, when we beat the (Oregon) Ducks – a day the Palouse will never forget,” Dickert said. “We also talked about some of the hardships. He’s seen two teammates pass. He’s had to deal with COVID – on again season, off again season. … And also, losing half a staff in the middle of the season.
“I’m a firm believer that adversity is life’s greatest teacher.”
There’s something about the mature, mentally durable makeup of this team that gives me a hunch – despite this week’s chaos, the Cougars are going to beat BYU on Saturday.
WSU’s athletes are rallying around this situation, promising to stay united and imploring their fan base to show out at Gesa Field. It’s not out of the ordinary for a team to respond to adverse situations with a spirited performance.
Cougars buffs seem to be fully behind their new coach – the cool-and-collected country guy from Wisconsin who plugged his way up the coaching ladder and earned a favorable reputation this year for turning the WSU defense into a resilient, playmaking bunch.
Dickert’s defense will reaffirm its status as a unit with a knack for timely plays.
Although the offense has lost its directors – Rolovich and playcaller Craig Stutzmann – the blossoming leadership qualities of sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura will shine through as WSU emerges with its fourth consecutive victory.
“I know this is going to be a great challenge for us,” Dickert said Thursday during the WSU coach’s show with Matt Chazanow. “But we’re playing our best football at this time and I know our guys are going to be ready to meet the challenge.”
The pick: Washington State 28, BYU 24
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