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1 The Cougars must start faster. Or at least faster than last year. Washington State scored all of six points in the first quarter last season – a field goal each against California and Oregon State – while giving up 176. Yes, 176 points in 180 minutes. That offensive – and defensive – ineptitude was built in many ways, from special-teams breakdowns, to offensive turnovers, to defensive lapses. With such early deficits, game plans – the meticulous work preparing the best ways to attack an opponent – are often forgotten like yesterday’s hamburger wrappers. At least the running game part of it. The opponent’s defenses, free of constraints, were able to attack the WSU offense with impunity, knowing they had a cushion to build on. 2 WSU’s defense has a goal of forcing three turnovers a game. It must reach that objective if the Cougars want to win. The Oklahoma State offense under new coordinator Dana Holgorsen will be a high-risk, high-reward model, if it mirrors his group last season at Houston. The Cowboys may have a new starting quarterback (former baseball player Brandon Weeden) but they welcome back running back Kendall Hunter, limited by injuries last season after earning All-American honors in 2008. With a good scheme and weapons like Hunter, stopping the spread the entire game, even if top returning receiver Hubert Anyiam is unable to play with a foot injury, will be a near impossible task for the Cougars. So giving the offense a few extra possessions might be crucial. Last season, WSU forced an average of two turnovers a game. It needs at least one more today.
STILLWATER, Okla. – It only happened once last season. And it came in the season’s third game. The “it” would be a Washington State University football victory, of which there have been just three the past two seasons.
PULLMAN – Last year at this time, Deone Bucannon was prepping to play his last football season for Vanden High in Fairfield, Calif. The opponent in the opener? Armijo High, another Fairfield school.
PULLMAN – It was perfect preparation for Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain – and the football fans pride themselves on their vocal ability. Washington State University’s last scrimmage prior to its Sept. 4 opener at Oklahoma State was played Thursday under the lights at Martin Stadium accompanied by steady 20 mph breeze and piped-in crowd noise.
Oklahoma State has scheduled a home-and-home basketball series with Gonzaga.