Posted: 9:00 a.m. Monday, Aug. 26, 2013
By Chris Fuhrmeister
The Tigers and Cougars open the season Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
We're officially switching from offseason to regular-season mode, because Auburn has a football game THIS WEEK. That's right, Auburn and Washington State meet Saturday night. With that in mind, we thought we'd catch you up on the goings on with the Cougars.
Washington State coaches don't have a ton of game film on Auburn's quarterback, so their having to prepare for Nick Marshall based on the accolades that have been heaped upon the JUCO transfer. As expected, Cougars defensive coordinator Mike Breske is preparing for the run first:
"We're preparing for the run game first, and get them to throw the ball, obviously," Breske said. "But we've got to be solid in the run game if we can't get them in throwing down situations. They've got very talented running backs, a big offensive line, big tight ends and that type of deal. We're working hard on our run fits."
It's not official, but one writer covering the Cougars projects the depth chart we should see Saturday night. Go ahead and do all your research on the jerks who have the gall to attempt to defeat our Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Last year, Washington State's offensive line -- well, it pretty much sucked. The Cougars gave up a whopping 57 sacks, which happened to be the most in all of FBS. In the run game, the Cougs' offensive linemen weren't any better, as WSU averaged just 29.1 rushing yards per game, also worst in the country. They say they're better and that they expect a better performance in 2013.
"We're popping big runs, and (the running back) will score a touchdown on an inside run, which shouldn't happen," senior center Elliott Bosch said. "So now when we only get 3 yards or 4 yards or 5 yards, it's like, ‘OK guys, what did we do? How can we get better?' We're not surprised by those big runs anymore."
The Cougars' front seven was much better than its offensive line counterpart last season. Wazzu wasn't great against the run, allowing 163.3 yards per game (tied for 63rd nationally), but Mike Leach's team recorded 35 sacks, which tied for 16th in the country. WSU returns all three starters, and they want to provide better production. They're using a good attitude and good body language to get the results they want.
"When that offense gets a 60-yard bomb down the field, how are you going to respond?" linebacker Darryl Monroe asked rhetorically. "Are you going to walk with your head down or your chest up? That's what our coaches are trying to get across."