Washington State was plagued by inconsistency earlier this season. Did the Cougars' win over Oregon help to nix that problem? Maybe.
Washington State’s biggest problem through the first half of the season has been inconsistency and this was wildly evident in through the first four games the Cougars played, with their level of play often fluctuating depending on the level of the opponent they faced.
But the win against Oregon in double overtime might have cured WSU of its hot/cold malady. Or so the Cougars hope.
“I think we’re over that,” quarterback Luke Falk said Monday. “I think coach Leach did a nice job of addressing that and saying we need to respect everyone.”
So even though this week’s opponent is an Oregon State team that’s 0-2 in the Pac-12 and ranked dead last in the league in several statistical categories including scoring, pass efficiency, total offense and rushing defense, the Cougars say there’s no danger that they’ll overlook their opponent.
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“We’re not in the position to be taking anyone lightly given the type of season we’ve been having,” wide receiver Gabe Marks said. “Every week it comes down to the wire. I think we understand what it takes to win now, and we know everyone in the conference can beat anyone.”
Linebacker Peyton Pelluer went so far as to concede that the Beavers vs. WSU matchup “has the potential to be a trap game” but added, “Right now, it doesn’t matter who we play, we’re going to go into each game focusing on us and playing on our level.
“That’s something as players we have to focus on. Coaches can say so much, it comes down to us playing at the level we know we can. We have to go out and execute to the level we know back.”
The biggest difference in this team right now is the level of confidence it’s playing with.
“I think we’re doing some good things,” WSU coach Mike Leach said.
In the early days of this season, when WSU was struggling to find itself after the surprising opening day defeat to Portland State, Leach said he and his staff were very blunt with the players in addressing what needed to be fixed.
But unlike his players, the coach isn’t quite ready to proclaim that the Cougars’ inconsistency is a thing of the past.
“I don’t know,” Leach said when asked whether his team has stopped its maddening tendency of playing to the level of its opponent. “I think we’ve got to constantly check that. I’ll have a better idea of it when we practice this week.
“The only level you should play at is the best you can possibly play. If we do well in practice, then maybe we took a step (forward) for the time being.”
Now, for some links:
— CougCenter.com’s Jeff Nusser has this piece about how Dom Williams really came through in the clutch for WSU against Oregon. Williams is currently in California mourning the loss of his grandmother, Jennie Dodd, who died on Oct. 4 — the Sunday before the Oregon game. Dodd raised Williams and kept him out of trouble as a kid growing up in a rough part of Pomona, Calif.
— Jacob Thorpe of the Spokesman-Review says the Cougs need to find more consistency at home.
— Oregon State coach Gary Andersen says his team has to show they “really want to be in this fight.”
— Oregon State RB Storm Barrs-Woods is nearing the Beavers’ top-five career list in rushing yardage