Also, a closer look at WSU's Nevada ties, and some Nevada injury updates
Upon review of game film from Saturday’s win over Oregon State, Washington State coach Mike Leach said his team needs to play with more consistency.
“I think we’ve been pretty resilient, but we haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked,” Leach said. “We did some good things, but I think we’re still battling consistency on every side of the ball.”
Offensively, Leach said he was pleased to finally get a big game from his outside receivers. Tavares Martin Jr., Isaiah Johnson-Mack and Dezmon Patmon combined for five receiving touchdowns, 25 receptions and 341 receiving yards.
“I figured it would happen eventually,” Leach said. “Now we’ve got to consistently keep it happening. I guess my thought is that it’s about time. With young guys, there’s always an ‘about time’ quality to it. It’ll eventually happen, but you see it in practice weeks before it happens.”
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As the 18th-ranked Cougars (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) go into game week preparations to face Nevada (0-3) on Saturday, Leach intimated that the outside receivers’ slow start to the season came in part because they, like the rest of the team, have been inconsistent, and in part because their chemistry with quarterback Luke Falk is still developing.
“I think the biggest thing is that they were inconsistent on their releases and inconsistent on their routes,” Leach said. “And the quarterback unjustifiably didn’t throw it to them because he didn’t trust them.”
Falk finally connected with his outside receivers against Oregon State, which bodes well for the remainder of the season. Leach says the chemistry between his quarterback and receivers continues to be a work in progress.
“I think it’s always a developing thing,” Leach said. “I think there’s an element of that. Under the best of circumstances, football’s hard.”
Nevada-WSU ties abound
The Cougars started Pac-12 play with their win over Oregon State last week, but will face one final non-conference foe this week before their Pac-12 slate truly begins. The players and coaches at WSU just happen to have lots of ties to Nevada, their next opponent.
Or as Leach put it this afternoon, “We’re pretty inbred with Nevada. … You can’t throw a dead cat without hitting somebody from Nevada here.”
Leach coached with Nevada offensive coordinator Matt Mumme’s father, Hal Mumme, for years, and they worked together to conceive the Air Raid offense that both the Cougars and Wolf Pack now run.
Running backs coach Jim Mastro spent 11 years at Nevada from 2000-10 during Chris Ault’s tenure as head coach. Mastro was one of Ault’s top lieutenants, and he was considered for Ault’s job when the father of the Wolf Pack’s signature pistol offense retired in 2012.
Inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson also worked under Ault at Nevada from 1989 through 2012, and was the associate head coach by the time Ault retired.
Outside receivers coach Derek Sage got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Nevada in 2003.
From the players’ side of things, Kaleb Fossum started his college football career as a walk on receiver at WSU before he transferred to Nevada this summer after the Wolf Pack offered him a scholarship. Fossum, a junior, started one game for Nevada this season, but has since been sidelined by a knee injury and is listed as day-to-day. He’s questionable for this weekend’s game against WSU, though there’s a slim chance he might make the trip to Pullman.
Cracraft works out for the Pats
Former WSU receiver River Cracraft is finally fully recovered from the ACL tear he suffered last fall.
Mike Reiss, who covers the New England Patriots for ESPN.com, reported that Cracraft was one of a handful of receivers who worked out for the Patriots in New England on Monday.
Former Cal receiver Kenny Lawler and former Colorado receiver Nelson Spruce also worked out for the Patriots Monday.
Nevada to start true frosh QB, will be without DT
True freshman quarterback Kaymen Cureton will make his first road start for Nevada this week against WSU. Cureton replaced junior Ty Gangi as the starting quarterback in the lead up to Nevada’s game against Idaho State last week.
Cureton went 19 of 33 for 205 passing yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
However, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that backup nose tackle Jarius McDade is out for the season after sustaining a knee injury in practice last week.
The Wolf Pack could also be without starting running back Jaxson Kincaide, who suffered a concussion in the loss to Idaho State, and has not yet been cleared to return to play.