The Cougs will have to show more discipline on both sides of the ball if they hope to beat Boise State on Saturday

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For Washington State’s defense, discipline will be the key to slowing down Boise State’s high-scoring offense this Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.

Led by prolific sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien and junior college transfer receiver Cedrick Wilson, who had seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette last week, the Broncos (1-0) have all the tools necessary to light up the scoreboard against the Cougars (0-1).

Second year coordinator Alex Grinch’s defense struggled in the season opener against Eastern Washington, but will go into the Boise State game hoping to put on a better showing.

The Broncos scored 45 points and racked up 584 offensive yards last week against the Ragin’ Cajuns, and they run a multiple offense that uses a variety of personnel groupings and movement to outwit opposing defensive coordinators.

“They put you in a situation where you’re constantly reacting to them,” Grinch said. “It’s a difficult scheme to get a bead on and they hide their formations well.

“So when you have a quarterback who can direct the offense the way Rypien can – and he seems very comfortable in the offense – it makes for a real challenge.”

WSU’s challenge, then, is to be both disciplined and aggressive on defense.

“I think it’s all about focusing on what our job is once the ball is snapped and not falling for all the eye candy and the shifts in motion. That’s going to be the biggest thing for us this week,” said WSU linebacker Isaac Dotson.

After giving up 606 offensive yards and six touchdowns against EWU, Grinch also stressed the need for his players to tackle more soundly.

Last week’s game tape revealed that the Cougars allowed Eagles’ skill players to pick up large chunks of yardage after the catch and before they were taken down by WSU’s defenders. The Cougs can’t afford to make that mistake again this week.

“In (our) tackle attempts, it was not an aggressive attempt to bring the ball carrier to the ground, so they were able to throw very short passes that went for an embarrassing amount of yards,” Grinch said. “The explosive plays we gave up (vs. EWU) are plays we haven’t been giving up in practice.

“We have to make sure the ball is in front of us, that we’re rallying to it, and we can’t have any communication breakdowns.”

The defense will welcome the return of senior safety Shalom Luani, who sat out the last game because of what amounted to a disciplinary suspension.

Luani is the most experienced player in the Cougs’ young defensive secondary and his return is expected to provide a steadying force.

“That group, demeanor-wise on the backend, allowed themselves to get rattled,” Grinch said. “(With Luani) you get a guy who has been in the fire, can take control and help with communication, and have someone back there whom everybody trusts, to make sure we’re on the same page. Without question we’re happy to have Shalom back on the field.”

On the other side of the ball, WSU coach Mike Leach wants his offensive players to play with more focus and with less hesitation.

The offense rang up 515 total yards and scored six touchdowns last week, and Leach said he thought they did “more good things than bad” but they also hurt themselves with seven poorly timed penalties over the course of the game.

“Focus on individual play,” Leach said. “And have the discipline to do it over and over again. That’s the single biggest thing.

“We’re a team that can do some explosive things, but we’re also a team that needs to be consistent and embrace the value of individual play, one thing at a time.”