Luke Falk says he will take it upon himself to try and energize the Cougars' offense as they prep to face Oregon in their Pac-12 opener this Saturday

Share story

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk used the bye week to study up on the Oregon team the Cougars will play this Saturday, and also evaluate his team’s performance through the first three weeks of the season.

His consensus?

The Cougars need to be more consistent overall and he needs to take a different leadership role on offense.

“This year I’ve got to be more of an energy guy to get the energy going,” Falk said. “Last year, Gunnar Eklund was a real energy booster. I’ve got to step up in that role too.”

Falk isn’t the “rah rah” type who will fire up the team with big speeches and fighting words.

In his words, “I’m kind of a calm, even-keeled guy, it’s definitely not within my personality, but I definitely can do it,” Falk said. “There’s certain times it comes out of me. I’ve just got to talk that role earlier.”

The Cougars’ general consensus as they come out of their bye week is that they have to start games faster and play with better energy.

“We’ve just gotta stop coming out flat,” cornerback Marcellus Pippins said. “We’ve been coming out flat the last couple of games. We’ve gotta start fast and have a rhythm coming out.”

WSU football coach Mike Leach said the team has had good practices over the last couple of weeks but added that the coaching staff will let up on the intensity.

Will Royce Freeman play?

Oregon running back Royce Freeman had a monster night against WSU last year in Eugene, rushing 27 times for 246 yards and three touchdowns.

However, Freeman’s status for this year’s WSU-Oregon matchup is unknown. The Ducks do not talk about injuries, but Freeman suffered a leg injury two weeks ago against Nebraska and did not play in Oregon’s defeat to Colorado last weekend.

The Cougars say his injury status is of no concern to them because Oregon has other weapons they have to defend.

“The other backs are good too,” Leach said. “It really doesn’t change anything.”

Added Pippins, “We’ve gotta worry about everyone on the field, not just one player.”

Jamal Morrow will be available for the full game

Junior running back Jamal Morrow was ejected in the second half of the Cougars’ last game against Idaho after officials ruled that he appeared to punch an Idaho defender at the end of a special teams play.

WSU athletic communications staff initially confirmed with media that this meant Morrow would have to miss the first half of the WSU-Oregon game.

However, upon review, WSU’s coaching staff says that because Morrow was tossed for unsportsmanlike conduct, not targeting, he was ejected for the remainder of the Idaho game, but the penalty for that infraction does not carry over to the next game.

Thus, Morrow, who has served as WSU’s game captain in the first three games, will be available to play the entirety of the Oregon game.