Cougars looking for consistency in Pac-12 opener

PULLMAN — It might have been easy to forget, considering the various frustrations that resulted from Washington State’s first three football games of the 2012 season.

But keep in mind that the Cougars did, in fact, win two of those games, and are, in fact, in relatively prime position to win another this afternoon when they take the field against 0-3 Colorado at 1 p.m. in Martin Stadium.

If WSU does what many believe it is supposed to — the Cougars are 20-point favorites pretty much everywhere — it will replicate last season’s 3-1 start.

This one just might not feel quite as invigorating if it ends in the same fashion as WSU’s wins over Eastern Washington and UNLV the past two weeks.

“Like I say, we’re explosive,” WSU coach Mike Leach said. “But we’re not consistent.”

That consistency is what the Cougars are chasing this week against Colorado, needing a complete, feel-good performance before venturing into the teeth of their Pac-12 schedule.

Against both EWU and UNLV, WSU had the ball in its opponent’s territory with a chance to take a three-score lead in the fourth quarter. And both games ended with the opponent possessing the ball, trailing by only one score with a chance to pull even.

That never happened, of course, but despite winning each of those games, the Cougars lamented missing those opportunities to win comfortably.

“I just think we need to put a full game together,” sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday said. “Offensively and defensively we need to put 60 minutes together. That’s tough for a young team to do and that’s something we’ve got to learn.”

Halliday is all but certain to start at quarterback again for the Cougars. He took the bulk of the snaps with the No. 1 offense during practice this week after throwing for 378 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions against UNLV.

Those numbers alone might have been enough to beat the Rebels by a wide margin if not for a few defensive gaffes. Or, like, seven defensive gaffes.

“We walk away from each game and there will be like seven plays, and if you eliminate seven plays, you knock off half or two thirds of their offense,” Leach said. “Which means that you’re doing pretty good other than seven plays. We have to have the ability to get those seven plays, and I think offensively there’s a certain amount of that too, but it’s more subtle.”

Defensive coordinator Mike Breske continues to tweak the starting lineup. He said Casey Locker will start at free safety alongside Deone Bucannon this week, and Justin Sagote has replaced Chester Su’a on the depth chart at weakside linebacker. The cornerbacks will continue to rotate.

“I think they need to dominate the position,” Leach said. “Sometimes those secondary kids, if they believe they were half as good as they are, they’d be really good. I think they need to be a little more confident out there and have a little more burning desire to seize the position.”

More in Sports

Everett’s Stephan Erosa, left, competes against Arlington Brantly StupeyThursday night at Arlington High School in Arlington on January 18, 2018. The Eagles won 37-25.(Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Arlington wrestler scrap to 37-25 win over Everett

Aggressive lineup moves pay off for the Eagles in a big Wesco 3A North win over the Seagulls.

Huskies fall to Utah 70-62 for 2nd straight Pac-12 loss

Washington shoots just 38.5 percent from the field in defeat.

Thursday’s prep scores, links to recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL Northwest 2A Anacortes 71, Lakewood 52 Northwest 1B Grace Academy… Continue reading

Additions of Murray, Sharp give Silvertips depth

After a ‘crazy busy’ week upon being traded to Everett, the new duo is finally settling in.

No. 13 Gonzaga falls to rival Saint Mary’s 74-71

Jock Landale scores 26 points as the Gaels take sole possession of first place in the WCC.

Lakewood’s Perry earns WIAA Athlete of the Week honors

Lakewood girls basketball star Jelly Perry earned Athlete of the Week honors… Continue reading

Kamiak senior’s 52-point outburst this season was historic

Carson Tuttle’s performance was one of the best in the history of current Wesco 4A and 3A schools.

Art Thiel: Carroll has no choice but to be ‘very aggressive’

With just two years left on his contract, the Seahawks coach has no choice but to go for it in 2018.

Dan Mack steps down as the head football coach at Kamiak

He served as the Knights’ head coach for 20 seasons

Most Read