As always, offensive coordinator Tim Lappano took a few minutes today to talk to reporters about his offense and Oregon State’s defense (as well as a few other topics like recruiting, his memories of coaching at Husky Stadium as an opposing coach while at WSU and OSU).
Here’s a bit of what he had to say:
Thoughts on Oregon’s defense:
“When you watch these guys on film, they’re a total different team against Penn State than when you watch them against USC. It’s night and day. You can tell they’ve grown, gained some confidence, got better. They’ve gotten better every week I think. These guys have done a hell of a job getting the most out of their personnel because there probably weren’t a lot of five-star recruits on this defense, but when you watch them play SC, you wouldn’t know that because they push them around up front, they’re flying around. They’re more physical, played harder. From a schematic standpoint, they don’t do a whole lot, but what they do they do really well. They sit in just a few coverages, couple fronts and they play football.”
“I really like 54 (defensive tackle Stephen Paea). I think he’s a junior college kid out of Snow Junior College, he’s frickin dynamite inside. He is stout. He pushes the pocket inside and then they have two speed guys off the edge No. 58 &90 (Slade Norris and Victor Butler) that are extremely fast and get up the field on you. They cock them way outside really wide, so your quarterback has to be careful – if he pushes up, and we can’t handle 54, that’s a problem. They got you boxed in. That’s something we’ve got to be aware of and address, but I love their tackle and both their ends are good players. Overall their front four is really good.”
On the secondary:
“They bump you. Every snap outside, somewhere they’re going to bump you. Sometimes at both spots outside, but they play an aggressive press technique. They’re pretty good at it.”
Lappano said he’s not counting on having David Freeman healthy, which means the three healthy tailbacks for Washington this week will be Willie Griffin, Terrance Dailey and Brandon Johnson, who was banged up in the Arizona game, but is expected to be available.
Griffin started the last game, but went to the bench early after fumbling twice.
“It started in the spring,” Lappano said of the fumbles. “He wasn’t a fumbler in high school; I recruited him. He wasn’t a fumbler. But for some reason he started laying the ball on the ground a little in the spring. He did a little bit in two a days and went back to back in Arizona and that was critical. He just has to be aware of it and do everything he can to use the five points of pressure. He’s got to get the ball tucked into his pit and against his ribs and squeeze it. He’s very much aware of it.”
When did you guys know Casey Bulyca’s knee was becoming a problem?
“He’s been hobbled for a couple weeks. He’s been bothered, but he’s been working through it. He knows he hadn’t been really effective with it. It came to a point he’s not helping anybody. He’s not playing real good with it. He knew he wasn’t helping the team and it got so painful he had to have it looked at. We don’t know the extent of it. There’s some speculation it could be two weeks, it could be seven weeks. They won’t know until they get in there. If there’s some floating bone in there, it could be awhile. If there’s not, it won’t be that long.”
Lappano was asked if there was any update on Jake Locker and said that they’ll know more when he sees a hand specialist again tomorrow. Asked if there was any risk of long-term damage, Lappano said he wasn’t worried about that.
“No, he’s not going to miss spring ball, or anything like that. There’s no way. It’s not like that. But is he going to play before the season is over? Who knows. Highly unlikely I would guess. Tomorrow we’ll know more, but he’s going to miss spring ball. It’s not going to be that bad.”
Lappano coached against the Huskies while at WSU in the late 80s and early 90s, then again at Oregon State from 2000-2003. He was asked what he remembered about coming to Husky Stadium as an opposing coach:
“It was a nightmare. You have to remember I came in here a lot in the late 80s, early 90s when this was the peak of Huskies football, best it’s ever been, and it was a nightmare coming in here. A nightmare. Nobody has ever thought they were going to lose a game, but you knew you had to play an almost perfect game—no turnovers, win the battle of special teams to have a chance to win a game in here. The other thing I always remember about this place was, even if you came in here and upset Washington, you were going to get your ass knocked off. There was a physical group of guys in here for a long time and a lot of guys have said that. That was true, now. You knew you were going to come in here and it was going to be physical – it was going to be a beat down, physical get after it whether you wanted it or not. So you better gear up and get ready to go because these guys are going to hit you for 60 minutes. It was no fun.
One of the big topics the past couple of weeks has been recruiting, which is being hurt by the losses and the status of Tyrone Willingham .
“It’s hard,” Lappano said when asked about recruiting. “You’ve got to remember, recruiting is sales and the sale is very competitive. When you’re competition is a little bit wounded, the jabs start coming out. Everybody in this league is making all of our recruits on the West Coast aware of what the deal is. It’s a tough struggle right now, I’m not going to lie about that.”
“I think anybody that is serious about Washington right now is coming because they’re serious about the university – and that’s why you should come to begin with. You come because the university, the head coach and the guy recruiting you – not because of the weight room, or the best facility, but a lot of kids don’t do that. Kids that make their choices for the right reasons come for the education and the University of Washington. Great education, great city and all that, but you’ve got to remember there are guys out there slamming us, so… kids are affected by that. They hear all that kind of stuff.”