WSU Week News and Notes

Where you can find all our WSU related coverage for the week, hopefully capped off by a win in Pullman.

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WSU's Run Game and Getting Ready for Pullman

The media met with Coach Mora for a brief press session at the end of this morning's practice. The team will be leaving for Pullman tomorrow, holding a walk through session after getting into town.

Getting into the details of how to approach Saturday's game against the Cougars, Mora noted how the Washington State offense has been successful at spreading the field, making things more difficult for opposing defenses - and their coaches.

One of the aspects in which they have not been as successful is running the ball. In fact, the overall numbers look really bad, averaging just 29.3 yards/game on the ground. Part of that low number is due to Mike Leach's offensive scheme, but still... Mora was respectful of their team and ability to run, noting that all the sacks allowed (16 in just the last 2 games) have significantly depressed the stats. He is right, to a point. The Wazzu quarterbacks have combined for -201 yards rushing on the season. But even factoring that stat in, the primary running backs have been slightly less productive than Jordon James and Damien Thigpen have been off the bench for us this fall. And their QB's, while showing promise, have not given the type of JetSki-like boost to the offense that has made the difference for the Bruins.

No question that even with Marques Wilson off of the Cougar team for at least this week, the passing game is going to be WSU's only hope. They still have some good receivers, so don't expect Leach to change his scheme or gameplan on Saturday. With the next couple of opponents being heavy on throwing the ball, Coach Mora did note his pleasure that Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price have improved their game in his eyes - getting better at attacking receivers and making plays on the ball in particular. Cornerback is a tough position to master - the most difficult on defense per Mora - which could explain why the two have held off younger guys like Randall Goforth during the earlier rough stretches of the season. And those two certainly had plenty to learn after the 'coaching' received earlier in their UCLA careers.

Video via UCLA's YouTube Channel.


Devin Lucien close to returning; Mora on Leach

Coach Mora was able to share some encouraging news during this morning's presser - Devin Lucien was back at practice, in a non-contact role. Devin has tweeted that he'll be back for the Southern Cal game; Mora loves his enthusiasm and positive mindset, but is trying not to get ahead of the doctors actually clearing him to play by next Saturday.

He also briefly revisited the fake Goforth twitter - specifically his reaction in yesterday's presser, in which he admits that he may have overreacted a bit - as far as saying that the person responsible should be locked up (transcribed quotes via the insideucla blog).

These guys, I feel like they’re my kids. When someone attacks your kids, you get angry. Obviously, I overreacted. Obviously, I don’t want the guy to go to jail. It made good headlines I guess, but I looked at it and I go, ‘You’re just an idiot.’ I’m good for something stupid said every once in a while.

Later on in the presser, Mora also noted how he had regrettably overreacted and gone over the line in reaction to player miscues in his past while coaching the Seahawks - the Olindo Mare incident being one. That was in response to being asked about the last few days surrounding Washington State's football program; a postgame presser in which Coach Leach threw his lines in front of the media, followed by one of the top Cougar players reportedly leaving the team.

... I have (talked like that before). This is me, this has nothing to do with Coach Leach. This guy, he’s won more games than I could even imagine right now. He’s done so many more things than I’ve done, so I would never be critical. I just know that I did it twice with Seattle. I regretted it. That wasn’t my style. I stepped out of character and I regretted and it hurt me and it hurt other people. But that was me. Totally different situation.

Coach Mora talked a bit about how the program is doing its best to make each road experience as consistent for the players as possible. The goal is to have the only noticeable difference between trips being the length of bus ride from airport to the team hotel. He also shared his experience traveling to Pullman as a player at the U of Washington - flying in a formation of commuter prop planes because they could not get the typical charter jet into the regional airport.

video from UCLA YouTube channel

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