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.