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More Notes On Cougars

Let’s keep building our files Cougars with an important note from Nuss at CougCenter. In my last post I had assumed that Brandon Gibson and Mike Lobbestael had piled up some of their stats against Portland State (Cougars’ only victory this season). That is not the case:

Gibson had 10 catches against Oregon, most of them when the game was still reasonably close (of course, right now, being down by only two or three TDs counts as "reasonably close" at the moment). Lobbestael, meanwhile, was 14-of-21 with no picks and a TD after the Cougs had crawled within 21-7. Only when the game truly got way, way out of hand and Lobbestael had to throw on every down did he start to pile up the incompletions and interceptions.

Both are the real deal, and this offense has the opportunity to do some things if the defense can ever piece together a reasonable effort against a BCS opponent. That hasn’t happened since the first game, which is looking more and more like an anomaly that was due to a poor effort from Oklahoma State.

Well the Cougars have had nightmarish outings (score wise) against BCS opponents since their first game of the season. But that doesn’t mean Neuheisel’s team has the luxury to look past them in this game week. Just like Westwood, up in Pullman, a new head football coach is chipping away at a culture change:

"We're playing an inexperienced, young quarterback and we have to keep him settled down," Wulff said. "We need to give him enough time to make sure he can think."

Quarterback is just one area where Wulff is trying to hold the line.

"The thing is, the program has hit hard times," Wulff said. "It's going to build, but the tough part is dealing with where we're at right now. It's not an X-and-O thing, it's not a coaching thing, it's not individual people. It's an overall culture that went sideways."

As he is preaching about the culture change, you can bet Wulff is going to drill into his team’s mindset this week how UCLA presents their best opportunity to pick up their first victory against a BCS team this season. I would expect that his defense will be fired up to face a UCLA team which is still finding its way on offense.

One of the key guys Craft and col will have to watch out for is LB Greg Trent. From the notes of Kevin Pearson:

LB GREG TRENT (5-11, 220, Sr.): Trent leads the Cougars' porous defense with 33 tackles, including a team-high four for a loss. He also has a sack and an interception from his starting linebacker spot.

Hopefully the OL will continue its gelling process from last two outings and build on the rushing performance of last weekend.

Also, this will be a key game for our special teams unit to get its act together particularly in the department of covering returns. They will need to keep their eyes on Chantz Staden:

KR CHANTZ STADEN (5-11, 200, Jr.): With teams scoring at will against the Cougars, Staden has gotten plenty of chances this season. He has returned 18 kickoffs this season for 451 yards, a respectable 25.1 average per return.

It would really help if Rotstein and Perez are putting a little extra something in their kicks to give our guys some time to get up field. I have raised this issue before. While Perez is a great punter, I think he gets off too many line drives not giving our guys enough time to get up the field. Meanwhile, Rotstein has only 1 TB through the first four games of this season. Hopefully we can get a little more out of those two. We are going to need our special teams to step up if we want to squeeze out few more wins rest of this season. Saturday would be a good time to get started.