WSU's offensive production doesn't really come via the deep routes. It's a short passing attack designed to find weak spots in the zones, exacerbated by spreading a defense out. Players have been practicing against that and the coaches have ample film on Washington State to help guide their defensive approach.
"You watch the tape and it shows that they do throw the ball out there quick and make you have to tackle those guys," Perry said. "And that's kind of part of their run (game) – they have very good athletes that can run after the catch."
So how important will reaction time be for the secondary and other Beaver defensemen to stop those shorter passes that are meant to result in big gains?
"Everything comes back to athleticism and a pass defense combination of being able to rush the passer, and you have to be able to have very, very good coverage." Perry said.
The latter half of Wednesday's practice session focused heavily on pass defense, something that OSU has struggled with at times. But on the whole, the starting defense – and particularly the secondary – was stout and corners and safeties had a good bead on the ball.
In the red zone, said Perry, the recent improvement by his troops has come through focus and repetition.
"Guys are focusing, knowing that the red zone is a big situational part of the game," Perry said. "You have to keep people from trying to score."
WITH BOTH TEAMS expected to air it out, that likely means a longer game with a lot of plays run. Whether that means more substitution than normal in the secondary is anyone's guess but sophomore corner Larry Scott, sophomore safety Micah Audiss and redshirt freshman safety Zack Robinson have all stepped up their games recently.
Perry indicated it's a more advanced corps of second team corners and safeties than he began the year with, though junior safety Ryan Murphy, senior Tyrequek Zimmerman, senior corner Rashaad Reynolds and junior corner Steven Nelson are your starters.
"They've been working very hard, your always trying to get ready to develop players so they can be ready to play, and that has been our approach since day one," Perry said of the youth. "The next player up has to be ready to go, they have to prepare like they are going to be the starter, because sooner or later they might be in there."
OSU's secondary has sharpened up some after a disastrous home opener against Eastern Washington and struggles against Utah and San Diego State. Angles of pursuit seem less rigid, open field tackling has improved and any holes left open by OSU defenders appear much less pronounced than they were earlier this season.
Perry chalks a lot of the improvement up to the confidence that comes with winning some nail biters early on.
"Winning creates a climate where good things happen. When you start to win people begin to gain confidence and feel good about themselves. Winning is the most important thing for us right now," said Perry.
Running with the 1's
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Terron Ward/Storm Woods
FB – Tyler Anderson
H-Back – Connor Hamlett
TE – Caleb Smith
LT- Michael Philipp
LG- Josh Andrews
C- Isaac Seumalo
RG- Grant Enger
RT- Sean Harlow
FL –Brandin Cooks
SE – Richard Mullaney
SB –Kevin Cummings
DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – John Braun / Siale Hautau
DT – Mana Rosa/Edwin Delva/Brandin Bennett
DE –Scott Crichton
WIL –D.J. Alexander
MIK – Rommel Mageo
SAM –Jabral Johnson
CB- Rashaad Reynolds
CB- Steven Nelson
CB-Sean Martin (Nickel)
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy