MIKE RILEY AND MIKE LEACH would appear to be in complete agreement: Washington State’s offense is not going to change with new Cougar QB Luke Falk making his first collegiate start Saturday when the Beavers play host to the Cougs (Pac-12 Networks, 1 p.m.)
This doesn't look to be a case where the opposing head coaches are looking to employ any early-week misdirection.
“It’s a trap to assume anything else,” Mike Riley
said when asked if he thought WSU would come out passing the same as if fifth-year senior Connor Halliday
were playing. Halliday’s season and WSU career ended in the first quarter with a broken leg against USC.
Leach said post-game he called for more runs for the first couple series but after that, they ran their normal offense and that he planned to do the same against Oregon State.
Falk can probably expect to see some blitzes early on. It’s Football 101 that you send a lot of guys after a new quarterback until he shows he can burn the defense.
“We have to do a good job against them (in) pass rush, sound coverage, good tackling in the open field, all of those things are going to be key factors,” said Riley.
Oregon State got burned most by Cal in the 45-31 loss on the ground. Cal rushed for a season-high 269 hashes despite coming into the game averaging 133 rushing yards per game. All signs point to Oregon State not having to worry much about a repeat performance by WSU.
Some of the Cougs’ pass plays, as RBs coach Jim Mastro often notes, are basically runs. But officially, Cougar running backs average 15.4 rushes per game. WSU averages 84.8 total plays per game.
OL Gavin Andrews has an “outside chance of playing” this week against WSU, Riley said.
DE Lavonte Barnett should be back to full speed by middle of the week, hopefully, Riley said.
Riley said Barnett has a better chance of being ready to go that DE Jaswha James, with more tests pending today.
DT Jalen Grimble, out since the USC game with a knee injury, is doubtful for WSU.
The Beavers will host Arizona State at home in a 7:45 p.m. tilt at Reser Stadium on Nov. 15. The game will be televised by ESPN.
It will be OSU's sixth game out of 10 contests with a 7 p.m. or later start.
WSU kicked off their first seven games at 5 p.m. or later. WSU has played at 6 p.m. or later on five of nine games this season.
Mike Riley congratulated Sean Mannion during the game on breaking the Pac-12 record. “And he just said, ‘Let’s just win this game, Coach.’ And I appreciated that,” said Riley.
OSU has lost nine-of-10 Pac-12 games dating back to last season.