It might not show up in the box score from last week's game against Utah, when the Beaver defense surrendered 275 yards on the ground to the Utes, but the defensive coaches are becoming more and more optimistic about the team’s ability to stop the run.
There were times when the defense bowed up and made stops in short yardage situations late in the game. But then the defense gave up big plays against the Utes.
“There was some inconsistencies there and that’s the frustrating part,” defensive coordinator Kevin Clune said. “There are times that we are playing great ball, there are times that we are really stopping the run and we are handling the pass.
“There was a lot of good stuff, it needs to be more consistent and more discipline and when we get that phase of that locked in I think we will be special on defense,” he added.
This week the Beaver will try and stop one of the more explosive running games in the conference. Three of their running backs have had at least 42 carries and each of them average over five yards per carry, with Myles Gaskin averaging 6.1 yards on 98 carries.
“(Washington) does a great job opening up holes,” said Clune. “We have to be gap sound, we have to have our hands in the right place. They do a great job, we have to find a way to stop them.”
Oh yeah, Washington can throw the ball too:
An offense that averages 50 points per game, the most efficient passing attack in the Pac-12 and three receivers with over 300 yards and four touchdowns. It’s safe to say that former Oregon State quarterback, Jonathan Smith, has his offense running on all cylinders.
Safeties coach Derrick Odum seems to have cracked the code on how to stop the Huskie offense.
“Maybe if their bus gets a flat tire or something like that and they don't make it to the stadium,” Odum said jokingly.
Oregon State was able to slow down Davis Webb and Cal’s “bear-raid” attack in their 47-44 win, holding the then top-ranked passing attack to 113 yards. But Huskie quarterback Jake Browning is in the middle of the Heisman conversation with his 72 percent completion percentage and 23 touchdown passes.
“His quarterback efficiency through the roof so he’s doing great stuff,” said Clune. “We got to find a to get pressure on him, we got to find a way to disrupt routes and disrupt their throw game.”
Stopping the passing game will also be a challenge with a pair of big-play receivers that Washington has in John Ross and Dante Pettis, who have combined for 53 catches--15 of which have gone for touchdowns.
“Ross has incredible speed, Pettis is a competitor,” said Clune. “Those guys are good in every aspect.”
Devin Chappell the quarterback:
No this doesn’t mean the senior safety is playing quarterback now, the QB situation hasn’t gotten that bad...yet. But in the past two games Chappell has made two momentum-swinging plays--his second-half interception against Cal two weeks ago, then his hit that not only caused a fumble, but went viral on the Twitter-sphere.
As good as Chappell's play has been throughout the season, it’s what he is doing before the ball is even snapped.
“What he does is gets everyone lined up, that's what he does, he’s the quarterback of our defense,” said Odum. “He has a lot of responsibility in that regard. He does a great job when you see him make a play, but before the play he’s getting everyone lined up, everyone communicating properly and so that’s the biggest thing he does for our defense.”
Chappell is a football junkie, he maxes out his 20 hours per week that an athlete are allowed in the facility’s film room and puts in more time at home going over film. His attitude has been infectious throughout the secondary.
“He’s a true veteran, he’s a true leader, when it comes to playing the game of football,” said safety Kendall Hill. “He leads by example out there, he wants to win, he’s very competitive, he believes in himself, he’s a great guy. That’s a great teammate on and off the field, it’s someone you want to be around.”
Quote of the day:
“I can’t stand talking about injuries. It’s football and things like that happen. I think that anybody that brings it up and uses it an excuse should be smacked upside the head.” -- Clune on his thoughts with dealing with injuries.