Talking 'backers and more with Chris Tormey

THE FIRST LOSS of the season may have slightly dimmed the optimism of some fans, but not Chris Tormey. Washington State's linebackers coach hates to lose as much as anybody but with the Pac-12 slate about to begin, he believes the Cougars are going to make a lot of noise in the weeks to come.

COUGFAN.COM
What's a positive you take from this game?


Chris Tormey
I just think from a positive standpoint, this team, I really believe we're going to be in every game. The way were looking at it, this is a team that hasn't been in a fourth quarter game, this year's group. And we'll learn from this game. The first part is keeping it competitive, and the second part is making the plays you need. This game could have gone either way, but we're going to win our share of games this year. And that's a good football team we played. They have a veteran, well coached offensive line, and that running back could play for any Pac-12 team. At least 50 percent of the plays and formations, they had never run those before, they weren't on the tape from the first two games. And that shows us where we need to go, to have that awareness and make our reads and line up correctly to those things you haven't seen. But this year's team, I'm definitely optimistic. We're young, so many of our best players are sophomores, but I really believe we're going to be in every game.

COUGFAN.COM
Fourth quarter on Saturday – was San Diego State doing something different or did the guys just kinda run out of gas?

CHRIS TORMEY
I think it was a combination of things. We had been on the field for a lot of plays, yes, but that's because we were not effective in getting off this field third down at times. They ran 44 plays in the first half, and that's a lot. That long run they had was a different formation they hadn't run before and we didn't line up correctly to it. I just think ultimately they made more plays than we did. We just have to learn to finish better is what it comes down to and I'm optimistic that we'll do just that.

COUGFAN.COM
It seemed like the Cougar D ws blitzing a lot and to decent result -- maybe not sacks, but there were hurries that resulted in incompletions to open receivers, especially in first half. What was the thinking on that going into the game and how did you modify that as the game wore on?

CHRIS TORMEY
I think you've always got to have a balance of pressures and coverages. A QB is of course less effective with someone in his face and we had a game plan to put pressure on at times, and to cover at times… As for the second part of your question, we were constantly adjusting. Constantly. The thing they did was give us a million different formations, looks and shifts, things they hadn't done yet through their first two games. We were adjusting throughout the game.

COUGFAN.COM
How did each of the LBs grade out on Saturday?


CHRIS TORMEY
I thought Sekope Kaufusi had maybe his best game of the season. He played very well, was very productive, made a lot of plays. I thought C.J. Mizell played better than he did the previous week against UNLV. And Alex Hoffman-Ellis is always solid. There's still plenty of room for improvement, though, we have to get better playing the run. When they run the ball 44 times against you, you're going to have some yards against you, but we can do better. I think this is going to be a really good learning experience and we'll be better in league play having played a team like this early in the year. And that was a very good team that we played.

COUGFAN.COM
How much did you rotate?


CHRIS TORMEY
No. We're playing our three best guys unless there's an injury. We're going to play the best players, and that's it. And those are the same three I mentioned – Sekope, C.J. and Alex.

COUGFAN.COM
What are some of the things you're going to be working on with your linebackers during the bye week?

CHRIS TORMEY
Well, one thing is we're going to work on the fundamentals. We're going to play faster, get our eyes in the right place and work on fundamentals. We also have to get better at pass coverage, and I think formation recognition and adjustments are going to be big this week. But we really have to be better in the fourth quarter and that's a mindset. That's something we're going to work on as a team this week.

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