Cougs sound ready to get after USC

PULLMAN – Daquawn Brown is a true freshman at Washington State, but he's played with the swagger of a 10-year NFL veteran ever since he arrived in the Palouse. On Monday, coach Mike Leach said Brown might make his first start Saturday at USC. That means the yappy, cocksure Brown could be locked up with sensational Trojans receiver Marqise Lee.

Brown wasn't one of the Cougars made available at Monday's weekly media session. However, linebackers Darryl Monroe and Justin Sagote broke out in wide grins when asked how Brown would respond if he's matched against Lee.

"How's he going to react? Ecstatic," Monroe said. "He's going to give you guys a show."

"He doesn't fear anybody," Sagote said. "He doesn't care who he lines up against, he'll go against anybody. That's what I like about him."

What Lee won't like, Monroe says, is Brown's pesky, energetic style of play.

"I expect some frustration on Lee's part because he's (Brown is) going to be in his face the whole game," Monroe said. "He's not going to stop, so I feel bad for that guy (Lee)."

"I would also feel bad for Marqise Lee," Sagote said. "He's (Brown is) a fun guy to watch."

Brown came off the bench and made four tackles in Washington State's season opener Saturday at Auburn. Starting cornerback Nolan Washington was injured in the second quarter and did not return, and Washington and replacement Anthony Carpenter missed practice Sunday. The Cougars, as usual, did not practice Monday, and Leach does not disclose injury information.

COUGAR QUARTERBACK Connor Halliday said there's little comparison between this year's Cougars and the team that lost 50-16 to the Trojans in 2010 in the last meeting between the schools.

"We actually have a decent amount of Pac-12 talent (now)," the brash quarterback said. "That (2010) team, half those kids wouldn't have started for a decent high school team."

Halliday also had an interesting response when informed that has added the Cougars to its list of projected bowl teams. After a strong showing in the 31-24 loss at Auburn, the Cougars are picked to play a Mountain West Conference team in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.

"Around here (in the past), there's been a lot of talk about post-season bowl games and what we're going to do at the end of the year, and frankly, none of it's gotten done," Halliday said. "It (ticks) me off that people talk about that and fall short. I'm just taking it one Saturday (at a time)."

THE TROJANS (1-0) are favored by 15 or 15 1-2 points at most sports books in Las Vegas and Auburn was favored by the same amount last week. The opening line for the game had USC by 21.

WSU players really don't give a hoot.

"We can go out there and beat anybody," Sagote said.

"This (USC) is definitely a team we feel like we can go in and get a win," Monroe said.

Of course, center Elliott Bosch said, "Everyone truly believed we were going to win that (Auburn) game. When you put that much effort into something, you take it really hard when you don't come up with the win. A lot of the team felt that way.

"Sometimes last year, you didn't get that sense from guys. That maybe after a loss, they kind of expected to lose and they were just kinda movin' on."

THE COUGARS' offensive balance at Auburn surprised plenty of people, but Leach and Halliday have said throughout the fall that WSU's offensive line and running backs have improved.

"In this offense, the quarterback calls all the runs," Halliday pointed out. "That's the best game I've ever had checking runs."

By "checking," Halliday was referring to instances where he switched out of a passing play to go with a run. He was particularly pleased with a fourth-and-5 call in the fourth quarter in which running back Teondray Caldwell ran for 13 yards.

"That's a thought that wouldn't have even entered my head last year," Halliday said. "From my growth standpoint (for calling plays), that was big. Coach (Clay) McGuire, the offensive line coach, he's been with Leach (most of) the last 13 years, playing and coaching. He said he's never seen a run called for over, like fourth-and-2. That was cool."

HALLIDAY SAID HE expects USC to be similar to Auburn in that defensive backs will try to jam WSU receivers at the line of scrimmage.

Monroe said he expects USC's offense will probably mirror that of Auburn in that the run will be emphasized by the Trojans.

"I expect them to TRY to run the ball," Monroe said. "I would expect them to TRY to do that from watching film, but we'll see how successful they will be this Saturday."

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