Week 3 with the Cougs: A coach's take

DEONE BUCANNON WAS second on the team in tackles against Southern Utah but it's all the other things the senior safety was (and is) doing that left former WSU head coach and color analyst Jim Walden speechless. Well, maybe not speechless, we're talking about Walden after all…

"I just can't say enough about the play of Deone Bucannon," said Walden. "He is in my mind about the best come-down, inside safety man you could ever hope for. Now, he might get beat some if he falls in love with it too much, but I think he's one of the best 2-3 safeties in the country.

"I just love how he's playing right now, he's covering both sides of the field -- all over the field he's making plays. He's just playing so very well."

OFFENSIVELY, WALDEN SAID Saturday's 48-10 win over Southern Utah was the Air Raid personified.

"That was a classic game of saying okay, they're going to rush four, drop five and plays halves -- and we'll take what they give us," said Walden. "I think that's how Mike Leach would like things to go and that's what his offense does -- not forcing things, take what they give us.

"I thought it was very workmanlike. I thought it was very businesslike…it was one of those games where they didn't need a lot of emotion and they executed well."

Connor Halliday kept Southern Utah off balance by throwing to 10 different receivers on Saturday.

"That's what you've got with this offense -- someone under, someone outside and someone taking off. And I thought Halliday did a really nice job of finding the weaknesses and taking what was there," said Walden.

OVER ON DEFENSE, Walden said he was drawn to the pass rush.

"They're blitzing more than I thought they would, and by blitz I mean sending a fifth guy," said Walden. "They're not necessarily sending a sixth guy but they're doing it from different places – from the middle, off each end. And then other times you can drop the BUCK and with three down you bring two others. I thought it was a good plan against a QB that was accurate, but still young and new."

Early on, Southern Utah moved the ball and converted a few key third downs. But once the spark was lit on the Wazzu defense, Walden says, you could tell the fire was going to burn high.

"Southern Utah had a good theory, to try to make first downs and just peck, peck, peck," said Walden. "And I thought it was working until Halliday hit (Dominique) Williams) on that third-and-long for a touchdown and (Damante (Horton)) had that interception return. That's when the lid blew. From that point on WSU took control and they didn't allow (Southern Utah) to do what they had done early."

WALDEN DID HAVE one complaint -- when the Cougs went for it on fourth-and-two at midfield with the score 14-10 midway through the second quarter.

"We got away with it against Southern Utah -- but don't do that against Cal, don't do that against Oregon, don't do that against Stanford. We all want to gamble but doggone it, it's just my opinion but I think it will come back to haunt you more than it pays you off," said Walden.

But from the big picture standpoint, Walden said, the scales tipped overwhelmingly in the favor of the positives.

"They came out and really, truly executed well," said Walden. "And the game plan that Mike Leach put out there, and I don't know exactly what it was, I'm just going by what I saw here -- but I thought everything that they wanted to do, they did it."

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