Breske: Cougs must "be focused on their keys"

PULLMAN — After 10 days without a game, the Cougars were back at practice Sunday for a short session under the lights at Martin Stadium. The players focused on special teams fundamentals and individual drills with position coaches before holding a quick team session. Also, defensive coordinator Mike Breske talked with CF.C about Arizona's offense and the return of freshman Darius Lemora.

The team came out Sunday evening suited up in helmets, shorts and jerseys. The offense lined up against the scouts this time around and did not run any plays against the No. 1 defense.

In the fairly laid-back session, junior Connor Halliday threw the ball 15 times against the scouts and only missed one of the targets, a deep ball thrown down field to sophomore Dom Williams. Redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca completed all seven of his passes.

In the east end zone, the defense ran a shorter session against the scout team offense – about the equivalent of a walk-through. Breske and other defensive coaches spent the time introducing what they plan to do against the Wildcats.

Mike Breske INTERVIEW:

I'm sure you will be up late looking at film of one of the top running backs in the country, Ka'Deem Carey?

MB: He runs very balanced; he has good strength and finishes his runs. Very seldom do you see one guy bring him down or trip him up. He's got all the tools. He is a good blocker in pass pro and catches the ball too. He is the complete running back.

Arizona's offense is clicking right now. How has it grown over the season?

MB: I think they've grown together (through) experience and reps, if that makes any sense. Right now, we are going into game 10, but you can see the development of the quarterback from Northern Arizona, which was I believe was their first game all the way until now. As he developed, they became better.

What sets Arizona apart from the other high-tempo offenses you've faced this season?

MB: I don't think they are high-tempo per se. It's not like they are running to the ball. They're speedy, but they will get the line of scrimmage, look to the sideline or just get going. (They are) not a lot different than Arizona State or teams that we have seen already.

What does Arizona do that makes it so hard to stop?

MB: It's not so much that. They run the zone read, they run power football off of it, they run the slice concept, the misdirection … which he has done. You have got to have an athletic quarterback, which they do, and they had one at West Virginia, too, and it starts there. They have a talented running back and they are going to distribute the ball in the perimeter for the triple option.

Do you think the offense has changed since Rich Rodriguez was at West Virginia?

MB: I just think it is what he's got. I think you can plug a lot of different guys into that style of offense. The guy can run physical. I don't care what size he is. He could be 5-9 or 6-2. I think they look for not necessarily a height and weight type guy, but a style of runner.

Darius Lemora is back out there. What do you like from him now that he is back?

MB: He's just getting back into the groove and learning his defense. He has been away for a while with the surgery on his toe. He's just excited to get back out and he's running around. Now, we need to get him under control in terms of learning our defense, which is going to happen more this spring when we get to spring ball.

What does a guy like Lemora bring to the table?

MB: His excitement about the game. The way he plays the game … he plays it very physical. If you watch Thursday night football … he's going to whack you and he plays very physical.

We haven't seen Isaac Dotson for a few days. Is he still in good standing on the team?

MB: You bet.

Is there a particular reason for his absence?

MB: I don't know.

How much more prepared are you to face an offense like Arizona's after facing Oregon and Arizona State?

MB: We have a base package in that we ran for Auburn. It's about execution on our part. It's not about Arizona State. It's not about Arizona or Oregon. It's about us and we've got to execute our run fits. We've got to be where we need to be in the passing game and worry about us. That's our emphasis and we want to play fast and then do your job. I hate to simplify it, but that's really what it comes down to. Understand your role, don't do too much, and just do what we ask you to do.

After the game two weeks ago, Deone Bucannon was kind of taking responsibility for the loss and was saying he needed to play better. Do you like that approach?

MB: No, it wasn't Deone who lost the game. We win and we lose together. That's his reaction. I think the preparation is still key for not only Deone, but anybody on defense. Play fast … do your job and it starts tonight and just build on that and get better each opportunity. We will have another opportunity on Tuesday. The guys are off tomorrow and then we will build on that.

It seems like you have been concerned with the players' eyes after going up against very fast and explosive teams.

MB: Yeah, they have got to be focused on their keys.

Is there any indication this week that they are better prepared for Arizona because of that?

MB: Well, I hope it will on Saturday. It will determine how we practice and watch the film. Hopefully we won't have those mistakes during practice.

What's it like going from 30- or 40-degree weather to the 90s on Saturday in Arizona?

MB: I don't know; I can't tell ya. I haven't done that. This is pretty nice right here, though.


QB- Connor Halliday
RB- Marcus Mason
X Receiver- Dom Williams
H Receiver- Rickey Galvin
Y Receiver- River Cracraft
Z Receiver- Gabe Marks
LT- Gunnar Eklund
LG- Joe Dahl
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Matt Goetz
RT- John Fullington

DE- Toni Pole
NT- Ioane Gauta
DE- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Destiny Vaeao
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Daquawn Brown
CB – Damante Horton
S – Deone Bucannon
S – Taylor Taliulu

DL Moritz Christ
LB Chester Su'a
S David Bucannon

NOT IN ATTENDANCE: S Bennett Bontemps
CB Alex Jackson
LS Ryan Saparto
S Isaac Dotson

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