Cougs break out the white helmets

PULLMAN— Wearing all-white helmets, the Cougars began in earnest their preparations on Sunday night for Oregon, (Sep. 20, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.) One day removed from their first win of the season, the Cougars welcomed back a starter to the fold. Meanwhile, I asked d-coordinator Mike Breske about his starting corners' play on the field, and about one's propensity to get under the opponent's skin.

Kristoff Williams returned to the practice field and participated in kickoff returns, but didn’t do much else for the remainder of the night. But is a step up from what he was doing throughout last week and in Saturday’s game, which he missed.

An absence from the other side of the ball was defensive end Destiny Vaeao, who was limited and replaced by Darryl Paulo on the first team.

All is well in the land of the cornerback, though, as the regulars practiced at that position on Sunday. Daquawn Brown and Charleston White played almost the entire game at the cornerback spots, and Breske had great things to say about both.

“I think Daquawn’s in great shape, and Charleston is in great shape. Daquawn had 10 tackles, five pass breakups -- had a very explosive, very productive game playing in the boundary, and Daquawn stays on the field. If Daquawn needs to come off, he’ll let us know, but he’s a guy we’ve got to have on the field.”

Some fans on the CF.C message boards have predicted a 15-yard penalty is in Brown's future for his propensity to talk trash up and down the field. On Brown’s demonstrative actions after some of his big plays, Breske said he is fine with it as long as the cornerback does it in the appropriate fashion. Obviously an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would be detrimental to the defense’s cause, just like penalties that Breske noted on third down were costly.

“We just say, ‘Go celebrate with your teammates.’ When something positive happens, celebrate with your teammates,” Breske said. “Don’t bring individual attention to yourself, and Daquawn’s a very fiery guy, and go celebrate with your teammates.”

Breske also said that White had a strong first half but then played tentatively in the third quarter when the wheels started to come off slightly for the defense before they returned to form.

Despite the undoubtedly quick offense the Cougars will face Saturday, the team is not altering its preparation. Defensive coordinator Mike Breske said he will not add any extra runs to the defense’s load during the week leading up to playing Oregon.

“This is our fourth game, we practice very fast, we’re in good condition right now, and I don’t worry about that at all,” Breske said.

Breske said he thought the Cougs played fast in the first half, during which WSU outscored Portland State 28-0. He said they looked sluggish to begin the third quarter, giving up 14 straight points to the Vikings. After that, though, Breske said the defense settled down and rebounded well in the fourth quarter. He stressed the importance of not letting up for any part of the game.

“I thought the third quarter, we were not good, and it was a little bit of everybody,” Breske said. “Again we’re focusing on that. The first half I thought we tackled well. The fourth quarter I thought we tackled well. We’ve just got to get four quarters of it. That’s defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. Everybody had their opportunity in that third quarter, and we had opportunities to get off the field on third down, and either a penalty or something crazy and we’re on the field. We’ve just got to mature and on third down get off the field.”

The Vikings were 8-for-18 on third down opportunities and although that is less than a 50 percent efficiency, Breske said there were times the defense could have capitalized and did not. The third quarter was perhaps the biggest blemish for the defense, one that they will need to correct against Oregon.

“We didn’t make tackles, we weren’t getting off the field, and we gave them some third-down conversions,” linebackers coach Ken Wilson said. “Whatever happened, we gave up touchdowns, so it doesn’t matter if it’s the start of the second half or the first half. We don’t want to give up touchdowns.”

Wilson said the Cougars are used to the speed they will face against Oregon in that they’ve faced up-tempo offenses in all three games they’ve played this season. The Vikings especially kept the Cougars on their toes as they threw 51 times and most of the passes were short and quick.

Wilson said Cougars will have the same approach this week, and Breske said the team is in great shape physically.

  • Kristoff Williams, Chester Sua, Theron West, Destiny Vaeao, Isaac Dotson, Mitchell Peterson, Nick Begg, Drew Springfield, and Mack Hopkins were all limited on Sunday night.

  • Luke Falk led the offense in a brief team period and completed passes to River Cracraft and Drew Loftus for significant gains.

    Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
    QB: Connor Halliday
    RB: Jamal Morrow
    X: Vince Mayle
    Y: River Cracraft
    H: Rickey Galvin
    Z: Isiah Myers
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Gunnar Eklund
    C: Riley Sorenson
    RG: Eduardo Middleton
    RT: Cole Madison

    E: Darryl Paulo
    NT: Kalafitoni Pole
    T: Xavier Cooper
    BUCK: Kache Palacio
    WILL: Tana Pritchard
    SAM: Cyrus Coen
    MIKE: Darryl Monroe
    CB: Daquawn Brown
    CB: Charleston White
    FS: Taylor Taliulu
    SS: Darius Lemora

      Primarily taking reps with the 2’s
    QB: Luke Falk
    RB: Gerard Wicks, Marcus Mason
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: Robert Lewis
    H: Calvin Green
    Z: Drew Loftus
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Jacob Tweten
    C: Sam Flor
    RG: Cody O’Connell
    RT: Jacob Seydel

    E: Lyman Faoliu
    NT: Robert Barber
    T: Daniel Ekuale
    BUCK: Ivan McLennan
    WILL: Jeremiah Allison
    SAM: Paris Taylor
    MIKE: Peyton Pelluer
    CB: Patrick Porter
    CB: Marcellus Pippins
    FS: Sulaiman Hameed
    SS: Beau Glover

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