Luke Falk does the lonely work, Roth says

THE WAY YOU DO small things is the way you do all things, Pac-12 Networks college football analyst Yogi Roth believes. That’s good news for WSU football fans because Roth -- who called the Cougars' game Saturday at Oregon State -- tells he sees redshirt freshman quarterback Luke Falk doing all the little things right.

“What I really like about this kid is that you can tell he had done the lonely work, and to me, I define lonely work as doing the boring things longer than the next person, showcasing some grit. It’s the ability to prepare when he wasn’t starting, and that’s not easy,” said Roth, who is one of the Elite Eleven judges and a former QB graduate assistant under Pete Carroll at USC .

While Falk grew up in a Mike Leach-type system in high school, which no doubt has aided his transition at WSU, his diligence in the shadows behind Connor Halliday is clearly apparent, Roth said.

Roth said it can be hard to prepare for a game when the chances of starting, or even playing, are low. Yet Falk did that, Roth said. Leach told Roth that Falk is one of the hardest-working players on the team.

Roth said Falk's strong arm and nimble feet aren't what impresses him. He expected that. What turned his head was the little things: the poise, the spatial awareness, and the knowledge of where the pressure was coming from.

In a CF.C story last week, Roth said the biggest hurdle for young QBs is recognizing and handling specific situations that defenses throw at 'em.

“That to me is what is the hardest because you don’t get to practice against real speed in practice. As much as you want to simulate it, you can’t simulate a two-minute drill, a four-minute drill, a third down, time running down on the play clock. You just can’t,” Roth said.

“You can’t simulate that tempo, that anxiousness, that being out on the field on your own, that having to command 10 other guys. So really what impressed me was that.”

Falk demonstrated an ability to drop back with his eyes still focused down field, and he was able to avoid defensive linemen in the process, Roth said. He added that Falk’s 6-4 height allowed him to spot passing lanes by seeing above almost everyone else on the field.

“If you can find a quarterback who can do the little things right, they usually can handle the big things, and that’s what we saw,” Roth said.

Roth also noted that Falk learned from his first mistake of the game -- taking a sack on third down in the red zone on the Cougars' first drive of the game. From then on, Falk played cleanly in Roth’s opinion, and was efficient in the red zone. Washington State finished the day 4 of 5 in the red zone.

Roth said he would have to look at the tape before making a definitive choice, but right now he'd given the edge to Falk over Halliday if comparing the first seven quarters of each QB's college career.

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