PULLMAN— Defensive coordinator Mike Breske expects to see a mobile Taylor Kelly on Saturday when the Cougars face the Arizona State Sun Devils. Hobbled by a foot injury at the beginning of the season, Kelly has made his way back to full health and Breske said despite ASU’s loss this weekend, Kelly will bring his A game in the early morning start (Pac-12 Networks, 10 a.m. PST) against the Cougs.
“It looks like he’s been running more since he’s come back. I think he’s ran more and whether he’s calling it or whatever, it seems like the opportunities to run more have happened, especially the last three weeks,” Breske said.
Kelly ran 10 times for 15 yards against Oregon State, seven times for 18 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame, and 14 times for 55 yards against Utah. This season, Kelly has 65 attempts for 263 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
The Cougars have been inconsistent against their defense of mobile quarterbacks, Breske said, but that will need to change Saturday against the Sun Devils.
“I think we’ve been up and down, as you’ve seen, but this kid Kelly is a special guy and I watched the game... twice, I watched it last night and I watched it today, and it seemed like a different quarterback (in the) first half compared to the second half. I’m sure we’re going to see the four-quarter guy come this Saturday,” Breske said.
The Sun Devils scored only a field goal in the second half against the Beavers after tallying 24 points in the first half.
The Cougars will be without cornerback Daquawn Brown
(pictured above) for the first half of this game because of the targeting penalty and ejection he earned against the Beavers before the bye week. Breske said it won’t affect the Cougars defensively in what they do.
Maturity and drawing personal fouls have been problems for Brown this season.
“I think he’s got to be smart. I think he’s had nine 15-yard penalties in various shapes and forms, and that’s just a little immature. We’ve talked about it. He’s got to celebrate with his teammates,” Breske said.
Freshman cornerback Kevin Griffin
returned to action on Sunday after being limited on Saturday. He was not available in the game against Oregon State and Marcellus Pippins
saw his first action of the season. Pat Porter was not on the trip, so he wasn’t an option, either, Breske said.
Griffin and Porter practiced with the 2’s on defense on Sunday, while Brown and Charleston White
played with the 1’s at corner.
The defensive backs will have their hands full trying to stop wide receiver Jaelen Strong, who Breske said moves all over the field and who is a perennial target for the Sun Devils. The receiver has strong hands and chases the ball while being very physical, Breske said. Strong leads the team in receptions (71), receiving yards (982), and touchdown catches (9).
Despite the youth of the Cougar cornerbacks, Breske said they have held up well this season. There remain, however, still plenty of things to tune up.
“I think we’ve improved. We’ve got work to do. They understand that. It’s very difficult to transform from the high school situation to the college situation, and go against the quality of people that you’re seeing. We knew that was going to happen, and I think they’ve done well, but there’s certainly work to do,” Breske said.
Cole Madison, Toni Pole, Isaac Dotson, Sulaiman Hameed, Nate DeRider, Brett Bartolone, Mack Hopkins and Nick Begg were limited on Sunday.
Rickey Galvin and Gerard Wicks were not seen at practice on Sunday.
Keith Harrington was active on Sunday after being limited on Saturday.
Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
QB: Luke Falk
RB: Jamal Morrow
X: Vince Mayle
Y: River Cracraft
H: Robert Lewis
Z: Isiah Myers
LT: Joe Dahl
LG: Gunnar Eklund
C: Riley Sorenson
RG: Eduardo Middleton
RT: Jacob Seydel
E: Destiny Vaeao
NT: Darryl Paulo
T: Xavier Cooper
BUCK: Kache Palacio
WILL: Jeremiah Allison
SAM: Cyrus Coen
MIKE: Darryl Monroe, Peyton Pelluer
CB: Daquawn Brown
CB: Charleston White
FS: Darius Lemora
SS: Taylor Taliulu
Primarily taking reps with the 2’s
QB: Peyton Bender
RB: Marcus Mason, Theron West
X: Dom Williams
Y: Tyler Baker
H: Calvin Green
Z: Drew Loftus
LT: Joe Dahl
LG: Devonte McClain
C: Sam Flor
RG: Cody O’Connell
RT: Jacob Seydel
E: Ivan McLennan
NT: Daniel Ekuale
T: Robert Barber
BUCK: Frankie Luvu
WILL: Tana Pritchard
SAM: Paris Taylor, Mitchell Peterson
MIKE: Peyton Pelluer
CB: Pat Porter
CB: Kevin Griffin
FS: Beau Glover
SS: David Bucannon
See what Coug fans are saying here
Related Story: FALK'S LEGS RUN THE AIR RAID