WSU pace of play surprising by comparison

WITH WASHINGTON STATE's no-huddle offense, they're likely to be in the top half of college football when it comes to pace of play, right?

Not so much.

WSU ranked 97th out of 128 FBS teams last season in pace of play according to

Mike Leach has never been as concerned about going fast as he has been about pre-snap reads and execution since he arrived at Washington State.

The Air Raid features more checks and reads at the line than do many other offenses and therefore more seconds tick away before the ball is snapped. But it's also hard to believe WSU has reached their full operating capacity when it comes to pace of play.

And not allowing a defense proper time to substitute is a significant advantage, and would seem to be an even greater one for a team that lives by its precision passing.

In the Pac-12, only Oregon State and Stanford took more time between snaps last year in Pac-12 according to

And when you consider Baylor (No. 1 nationally in pace of play), West Virginia (7), TCU (17), Texas Tech (19), Texas A&M (27) and Oklahoma (52) -- all of whom feature offensive coaches from the Leach coaching tree -- run plays faster than WSU did last year, you have to wonder if the Cougs might also reap benefits in scoring and in the win column by amping things up.

Luke Falk (pictured above) is a film hound and a cerebral quarterback. If he wins the job, as many expect, it would follow he would make those reads and checks quicker than did Connor Halliday, who was a fairly deliberate quarterback pre-snap. The question for 2015 is, how much quicker.

In considering the Cougars' 2015 season prospects this spring, pundits have oft-mentioned how the offense isn't the issue but rather, it's the defense. That's not entirely accurate.

While fixing the D is certainly the priority, the offense isn't without issue. They haven't scored enough points for the amount of yards they rack up.

WSU was No. 7 nationally in total offense last season at 517.5 yards. But they ranked No. 45 in scoring offense.

The Cougs scored 382 points last year, 31.8 ppg. All but one of Leach's Tech teams scored more. The majority scored between 425-500 points over a 12- or 11-game regular season. The 2008 squad ripped off 535 points in 12 games.

There are several areas WSU will need to improve on offense in order to boost scoring in 2015, ones that involve personnel and experience. Leach would not doubt insist repetition and execution trumps everything else. But could faster pace of play be one not only attainable, but also one that doesn't lean so heavily on those two ingredients for '15?

The top two teams in the Pac-12 last year, Oregon and Arizona, were second and third nationally in pace of play last season. Six Pac-12 teams were in's top 25 in fastest time between snaps; Washington (20), ASU (22), UCLA (23) and Cal (25).

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