True freshman corner's commitment to technique helped his leapfrog more experienced players

PULLMAN – Washington State defensive coordinator and secondary coach Alex Grinch has been preaching and teaching the virtues of technique with WSU’s defensive backs since the day he arrived on campus. And there’s perhaps no better testament to his belief in the power of technique than cornerback Darrien Molton.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound true freshman from Temecula, Calif., has started every game for the Cougars this season, in the process leapfrogging older players on the depth chart,.

Technique has been central to his rise.

That’s not to say Molton has been perfect, but his technique is sound and improving.

“Coming into camp he showed a great commitment to technique,” Grinch recently told when asked about Molton’s early elevation to prime time.

“You saw a guy competing. The stage wasn’t too big for him. He took on our ones in camp and he responded well when called upon.

“He was more physical than we anticipated,” Grinch added. “He’s a willing hitter and a good tackler, which is obviously a good combination.”

Molton hasn’t been a statistical dynamo (13 total tackles and one forced fumble), but he has been steady.

With true freshmen at any position, the ability to adapt to the speed of the college game is key. Molton said both the speed and overall talent were an eye opener for him at the beginning but he’s adjusted.

Grinch agrees.

“Some guys handle the transition from high school to college differently,” Grinch said. “He’s one that showed very well in camp, and he’s done so in games too.”

Senior strong safety Taylor Taliulu, who also has started every game this season, says Molton has fully bought into Grinch’s system and that has hastened the Chaparral High graduate’s development.

A key part of that buy in revolves around film analysis.

“You’re not watching the game like a fan, you’re studying, you’re putting yourself in a call to really understand what you’re looking at,” Grinch said. “That’s just another transition for young guys.”

Molton said when he’s not in class or on the field, he’s doing one of two things: homework or film study.

“So not too much free time,” he said.

Grinch’s guidance, he noted, has been invaluable on many front..

Be it “film studying, my technique or my confidence, he’s had a great impact on me so far,” Molton said. “He just wants us to compete every play, every practice and every game, and we’ll be successful.”


  • The Cougars travel to Eugene to take on Oregon this Saturday at 3 p.m. Pacific. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. The Ducks are favored by 17.
  • Molton isn’t the only new face playing for the Cougars this season. Twenty-one players -- including seven true freshmen -- have made their WSU debuts this season, and six players made their first career start.

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