“We spent a lot of time going over the things that we did wrong and need to correct,” Yost said. “I did that in the meeting with my receivers and I know they did that in the offensive line meeting because I could hear the yelling through the wall.”
That’s not exactly what you’d expect following a victory over an Oregon team that played for the national championship in January. The 45-38 double overtime win snapped an eight-game WSU losing streak to the Ducks.
But the reason for the correctives was simple, Yost said.
“Right now there are a lot of people out there telling these kids how good they are,” he said. “They’ve worked hard to get where they are -- and now they have to work even harder to stay there.”
That proactive attitude doesn’t diminish the pride coaching staff took from Saturday’s win, he explained.
“The kids really played hard and the kids found a way,” Yost said to open his presentation. “Was it a perfect game? Far from it, but the kids made some plays when they needed to make some plays.”
Yost spread the credit around, explaining that every unit made a big contribution to the win. But before he could document his statement with a package of highlight plays, Yost addressed the question on most people’s lips:
Was Cracraft in the end zone prior to the ball ending up in Robert Lewis’ hands for a touchdown in the first overtime?
“People are going to look at that play and say that it looked like he caught it and it looked like he was in, but by rule he did not complete the catch because he did not make a football move after,” Yost said. “It wasn’t about whether or not he broke the plane. He didn’t finish the catch.”
(Upon countless replay viewings since Saturday I’m told the brain trust at CF.C [admittedly a term used loosely] disagrees with Mr. Yost and firmly believes there was a football move made. But it’s probably moot at this point: the Cougs got into the end zone. Enough said).
Yost was asked about what it was like to coach receivers after his years at Missouri where he’d been quarterbacks coach (sending three to the NFL in Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert).
“You can talk to quarterbacks about anything,” he explained. “You can talk with them about reads and coverages – anything. My meetings with my receivers? They’re just like this: me doing all the talking. I can try to talk to them about coverages and assignments and their eyes glaze over. So I simplify it for them. He does this, you do that. ‘Okay coach.’”
Yost spent much of his time in Spokane showing off the Cougars’ offensive performance, starting with a successful screen pass to Keith Harrington that gained big yardage thanks to a clutch block by Dom Williams downfield.
“We don’t like to tell our outside receivers when we’re going to do this,” he quipped. “We want them to run their routes full-speed. But Dom does a great job making the block and making this a big play.”
Yost was equally effusive about Williams’ touchdown catch with one second left in regulation that forced overtime, and Gabe Marks’ two TD catches.
“Here’s the thing about Gabe Marks,” Yost said. “He’s not going to beat you in a foot race. But he will beat you to the football. If you notice when we substitute for him, he stays out there staring at the sideline for as long as he can. That’s his way of saying that he doesn’t want to come out of the game.”
Yost had just as much praise for quarterback Luke Falk.
“Luke is not the most physically gifted quarterback in the country,” he said. “But from the neck up, he’s worked very hard and he’s made himself into a very special talent. He understands the game and he gets what we’re trying to do. When he got here, he had a notebook in his hand and he wrote down everything, then he went back and studied it all. He’s always on the computer. (The coaches) will be going over film and if we want to ask Luke what he thought, all we have to do is open the door and ask him.”
Yost said he has no delusions about Saturday’s game with Oregon State in Martin Stadium – even after the Beavers lost a 44-7 decision to Arizona State Saturday.
“I went to church (Sunday) and no less than three different people came up to me and told me just how bad Oregon State looked last week,” he said. “I told them ‘I don’t know – they looked pretty good on film to me.”
Yost pointed out that against Oregon, for the first time he could remember, a team did not blitz at all against the Cougars – something he expects will be very different when the Beavers come to town.
“Their new defensive coordinator (Kalani Sitake) was the defensive coordinator last year at Utah,” Yost said. “Last year, Utah blitzed nine times – that’s high for us. I don’t expect them to blitz that often this week, but I do expect to blitz us.
“Do I expect us to go out there and put 35 points up on them in the first half? No, I do not. This is the Pac-12. Every game is going to be a tough game.”