“It’s very reminiscent of our team last year," Pelluer said of Colorado. "We had lots of close games and we just couldn’t finish them, so I definitely know where they’re coming from… They play every team hard… I’m expecting their best… They’re kind of a conglomerate of a bunch of other offenses we’ve seen, as far as they’ll pick what’s hurt us in the past and put it in that week. I’m not expecting to see anything too different or too wild. ”
“They’re good -- they’re not a team to be messing around with," said Marks. "They’ve been in literally every game… They’re really close to being a really good team. So you can’t take those guys lightly.”
“I just see a good team," said Taliulu. "All those scores I’ve seen, they’re always right there.”
The word "respect" has been mentioned a lot in the media since the Cougs beat UCLA. And it’s something Cougar players felt UCLA forgot about during pregame warm ups. Marks mentioned it first in the postgame presser Saturday night.
Pelluer and the team had since moved on to Colorado by Monday but with availaiblity during the week limited to three players WSU makes available on Mondays, Pelluer was naturally asked about UCLA. And Pelluer, a straight-shooter, dutifully answered.
The third-year sophomore said UCLA made a big mistake.
“UCLA basically just straight up disrespected us at the pregame warm ups," Pelluer said, "not really letting us really warm up on our respected side of the field -- and they paid for it.
“We’ll punch you in the mouth. We’ll outplay you, and I think we’ve continued to show that… We’re going to keep showing the world.”
Marks seemed to especially enjoy Pelluer’s “punch you in the mouth” comment.
“Yeah, I like that. That’s cool... He said that? That’s good,” said Marks.
Senior safety Taylor Taliulu weighed in.
“I feel like we’re kind of getting that respect level, but obviously our play does all the talking,” he said. “We’re going to go out for these last couple games, let our play do the talking and get that respect and hopefully build that over the next couple years -- so we can be one of those teams that you don’t want to come in here and play us.”
One of the biggest changes in the Cougs from last year to this year, said the trio, is the mindset.
“We know how to win games now,” Marks said. “Even when things aren’t going right we can find a way to win, so that’s really important to know that about a team.”
On Saturday against UCLA, the Cougar D bent but didn’t break -- they forced the Bruins into four field goal attempts in what would be a 31-27 Wazzu win. The Cougs forced two key turnovers and according to Pelluer, there’s more to DC/DBs coach Alex Grinch’s sermons than just, “Get me the ball.”
“Grinch always preaches; ‘Make them count in threes (rather than seven points) and you’ll win the game,’ and I think (UCLA) was a perfect example of that,” Pelluer said. “Grinch (also) always preaches, ‘They’re not in (the end zone), ‘til they’re in.”
For the defensive backs unit, Taliulu says Grinch’s message is tailored a little differently,
“He always stresses protecting the football team. The DBs, we have to stay on top, protect the football team and take it upon ourselves to do what we have to do to ensure our defense will be successful.”