Dotson taking lessons learned at S to WIL

QUARTERBACKING THE DEFENSE is the No. 1 requirement to being a good safety in Alex Grinch’s system, Isaac Dotson tells And the lessons he’s learned at safety, and at nickel, figure to suit Dotson well this spring as the fourth-year junior-to-be gets turns at the weakside linebacker spot when the Cougs hit the field next month. He also shared a good Mike Leach story.

Isaac Dotson (6-2, 215) is keeping his goals simple for WSU’s 15-practice spring ball that kicks off March 24.

“Just to be able to look myself in the mirror and say I got better every single day,” said Dotson.

Dotson lined up at both safety and nickel last season, and in the latter half at WIL in certain passing situations.  But he’s going to be in Ken Wilson's meeting room and primarily focused on the WIL this spring.

The nickel in Grinch’s system is a hybrid SAM-safety.  The free safety meanwhile also has to come down and play the run on the weakside -- so playing the run at WIL doesn’t figure to be something all that new to Dotson. His knowledge of the defense as a whole also figures to help.

“Playing safety, you have to know your assignments and you have to make sure people are in place. You have to communicate quickly and efficiently, you have to be loud and make sure your guys are all in the right spots. That’s something Coach Grinch harps on a lot, the communication,” said Dotson.

But Grinch also has a lighter side, one the fans don’t see as often, says Dotson.

“He’s got a lot of jokes,” said Grinch. “You don’t see that on the field… in practice he’s a pretty intense guy but in the meeting room he’s always cracking jokes with us and laid back. That helps a lot with the communication between him and us as players, makes it easier to approach him with any questions.

“He’s just an all-around really good guy to have as a coach. He’s the kind of coach you want as a player.”

Mike Leach, meanwhile, has long been known for having a big personality. We asked Dotson for his best Leach story. He ultimately settled on Leach’s impersonations of players, especially the wide receivers.

“There’s so many… whenever he tells us not to hesitate,” said Dotson. “He has this speech he kinda has in the rolodex he busts out every once in a while about not hesitating and he’ll imitate somebody on the field. The way he acts it out, he does these little moves in the meeting room. It has everybody in tears.”

-Dotson has fought through injuries during his time at WSU but post Midnight Maneuvers, “I feel really good this winter...We all looked good out there."

-Dotson said the Cougar D defense benefits considerably in going against WSU’s offense in the spring -- an offense he said he considers the best in the country hands down.

-Dotson said one of the most important things he’s learned his first three years at WSU involves intensity.  “You have to bring that intensity each and every day – not only in games but in meetings and practices, weight lifting sessions and running. Because everybody is good, everyone was all-conference and all-state in high school at this level. You have to put in the extra work to separate yourself,” Dotson said.

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