Alex Brink: Cougar defense needs to keep being greedy

WHAT'S THE No. 1 key for the Washington State defense this season? Whether at home or on the road, CouGreat Alex Brink says the top priority remains the same.

“As a defensive unit, they must take the ball away," said Brink.  "That’s when they were playing the best (last year), when they were taking the ball away the most."

The Cougar D forced 24 turnovers in 2015 after generating only eight the year before.

Washington State returns only one of three down linemen in nose tackle Robert Barber (and one of four if you add in the Rush) but Brink says the front seven looks poised to take a step forward, not a step back.  Add in the returning safeties and corners, and Brink sees a unit under defensive coordinator Alex Grinch that should continue to improve in '16.

The secondary in one season under Grinch has gone from liability to strength, and Brink says along with safety Shalom Luani, corners Darrien Molton and Marcellus Pippins could be poised for standout seasons.

“These guys have a chance to be really impactful,” says Brink. “At surface level, a few picks and batted balls look like a good year, but you want these guys to be a steady part of the defense."

The defense playing as a unit can't be overstated, says Brink, and he points to the Cougs' middle linebacker.

“Just having leadership is the biggest thing, and right now, linebacker Peyton Pelluer (pictured above) is bringing that,” Brink said. “He has really brought everyone on the line together.”

Fall camp starts Aug. 6 in Lewiston.

“Anytime you go into the season, even as good as the spring was, it’s going to take a while to get into shape in the fall – but they’re looking good," said Brink.

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