Cougar Confidential: Kegel, Stallworth & others offer their takeaways from WSU's victory over the Ducks

Washington State opened up Pac-12 play with a solid win, beating Oregon for the second year in a row by a final of 51-33. Former Cougar players checked in with CF.C to offer insights on how the team performed Saturday night in Pullman.

Tim Stallworth WR (1986-1989)

Wide Recievers

"The Cougars played a great game going into conference play. Luke Falk (pictured above) was able to spread the ball around to all receivers. WSU’s young receivers made some good catches. (They opened) up the best running game the Cougars have had under coach Mike Leach. Good play calling and a balanced attack was awesome to see." 

"The fact that all of the receivers were targeted says alot about getting them involved. Gabe Marks and River Cracraft are usually Falk’s favorite targets but Tavares Martin, Kyle Sweet and Isaiah Johnson-Mack were able to contribute with some nice catches. John Thompson had a nice diving catch, also."

"Business as usual when you throw the football, but the passing game really opened up the running game."

Matt Kegel QB (2003 Holiday Bowl Champion)

Quarterback play

"Luke Falk continues to impress me with his pinpoint accuracy and the way he goes through his progressions to find his check down option. He’s top notch."

"How about that offensive line? Wow! That’s how you dominate the line of scrimmage and control a football game."

"Great game to be at live. Martin Stadium was electric. It brought back memories. The way WSU has gone above and beyond to make game day a family experience makes me proud to be a Coug."

Joshua Duin OL (2002-2006)

Offensive Line

"They brought the fight to Oregon. They physically looked better than Oregon’s defensive front. It was one team clearly angry and aggressive and another team very much on their heels. I couldn’t have been more impressed by their play from a physical standpoint."

"The entire offensive line was facing, probably for the first time all season, five to six man rushes most of the game. They passed (that test) really well."

"You could see that before the snap there’s a lot of communication going on. It looks like they’ve really gotten comfortable with each other. They’re using quick points and not always verbal communication. You can see that they know what the other person is doing. That’s where you get a guy like Riley (Sorenson) who’s got that leadership and has been there a long time playing with some of the younger guys and that makes them look comfortable together. (Sorenson) is doing more than most centers would. You’ve got someone out there who’s football intelligent and is able to lead that line and communicate beyond that line very well. It’s fun to watch."

"Traditionally pass blocking 70-plays a game, last night was a very balanced game with an aggressive, very smart run game. I think WSU’s line had a lot to do with that."

"The left side of the Cougar O-line was aggressively getting into the second level. And they’re coming out of that two point stance that’s not easy. Historically it’s been harder to run out of that two point stance but they’ve figured out how to fire out of that."

"(Cody) O'Connell is getting up the linebackers with strength. He’s a tall kid but when you get to that second level you’re usually pretty high and that battle usually goes to the linebacker. But he’s getting up there with some power."

"It was really impressive and fun to watch the way the Cougs blocked in the run game last night. Those guys have got to be tired this morning. They ran the ball 40 times. That’s probably the first time they’ve run the ball 40 times since (Mike) Leach has been there. But I think that’s what this (Air Raid) offense is supposed to look like. It was very balanced and WSU took what was given to them."

"In the first three games, no matter what the Cougs did on the ground we saw a four to five man box with a three man rush. Last night, they had to bring six because WSU was putting the pressure on them. They had to load the box. Oregon was bringing stuff the Cougs haven’t seen all season and it didn’t seem to be an issue for them."

"Last night showed that they (OL) have a much more offensive mindset than just drop back and protect the quarterback. And you have to give credit to the defensive line that they practice against every day. Those guys are making them good."

"Luke didn’t get hit even though Oregon was a more physically imposing defense in the front seven than WSU has faced so far. It looked like the Cougs were the men and they were the boys. It didn’t look like an Oregon team that we’re used to."

"They did a lot of new things. Lining up in weird formations and motioning to make Oregon adjust to it versus wide receivers just being where they were on the field. A lot less quick ball screens and more developing a couple of deep shots. WSU was not predictable last night like they’ve been in the past."

"WSU was very disciplined last night. You didn’t see punches thrown. You didn’t see any hot heads. You didn’t see guys jumping (off sides). The Cougs were very well coached and we haven’t seen that this season as of yet."

Rian Lindell K (1996-1999, NFL 2000-2013)

Special Teams

"I thought the energy was good and I’ve always thought that’s half the battle on special teams. You know a lot of guys will just go play defense or offense because that’s where the hay is made. It can be tough to get them up at all the levels. I just want to see them flying around and ramped up, which they were."

"It’s hard to get the players (on special teams) to give it it’s just due. They didn’t come to Washington State all fired up so they could be on the front line of kickoff returns. And that’s every team I’ve been on from high school and up to the NFL. When you finally get those guys, which we did in Buffalo, who give it the just due, they will be good. They wanted to be good and knew that’s why they were there."

"Erik (Powell's) kickoffs were good. It’s not easy to spray it around. It’d be nice just to forget all about it and have it go through the uprights every kickoff, but that’s not easy to do."

"I thought they played hard (on kick coverage) and looked pretty good, but just a couple of lapses and that’s all it takes. The thing is it’d be nice to get those touchbacks (instead) of giving the ball to the best athlete in the stadium. Keep it away from him."

"When (Kyle) Sweet was in there I thought, geez this punter is all ripped up back there with the wrist bands and the Ultimate Warrior things around the arms. I was looking for a rugby kick but they lined up and exited out of that because there was nowhere to run. He just hit a straight punt and it went okay."

RELATED: 3 takeaways from WSU win over Oregon


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