5 predictions from Matt Chazanow, the voice of the Cougars, at the quarter turn of the Washington State season

HE’S NOT JUST calling the games, he’s in and around the Washington State program, talking to the coaches and watching film with Jason Gesser. With the Cougars at the quarter turn of their season, we asked Matt Chazanow for five predictions on what he sees unfolding the rest of the way for Washington State. He began with a missive on Wazzu strength coach Jason Loscalzo.

1. The Cougs will be stronger in back half of season because of Loscalzo
Chazanow (pictured above with RG Cody O'Connell): It's later in the year, and when people forget about the offseason training, that the offseason training really begins to show. I think Jason Loscalzo, with the way he works with the guys in the weight room and the way he makes that weight room his place,  with how strongly the players buy in during the offseason, I think we're really going to see a Cougar team that gets stronger through the year. Charleston White's standing up of Oregon's Royce Freeman is a emblematic of a ton of great offseason work through Loscalzo.

2. Cougar Nation will see new guys making plays
Chazanow: You've seen it already in running back James Williams, but I still think we'll see it from more new guys making prominent plays. I really think we're going to see some additional weapons that you haven't really seen yet this year have some big plays and big games.  People forget that Parker Henry's emergence last year at nickel didn't really start until about midway through last season. You've seen guys like John Thompson and Isaiah Johnson-Mack step up, but keep an eye on guys like (LB) Derek Moore and (DL) Garrett McBroom on defense, and guys like (wide receivers) Dezmon Patmon and C.J. Dimry over on offense.

3. The secondary, now showing to be a team strength, will continue to do so
Chazanow: The Coug secondary was regarded as a team strength at the beginning of the season but Shalom Luani missed the opener and it took them a little while to start to get the ball rolling. I think we will continue to see them get better and better. Darrien Molton is really good, and of course Shalom Luani has been really good.  And there's depth there - Kirkland Parker, Charleston White, Treshon Broughton -- Marcellus Pippins has really come on.  And Jalen Thompson has been quiet so far, and he's getting more comfortable. When the tackles-for-loss are there, the secondary is doing good stuff.

4. This coaching staff will keep hitting on all cylinders
Chazanow: Shy of being hyperbolic and cheesy, I'm around them a lot and I'm not sure the fans are aware of how well the staff has gelled. They all get along great, and I think the trickle-down effect because of that is such a big deal.  Even the two new guys, Dave Nicholl and JaMarcus Shephard with the receivers, have all get along great.  And I think the guys have responded to Coach Leach's message about toughness -- guys like Jim Mastro has done a phenomenal job with the running backs implementing that. He's a fiery guy and the players have really responded to that.

5. Bill Moos has it exactly right regarding WSU fans on Saturdays
Chazanow: I'm from the East Coast, and I was in SEC country and ACC country. I haven't been to all those schools but I've been to the Clemson's, I've been to the South Carolina's.  And a sold-out Martin Stadium is a massive strength.  The game day atmosphere at Martin Stadium is good as any in the country, it's a huge deal. And Oct. 1, 2016, was the perfect example -- a beautiful, crisp, fall day. The RVs have been there since Thursday and they're right next to the stadium. Oregon comes into a packed, loud stadium and it was a difference maker for the players. If Martin is like that the rest of the way, it’s a huge home field advantage for the Cougs – and especially if it gets cold.  Frankly, CougFans should be proud of that.

STAY TUNED TO CF.C: We've got more great content coming up before kickoff, including Matt Moore's 5 keys to a WSU victory.

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