NWACHUKWU: 'I think this one's on us'

PULLMAN -- They were ready for it, say the players. Indeed, WSU was well prepared for what was coming on the first play from Cal. They started their practice week on it. It was the first and last play they went over in the walk-through. But execute the defense against it, the Cougars did not. And Cal, with an 80-yard run for score right off the bat, set an early tone for how things would play out.

The first play of the game, Jahvid Best's 80-yard touchdown run, was a hot topic postgame. Chima Nwachukwu said the defense was as prepared as they could have been for it.

"The coaches got us ready for a lot of the stuff they were going to do...we just didn't get the running back down and I guess that's what happened...Coaches got us ready," said Nwachukwu. "They did a great job of getting us ready in terms of scouting them and telling us what they were going to do.

"I think this one's on us -- the players."

Defensive end Kevin Kooyman and linebacker Kendrick Dunn both spoke frankly in echoing Nwachukwu's sentiment.

"We needed to step it up, it just didn't happen...We practiced it (stopping the run) all week and were supposed to be prepared for it," said Kooyman.

Dunn summed things up succinctly on the Cougars' night on defense; "We just got outpowered," he said.

Both had praise on the play of Adam Hineline, who got his first college start in the wake of A'i Ahmu's half game suspension.

"I think he did a great job," said Kooyman. "He's a great player...I hope (to see more of him)."

Dunn said Hineline finished strong.

"He probably had a little jitterbugs or whatever but as the game went on, he produced more," said Dunn.

Co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball weighed in on the preparation and execution (or lack thereof) that led to Cal's big opening play.

"That was the first play we started the week out with, (and) that was the call we worked it against," said Ball. "It was the last play we walked through on Friday—and the first play...We didn't get the linebacker over."

Nwachukwu remained upbeat after the loss, and dismissed the notion that the Cougars' confidence was shaken in the loss. At the start of the season, Baylor looked like one of the more winnable games on the schedule but after the first two weeks, no opponent the Cougs face this week looks like anything even approaching as easy win.

"We're still looking for a W — we have a new coaching staff. We have faith in them and confidence in them, and they have confidence in us. We just need to put it all together. Hopefully we can practice better and (win at) Baylor," said Nwachukwu.

Dunn showed some emotion when he talked of returning to his home state of Texas for the Baylor game next week.

"I'm pretty excited. I get to see my little girl and family -- I'm going to try to put on a show for them," said Dunn.

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