Ball tells faithful: Sprits good, time needed

CHRIS BALL, assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator of the Washington State football team, told subscribers today in a wide-ranging lunch-time chat room discussion that spirits are good, the future is bright and recruiting efforts continue apace. He talked of the woes of the run defense, redshirts who are shining bright and more.

He didn't answer all the questions about how the program has fallen so far -- a 1-6 record this season with a 47 1/2-point margin of loss in Pac-10 games -- but was steadfast in his belief that the direction is turning. He also said the coaching staff continues to recruit tirelessly.

Here are highlights from his chat room discussion with some of the crimson faithful. Because the number of questions tend to pile up before one can be answered, what appears below is a reconstruction that attempts to pair answers with the original question.

74Coug: Coach...tough to gauge from here in Virginia...but how is the spirit/mood on our team? My hat is off to all the Crimson warriors (coaches and players) as they help build our future. Damned proud to be a Cougar.

Coach Chris Ball : The spirit is really good. The kids are working hard and I am excited about our future with the young kids. They have done a good job of believing in Coach Wulff's philosophy.

Henrsmith: Coach Ball - Which redshirt freshmen do you expect to make a large impact in 2009?

Coach Ball : In 2009, LeAndre Daniels, Daniel Spitz, Cory Mackay, along with Bernard Wolfgram and Alex Hoffman who are JC transfers, will all make an impact next season.

Jwhougham: What intangibles besides the usual size speed etc are you looking for in a defensive recruit. Does it change by position?

Coach Ball : Right now we are looking for speed and toughness in all our recruits.

Cdlhot: Coach, good job spearheading Spokane and the Northwest, make sure Mr. Long joins us for a 2009 LOI party!

Coach Ball : The years we were successful we did it with a lot of quality Northwest players and we are getting back to that.

Exact question lost, but it had something to do with causes of so many injuries.

Coach Ball : Yes, strength and conditioning has a lot to do with injuries.

bluehairatwta: Coach, how is Andrei Lintz doing in the weight room? I know he can't practice yet (due to injury).

Coach Ball : Andrei is doing great.

Jwhougham: Its obvious we are having trouble up front. Are there certain positions you are really going after more than others.

Coach Ball: Defensive line is an area we need to have more depth.

COUGFANcom: couggrad76 asks: Coach Ball, As you watch films of our games this year what seems to be the one major reason why teams are able to run against us?

Coach Ball : Being able to stay in gaps and speed have been the main reasons teams have run against us.

Jwhougham: Is it a matter of being out of position up front or is it a matter of being moved out of position by our Opponents?

Coach Ball : We are getting moved out of position by our opponents. We are not playing with great pad level.

IBC2991: Coach, is the team recruiting with the mindset that we will be a 4-3 team in the future? Recruiting more speed at DE and more depth at DT?

Coach Ball : RE: recruiting mindset: Yes.

Cdlhot: It was great to see the INT's and defense have success in the second quarter this weekend. Tell the guys keep it up.

Coach Ball : Thank you. We are doing our best, working hard. The staff really appreciates your support.

theRabidCat: coach ball, I was wondering if having co-dcoordinators is the best idea, in your opinion?

Coach Ball : Re: Co-coordinators. Yes, it is a good idea. Jody (Sears) and I have a great working relationship and allows you to keep coaches and hire good ones.

Cougsatoshi: has it been a tough adjustment for some of the coaches(who came from EWU) to adjust to "Pac -10 level" football??

Coach Ball : No, it is always a tough adjustment anytime you take a new job. Everyone is dedicated, hard working, and it will turn around for us.

TulsaCoug: This weekend I pulled out a picture from the 2001 Sun Bowl. I was on the field before the game and had my picture taken with Jason David, Marcus Trufant, Karl Paymah, Eric Coleman, Lamont Thompson and Billy Newman. I hope with your recruiting and day to day coaching that can happen again.

Coach Ball : Thanks again for your encouragement and support. We will definitely keep recruiting hard. This staff is very hard-working and we will turn this around.

theRabidCat: Coach, this season kind of feels like Star Wars episode IV. No question, just thought that from our Martin seats it looks like not only has the Empire Striked back, but the Jedis are all on the DL!! Have you ever seen so many injuries?!?

CoachChrisBall RE: Injuries. No I have never seen this many injuries.

COUGFANcom: ArtieHolmesrules asks: Last years Cougar defense was bad. This year, the defense is playing monumentally worse. With many starters returning this year, what happened and what do you plan to do to make our defense respectable the rest of the season?

Coach Ball : Field position and turnovers have hurt our defense. We will continue to coach them hard and put them in the best possible position to succeed.

COUGFANcom: ripling12 asks: What prompted Chima's move to safety, and do you expect him to either move back to corner in the future or work his way up the depth chart as a safety?

Coach Ball : Lack of depth at safety prompted the move. Also, his speed is better suited for the safety position.

IBC2991: Coach, when the Bennett's took over the basketball program they talked about recruiting kids they "could lose with" (kids with excellent character and work-ethics, who wouldn't quit) for a year or two and then win with them. What are your thoughts on that kind of approach for football?

Coach Ball : We want to recruit competitive kids, kids that want to win, obviously. Being a competitior they will do whatever it takes to win.

Cougsatoshi: I have a "never hurts to ask question". Do we have any chance of pulling off the "mother of all upsets" by beating USC on Saturday?

Coach Ball : That is why we play the game. You always have a chance to win.

jwhougham: Coach what improvements are you seeing everyday that don't show up to us on the field but will show up on the field in the coming years.

Coach Ball : Understanding the defense, more time in the weight room, understanding the coaches expectations on how to practice and the tempo of practice, and the fact the kids are working hard to get better.

COUGFANcom: Jack asks: Coach Ball, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. What are some of the challenges, if any, in making the 3-3-5 effective in the Pac-10 and against top flight D-IA competition? Thanks, Go Cougs!

Coach Ball : We base out of a 4-3 defense and run a little bit of 30.

COUGFANcom: Ken asks: Greetings, Coach! Can you tell me about Louis Bland's transition to LB and about his progress in general?

Coach Ball : Louis is doing a great job and is proving to be one of our best players as a freshman.

cdlhot: Talk about Mattingly some, loved he roamed well and got 11 tackles Saturday

Coach Ball : Andy played really well at Oregon State.

COUGFANcom: ripling12 asks: Coach there's been some talk Mattingly will move back to linebacker. Any truth to that?

Coach Ball : We will see about Andy at the end of the season.

402Waldron: What do you say to players, week after tough week, to keep them going?

Coach Ball : Keep working. There is no substitute for hard work.

Cougfan Top Stories