Time for O to play a little D vs. Hawaii

THE INJURIES ON defense likely means the Cougar offense will need to control the clock and make the most of their scoring opportunities if WSU is to come out on top against Hawaii. Fortunately for Cougar fans, Washington State appears in a position to be able to do just that.

The list of Cougar defenders reported out for the game is not insignificant -- starting DE Kevin Kooyman (knee) and backup DT Dan Spitz (illness) are out.

So is CB Aire Justin (quadriceps), who has been jockeying back and forth for a starting spot on the islands over the young season with Daniel Simmons.

With Justin out, that may mean Chima Nwachukwu moves to corner from safety, and LeAndre Daniels subs in at safety for Nwachukwu.

Reserve safeties Eric Block (concussion) was not cleared and Jay Matthews (shoulder) will need at least another week as well. LB Louis Bland has practiced sparingly this week although he is expected to start.

The Cougar D looks to have some challenges to overcome this week. They're capable, but they're not at full strength and they weren't overly deep to begin with.

BUT A GOOD OFFENSE can, in effect, also be a good defense, and Washington State logged 17 first downs last week against Stanford.

Last year, the Cougs had more than 17 chain movers in only three games -- Oregon, Portland State and Baylor.

The Cougs last week ran 64 plays, virtually the same as Stanford, who had 66.

RB James Montgomery showed in his Cougar debut he can rip off chunks of green -- one of his runs went for 23 yards.

Dwight Tardy gained 60 hashes on his 13 carries.

Kevin Lopina was solid last week and Marshall Lobbestael had a good day as well. They were a combined 19-for-30 (63.3 percent) for 247 yards, with no interceptions.

Tony Thompson emerged as a pass catching fiend, both of his grabs were of the circus variety. Jared Karstetter showed he might be ready to take the next step with his 91 receiving yards and Daniel Blackledge hauled in a game high six catches -- despite coming down with a fever during the game.

ALL OF THIS points to Washington State occupying a place offensively they did not a year ago -- and with the defense a bit banged up, they have the opportunity to play a little defense themselves, indirectly speaking, while putting points up on the board.

If the Cougars control the clock and get some points when inside the 30-yard line, Washington State wins this week.

And if that happens, WSU leaves Seattle at 1-1 and the wounded get a little more time to heal up and get back in action next week, at home against SMU. And if WSU does win Saturday against Hawaii, they'll go into SMU brimming with confidence. Winning tends to do that.

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