Smith Talks Apple Cup Rivalry

Husky offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith talks about the Washington State defense and what it means to be facing their cross-state rivals in the Apple Cup...

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How much of a challenge is it to prepare on a short week? “It’s always different. Obviously less time, quicker decisions. It’s that time of year. You get into game 12. You’ve done a lot of things and so a lot of times you’re recycling, so it’s not too much new stuff. But it’s always tough on a short week.”

How does the Apple Cup compare to the Civil War in terms of intensity? “There’s an intensity to this rivalry, no question being around it a couple years now. It’s an important game. It’s a big game for this state, but also where the two teams are at right now and we’re excited to go.”

What has WSU done this year to stop the run? “The rare an aggressive defense. They tackle well. These guys play hard. You see all 11 guys flying to the football. They play a sound scheme. They create some problems with their movement, especially up front. It’s a good outfit against the run and pass. They’re awesome in the way they disguise their coverage. That will be a challenge for us in the pass game. They present some problems.”

Do your guys have to have short memories in games like this? “Yeah, similar. Any time you play some teams like this, similar to last week Arizona State created problems tat way tackling guys in the backfield. Not every play is going to be perfect, especially when we want to be able to run the ball. Not every run is going to go for 10 yards. We just have to keep battling at it.”

Are they doing anything different this year defensively? “Yeah, they’ve put in some new wrinkles. You can just tell the confidence of the group. They have a good amount of returning players. You can see that they’re sound in their scheme. They’re coverage disguise is even better this year. They definitely are similar. It’s not a whole sale change or anything form the year before, but they’ve taken their game to the next level.”

On the importance of ball security “Any time you always want to be taking care of the ball and playing with great ball leverage when you’ve got it in your hands. They’ve been good at getting some turnovers. They have a great turnover ratio. That will be an important part of this game.”

On Chico McClatcher returning to full form “He’s closer to being completely back. He was playing outstanding before he had the injury. I think he’s really close to being at that level again. He definitely brings some things to our offense. We have a decent amount of guys we want to get the ball to and he’s one of them. The way we can spread the field out when he’s out there, there are a lot of guys for them to cover.”

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