Brian will be along with a full report from Pullman later, but I'll offer my initial, brief thoughts from watching at home.
Since I wasn't on the game thread because I had a bunch of stuff to do around the house, I don't know what the mood was there as the game spun out of control. But I did glance at Twitter a few times, and it seemed people were not real happy. So I'll just say this.
Remember the first half. At least for the offense.
Todd Sturdy put together a game plan that pretty much mirrored what we've been asking for. Spread them out, get the ball to the perimeter quickly. Screens. Draws. It was so good, the Cougs ended up with 230 yards at halftime. Doesn't sound impressive? Consider that eight times last year, WSU failed to exceed that total for an entire game.
So, for as much as we've hammered this staff, the offensive coaches deserve a heck of a lot of credit. They implemented something completely different, and it was successful for a half. Yes, it caught up with them in the second half as USC adjusted, but it's important to remember that first half.
The defense ... let's just say I wish I could go back and revise my grades. Some of it was youth, but some of it was just downright poor play. The tackling was atrocious. The linebackers ... well, let's just say Brian's got something special in store for them, especially one Alex Hoffman-Ellis. This was a major, MAJOR step back for them. They cannot blame this one on the offense.
The special teams was a mixed bag. I think you saw the effects of too much respect for USC's return game on that block. But, hey -- Nico Grasu! A field goal!
Again, I know we're all tired of getting whipped. But there were some seriously positive things in here. This team is getting closer. I know this is something that will get me mocked by some, but I don't care: Our first teamers were fine against their second teamers. Why does that matter? First of all, that didn't happen the last two years. And second, most of our guys -- with their youth -- would be second teamers on most other Pac-10 squads.
We're getting there, ever so slowly.