PULLMAN -- The world didn't end last night. In fact, I woke up to a beautiful day in sunny Moscow, Idaho. Yes, Jeff Tuel broke his collarbone, but if an injury was going to happen, this was probably the best time for it. The murderers row of games comes later in the season, and while the Washington State offense will take some kind of hit, Tuel's injury can be absorbed ... for now. Because the world didn't end, we might as well take a look back.
First, a few links. If you haven't checked out what we're doing at SBNation.com, take a gander at our college football mega-stream. To get caught up on all the scores from around college football, check out my recap from early this morning. Spencer Hall also has a SitRep surveying the damage from the first Saturday of the year. Washington State is mentioned in both and we're still looking for Puddles' legs.
As I mentioned in the recap on the mothership, Washington State put up the third-most points on Saturday. While you may be thinking, "But, Idaho State," this is still a big deal. A lot of good football teams played a lot of bad football teams and didn't come up with anywhere near the production Washington State did. And the Cougs took their foot off the gas in the second half while leaving points on the table.
A few things stood out about the offense. Washington State passed the ball 35 times and ran the ball 38 times, achieving near-perfect balance. On the ground, the Cougs picked up 289 yards and scored four touchdowns. Through the air, Washington State picked up 301 yards and finished with three touchdowns. While the opponent was clearly overmatched, the goal is to find some semblance of balance on the offensive side of the ball, and a rushing attack that can actually pick-up four yards a carry -- it was eight on Saturday -- will go a long way towards taking the pressure off the quarterbacks.
The tempo on the offensive side of the ball was much quicker than in years past, as well. The Cougs ran a no-huddle offense throughout and it was effective. Substitutions were well-organized, the players on the field got lined up quickly and the result was closer to what the coaching staff expects going forward. It wasn't quite flawless, and head coach Paul Wulff wants the offense to play even faster, but it was encouraging.
On the defensive side of the ball, the cornerbacks were frequently placed on an island, thanks to the blitz packages employed. None of the defensive backs handled it all too well, but the coaching staff is confident in the cornerbacks' abilities to play on an island going forward. And with pressure being the focus, the defensive backs are going to have to handle stress. We know they're a talent group, but keep an eye on their play going forward.
Read on for a few notes.
"Pretty much as soon as I caught that ball, I knew I was gonna go to the house. I took just a minute to admire Sekope, I think, cleaned up the quarterback and I was just running and I took a minute to just go 'woo' and then kept going. It was fun."
Alex Hoffman-Ellis on the finer points of decleating a quarterback. If you didn't see the block, it was a ball of flying bodies and hair that sort of resembled the Tasmanian Devil
"I was really excited on my first carry, just to get up off the ground and not be injured."
Rickey Galvin appreciating the little things after sitting out last season.
This isn't a quote, but Paul Wulff showed up to his post-game press conference in a full suit, including a fly set of loafers. Yes, there was an audible "whoa" in the room.
Surveying The Damage
Darryl Monroe: Out for the year with a torn Achilles
Travion Smith: Likely out for the year with what may be a torn ACL
Spencer Waseem: Knee sprain that looked worse than what it was. Coaching staff thinks he'll be fine
Jeff Tuel: Yes, we know
Starting, appropriately, with the hitting. There were more "ooooh" moments than I can recall seeing in the last few years, with WSU laying hard hits numerous times throughout the game. The strength of an opponent has no bearing on how hard a hit is, making this an encouraging sign going forward, as well.
The WSU offense showed some fun looks and used quite a few different personnel packages, many of which included the tight ends. There was variety and versatility, both in formations and play-calling, that gave us a glimpse of what's to come. We'll have more on this later.
On the defensive side of the ball, Washington State ran the stack, or 3-3-5, almost exclusively. But more important than the formation was the philosophy. As we watched the final seconds tick off the clock, Vince Grippi noted the defense looked more like a Doba defense, with loads of pressure coming from all angles. Again, we'll have more on why this is important later.
If I were a kickoff return man, the last thing I'd want to see coming towards me is Anthony Carpenter. Goodness he's a missle that can lay a hit.
There's a reason Marcus Mason's redshirt was burned on the first play of the year, when he lined up deep as the kick-return man. We saw said reason later in the game when he ripped off a 65-yard run, showing off his speed. Mason may be the fastest guy on the team, and will see time both on special teams and in the backfield.