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An Excerpt From This Morning's Cougar Sports Weekly

This is part of what was delivered to subscribers' inboxes this morning:

I went back and looked at when the Cougars have been successful at turning their red zone opportunities into touchdowns and when they've struggled to convert, starting with the mess against UCLA. Marshall Lobbestael's interceptions on Saturday notwithstanding, being around the 20 itself isn't necessarily a problem for the Cougars; it's when the get around the 10 that things really start to become difficult.

This doesn't make WSU unique, by the way. The reason the red zone becomes difficult for teams is because the field is compressed. It's why teams that can run effectively to the tune of four and five yards a carry tend to be much more effective in the red zone. Of course, this isn't the Cougars. They're not yet a punishing rushing attack, and can't just run the ball straight ahead three times once they get to the 10 and expect to get in the end zone. In fact, this is exactly what caused them to stall out against UCLA. Instead, they're left to try and throw the ball into those exceptionally small windows, and they tend to struggle.

I'm not going to presume that I'm smarter than offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy on this one and tell him what he should do. Obviously, he's thought a lot more about how to get this team to be effective near the goal line than I have. Still, I did a little research on effective red zone strategies, and here are some ideas you might see the Cougars try to use in an effort to convert more trips inside the opponent's 10 yard line into touchdowns.

And a little more from a breakdown of Mike Ladd:

With his size (6-foot-5) and shooting ability, Ladd will be the primary candidate to replace at least some of Thompson's scoring production. He doesn't pass like Thompson, but if he can marry that sophomore three-point shot with the freshman two-point conversion, Ladd should ease some of the pain of losing Klay early to the NBA Draft.

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