On Tuesday afternoon, SBNation college football genius Bill Connelly posted his comprehensive look at WSU for the upcoming 2015 season. As always, it's super in depth, super analytical and super awesome. If you haven't read it yet, give it a read.
At the end of the article, Connelly concludes with his 2 keys to the Cougar's season:
WSU's 2015 will be defined by solid starts. That means two things:
Starting the season quickly. Wazzu plays seven teams projected lower than 50th; four visit Pullman, and four come up in the first four games. If you're looking for a path to six wins, it involves starting the season at least 3-1. WSU started last season playing decent ball, but the close-game breaks weren't friendly.
Starting halves more quickly. WSU ranked 70th in Q1 Off. S&P+ and 89th in Q1 Def. S&P+ and had a scoring margin of minus-52 in the opening quarter. The offense improved in each quarter, and the defense improved as a half elapsed, but horrific defense led to a minus-51 scoring margin in the third quarter. That WSU was plus-22 in Q2 and Q4 didn't really matter because of slow starts. That can't continue.
Obviously, these things will contribute to the turnaround in Pullman. But, after last season, there is a lot more that needs to be improved on. A lot. So, that's where we turn to you for your opinion. What is the one thing that WSU needs to do better in order to have a successful season in 2015?
For me, the biggest key is improving the defense. That side of the ball has a lot of question marks, most notably: What is Alex Grinch going to do in his first year at the helm. The squad struggled last season under Mike Breske, but as Connelly points out, Grinch has a stocked cupboard to work with in his debut season:
Moving from three down linemen to four can obviously create depth issues up front, but between the returnees, big redshirt freshman Ngalu Tapa, JUCO transfer Jeremiah Mitchell, and four-star freshman Thomas Toki, I don't see that as a concern.
Combining these playmakers with the pairing of Jeremiah Allison and Peyton Pelluer at linebacker (plus intriguing redshirt freshman Chanlder Leniu), it would appear this front could make quite a few plays without taking huge risks. And if that's the case, a freshly experienced secondary could be offered room to improve.
If Grinch can come out of the gate guns ablaze, it will give Leach and his young quarterback time to get things into gear.
What is your biggest key to success in 2015? Post it in the comments below and let us know what you think.
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Rod Jensen joins Cougar women’s basketball staff - Spokesman.com - July 15, 2015
Former Boise State men’s basketball coach Rod Jensen has been hired as the top defensive assistant for the Washington State women’s basketball team.