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The Good, Bad and Ugly of WSU’s 24-10 loss at Oregon State

Very little good to be had from Saturday

NCAA Football: Washington State at Oregon State Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. There are obviously many things we could say about the 2022 edition of the Washington State Cougars. Coming into this game, WSU had competed well in its only two losses, and both of those losses came to highly-ranked, Pac-12 title contenders. Welp, not even that is something we can write/say about this team anymore. Not after a listless, uninspired “effort” Saturday night in a 24-10 loss to the Oregon State Beavers.

On the other end of the spectrum, which win of WSU’s four is the most impressive? A narrow escape over an FCS team? A resounding defeat of FBS bottom-feeder Colorado State? Beating the last-place team in the laughably-weak Big Ten West? Pulling away late in the game to beat Cal? You know, the same Cal team that couldn’t beat Colorado?

That is to say that WSU isn’t good. It isn’t bad, either. It Want some evidence?

The middlest team that ever middled a middle.

On the bright side, the old, warm sweater of college football irrelevance has finally made its way out of the closet in Pullman. Now that WSU is 4-3 and stands virtually no chance of making its way into the national conversation, we can once again watch our team win and lose in virtual anonymity, free from the eyes of anyone outside our small footprint. Hooray?

The Good

  • There are times when Cam Ward reminds a guy of Kyler Murray, particularly when plays break down. Sometimes that’s good!
  • Nice interception and return by Sam Lockett, setting up WSU in good field position.
  • Nick Haberer may have been WSU’s offensive MVP on Saturday, averaging north of 40 yards per kick and killing two punts inside the 20.
  • Robert Ferrell was by far WSU’s best receiver, with five catches on six targets for 131 yards. Most impressive was the catch when he somehow slipped a tackle and picked up 38 yards. His knee must have avoided the ground by about a centimeter.
  • Decent night on the ground for Jaylen Jenkins, at least average-wise. He needs help, though.
  • In the second quarter, WSU outgained OSU 168-14. OSU averaged one yard per play, and went 0-4 on third downs. Pretty good! Well, I guess. Just don’t look at the 3-3 score.
  • Pretty decent pass defense, holding the OSU backup to 50% passing and 5.9 YPA.
  • Another perfect night from Janikowski!
  • I love that Mark Atuaia was having fun, despite his sorry-ass team’s sorry-ass performance. Gotta find some joy where you can.

The Bad

  • Always good to set the tone by allowing the opponent to return the opening kick 60 yards.
  • Daiyan Henley meets Jack Colletto in the hole. It ends poorly.
  • As good as Ferrell was, his drop late in the second quarter can’t happen. It killed a chance to score.
  • I guess the refs are totally fine with pass interference, so long as it’s WSU on the wrong end, like the awful non-call on a pass to Smithson. Then in the fourth quarter, an OSU defensive back tackled a WSU receiver right in front of an official during the play. Totally fine, I guess.
  • We heard over and over during the offseason that Dean Janikowski had a much stronger leg. If that’s the case, why not let him try a long field goal on the last play, rather than run a Hail Mary, which has a much lower chance of success?
  • These receivers, especially the outside guys, continue to be a colossal disappointment. As with so many other aspects of this team, we were led to believe that De’Zhaun Stribling and Donovan Ollie were set for breakout seasons. On Saturday, they combined for five catches on 21 targets. That is inexplicably bad.
  • If I go to the grocery store today, I fully expect to see Lincoln Victor’s picture on a milk carton.
  • How many goddamn times can a defense be fooled by the same goddamn play? Play action / rollout / pass to the tight end was 75% of the OSU passing game, yet WSU reacted like it was some unheard of concept, leaving the tight end uncovered multiple times.
  • Turns out the running back depth is anything but. A true freshman can only do so much, unless he’s Adrian Peterson or Todd Gurley. When Jenkins isn’t in the game, they may as well go empty.
  • On the other side, Damien Martinez blew a good sized hole in the myth that WSU has a solid run defense. He picked up 111 yards on just 16 carries, repeatedly dragging multiple WSU defenders forward after contact.

The Ugly

  • One offensive yard in the first quarter. 1.
  • I’m running out of adjectives to properly describe the deplorable state of the offensive line. Starters, backups, doesn’t matter who’s in there, it’s nothing but terrible. Six sacks, nine tackles for loss. And it’s not like they were facing the Purple People Eaters.
  • There was one play late where Gomness just stood there while a blitzing linebacker ran right by him and got in Ward’s face. Totally inexcusable.
  • The line’s incompetence is clearly affecting Can Ward, reminiscent of Russell Wilson behind the awful Seattle lines in the late 2010s. There doesn’t appear to be any trust there, and Ward is so used to getting the snap and having people in his face that it looks from here like he goes into scramble mode immediately, even on plays where he has time to sit in the pocket and go through his progressions. The ghosts he’s seeing leads to too many off-schedule plays, and Ward has demonstrated that he’s at his worst when the play breaks down. Unlike Wilson in his prime (which is long gone), Ward’s off schedule plays almost always result in sacks, throwaways or minimal gains on keepers. At this point in the season, Abe Lucas and Andre Dillard ain’t walking through that door, so I don’t expect it to get much better.
  • Three road games. 17, 14 and 10 points. There was only one road game in 2021 when WSU scored fewer than 21 points. Go team.

Now the Cougs venture into an idle week, thank heavens. That’s followed by a Thursday visit from Utah. I’m sure that’ll go fine.


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Volleyball to take on Utah Sunday on Pac-12 Mountain - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State volleyball (12-6, 4-3 Pac-12) will look for a weekend split on the road on Sunday as it takes on Utah (11-7, 4-3 Pac-12) on the road in the Huntsman Center. Sunday's match will be televised live on Pac-12 Mountain beginning at 11 a.m.

This Week in Parenting

The 11 year-old is officially clear of medical issues and free to play soccer! He made his debut with the Oreos last week, and Saturday was his second game. Yep, I wrote “11 year-old” as he had a birthday this week. He had a tough moment in the first game when a kid booted a ball that went straight toward his face. Instinctively, he put his hands up to block it. Just so happened he was standing in the penalty box at the time, which resulted in a penalty kick and goal for the other team, which tied the game.

This Saturday was similar, as the opponent scored with about five seconds left to forge a tie. So the Oreos now sit at 2-0-2 against the Raptors. Why against just the Raptors? Well, the league has all of two teams, and they’ll face each other eight times. Not a lot of avid soccer interest in these parts, I guess. The kiddo likes playing, but I keep preaching about how he needs to play with more purpose and urgency. His preferred method is to take everything as casually as humanly possible, and maybe he’ll get around to making a pass - he made an absolutely perfect one for an assist last week - when he feels like it.

On the freshman front, the week ended much better than it began. When the 14 year-old got into the car Monday, he talked about how bad practice sucked. I knew it was rough, because he almost never complains about it. He said they didn’t do much more than multiple gassers and up/downs, while the coaches screamed “1-5!” (their record) at them. Now, I’m not a coach, so I can’t speak to the logic. But it seems to me that screaming at a bunch of high school kids about their poor record, during the season, is a pretty shitty thing to do. Especially since the coaches haven’t exactly been on their “A” games either.

I’d think such garbage “motivational” tactics would best be reserved for the offseason, when you can preach during workouts how important it was to get bigger/faster/stronger so the losing record turns to a winning one. Despite all that, the mighty Dolphins won their second game of the season! A 16-0 whitewashing of an Escambia team that won the first matchup!

Before the season started, yours truly volunteered to do the PA announcing for the mighty Dolphins freshman home games, and Thursday was the last one. Unfortunately there were no spotters (who I quickly learned are very important!), but I did find an able fill-in.

“Dad, if I turn these things around, you look really far away! Did you know that?” Yes. Yes I did.

Oh, and there may or may not have been a few “Noooooooo Gaaaaaaiiiiin” calls when the Dolphins held the other team to zero yards.


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