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What did we learn about Luke Falk against Oregon State?

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Brian and Brian watched Washington State beat Oregon State on Saturday and had a running conversation throughout the game. This is what they saw.

Leading up to Saturday's matchup against Oregon State, Brian Anderson and I decided we'd try something different. We've been friends for about 10 years, and spent a lot of games in the stands at Martin Stadium cheering and talking about what we saw. Now that I'm in DC and he's in the state of Washington, that's not exactly possible. So we did the next best thing: Sat on GChat throughout the game and went back and forth about what we were selling.

I've edited things down a bit (it clocked in at almost 5,000 words unedited), but these are our in-the-moment observations about Luke Falk, the Washington State offense, and pretty much everything else going on around the game. Hopefully it provides some insight into the game flow, play calling and Falk's ability to run the offense.

falk

Brian Floyd
all-white with gray sleeves. not sure how i'll like his quarterbacking, but his fashion is ON POINT
Brian Anderson
CLEAN
Brian Floyd
And the inflatable helmet just collapsed on OSU running onto the field
great start for the beavers

Brian Floyd
This defense remains a tire fire
Sun rise, sun set
Brian Anderson
Just once, I'd like to see "don't get burnt" emphasized
Brian Floyd
I mean, that was just good play design
It's also something that they should've seen a million times on tape
Brian Anderson
Yeah. Like to see the LB pick that up a little quicker...but just a good play, good execution
defense got the ball back to the offense quickly?
Brian Floyd
That's a point on the rise up board

Gonna start conservative, huh
Brian Anderson
very, that wasnt even a run box, had 7
Brian Floyd
Fairly typical early series, at least
Brian Anderson
OSU mixing front, but they're playing a lot softer than I thought they would
Falk just threw a dime
Brian Floyd
[waits for it]
oh hey, well that was a good ball
and a good read
Brian Anderson
Such a good run check
Brian Floyd
Play hadn't started for me, but was gonna say two high, light box gotta run
and look at that
really trying to work mesh
Brian Anderson
I think his pass concepts are gonna be more limited...gonna see a ton of mesh
Brian Floyd
they're dropping the MLB a lot, right before snap
Can't really do much there. He was dead the whole time

Brian Anderson
Check if Falk is making line calls
Brian Floyd
It looked like he was at the start
Brian Anderson
Yeah, he is
Brian Floyd
yep
Brian Floyd
Result wasn't there, but that looked like a good run
Brian Anderson
Went Iso and Mike stayed, get a good bounce and that works out a little better
Brian Floyd
He had numbers
just took too long
Brian Anderson
Falk is making some really good reads
He's solidly in command of what he's doing

1st and 10 at WSU 36 Luke Falk pass complete to Isiah Myers for 11 yds to the WshSt 47 for a 1ST down
Brian Floyd

Hoooo, that was subtle and nice
they took away the field
so he fit it in on a stop on the boundary
Brian Anderson
Like, he looks more comfortable that Tuel did for half a season
Brian Floyd
Going back two plays or whatever. Showed press on the single receiver, safety broke to double, he made the right play on it
He's just kinda taking whatever is there. All you can ask for
Brian Anderson
Exactly, safety drifted off and he nailed the dig in the vacancy. Great timing
Holy shit you'll love the Y-cross
Brian Floyd
Oh that was nice
And another good run against numbers
Brian Anderson
He's playing smart and within the system.

1st and Goal at ORST 2 Jamal Morrow run for a loss of 3 yards to the OrgSt 5
Brian Floyd
You know, when the side of the line with two extra linemen gets blown up...
Brian Anderson
Oh shit, you see how that happened? "TE" on that side doubled down with the OT and just let him free
Brian Floyd
Yep
Didn't seal the guy coming off the edge
Brian Anderson
Can you think of a reason to double that guy? I cant
Brian Floyd
71 (?) is also three yards in the backfield
you should kick out on that side, no?
Brian Anderson
Yes, exactly
Man, he improvises really well.


Brian Floyd
so, two things
one: he needed his legs for that
two: im wondering if this might be where you see some of the "arm strength" things
windows are tiny in the red zone, so he's gonna have to find another way
Brian Anderson
Yeah, he's great at keeping his eyes downfield when he's forced to move...like really great
Brian Floyd
Yeah. And he's got plenty of mobility
Brian Anderson
And, you might be onto something with the arm strength in the redzone.
Brian Floyd
I don't buy it as a big problem most of the time. But when everything closes down and you're dealing with a lot of people in not a lot of space...
Brian Anderson
I haven't really been concerned about it at all, and don't really see the need to be, but yeah, you gotta force some stuff when it's tight down there
Brian Floyd
That's where Halliday could slam a ball into any window and Falk really can't
Which could be a gift and curse (for both)
Brian Anderson
They can change things up too
Brian Anderson
Halliday threw at double slants a lot, they loved that in the RZ...that's definitely a rocketball
Brian Floyd
without laces
Brian Anderson
you can go with some other stuff that might not require that sauce as much

91 WSU OSU Falk Baker

Brian Floyd
Now here's your test for him
You saw them jump that last play
They're already cheating. He's gonna have to take a shot and make it
Brian Anderson
Yeah, the Out/Vert is gonna get picked in the flat if he's not careful...it sucks that I was thinking the exact same thing about them jumping already
Brian Floyd
Unless they bait the out and go over top
Which he should at some point
Brian Anderson
Definitely need to throw a wheel at them when they get jumpy
Backers starting to deke stunts and back into coverage
Brian Floyd
Yeah, they're messing with him
Brian Anderson
He should be expecting that, pretty standard fare for youngsters
Brian Floyd
Hooooooo, nice throw on the post
Brian Anderson
That's threading the needle
Y-Cross still sitting pretty behind backers
Brian Floyd
Oh it's there. And that was another good throw into a window
Brian Anderson
That touch...drooling


Brian Floyd
Aaaaaand there's the wheels
He was dead to rights
Got em, coach
Brian Anderson
Oh shit, caught em slipping on a screen deke
Brian Floyd
He answered that pretty quick
Brian Anderson
Gotta say...he's playing mistake free football right now
Brian Floyd
That's really all you need. It's probably a level above just mistake free too
Brian Anderson
He's just dropping back and hitting every read. Yogi said "No Flinch Mentality" -- a little Elite11 lingo, this is the definition of what that is right now
Brian Floyd
He's making some good reads and throws with it
Brian Anderson
Yeah, safety doesn't get to his hash and Corner plays like a screen
Brian Floyd
That was pretty much exactly what we were saying. They got caught looking and he made the throw
Brian Anderson
Beautiful play call
Brian Floyd
Safety hesitated and took a step forward


You know who's looking good? Cyrus Coen
He didn't quite get home, but he's been all over the place in the backfield
Brian Anderson
After a kinda brutal first series, the backers have all settled in pretty nicely
Brian Floyd
That's what they needed
Backers seem to have a feel for what's going on. OSU runs a ton of action all over. Feels like they're understanding what's happening in front of them
Brian Anderson
Yeah, think they were just missing keys those first couple series. Settled in and reading it now.
OSU really does block it like a run, it'd suck them up and guys would free up behind them. You can see heads on swivels and them dropping now
Also...bringing some heat is always nice. Doesn't always have to hit home, just make Mannion move, he's a lot like Halliday in that regard
Brian Floyd
Yeah, they've been bringing more and more. Didn't get there on first or third, but got close

92 WSU OSU Mason

Brian Floyd
vary your count. gonna get yourself killed

92 WSU OSU offside

man, that was fast
Brian Anderson
there you go
Brian Floyd
ask and ye shall receive

92 WSU OSU Falk Baker

YO
That ball had some zip
Brian Anderson
Y-Option
Brian Floyd
ball got on him in a hurry
Brian Anderson
You don't have to have to throw 70+ or 60mph in this offense, you gotta hit the windows when they're there. Falk can do that

3rd and 1 at WSU 47 Luke Falk sacked by D.J. Alexander for a loss of 6 yards to the WshSt 41
Brian Floyd
he probably should've got out of that
got baited into a play that osu had the whole way
Brian Anderson
Yeah...that didn't look right from the jump
Brian Floyd
Nah. It was off. A straight run actually probably would've done it
Brian Anderson
Yeah, I think they were anticipating a bigger blitz..but at the same time weren't ready to handle any kind of rush. It was weird
Brian Floyd
Safety kind of gave it away to me. Looked like he was gonna drop into the box but hesitated and was gonna back off
Brian Anderson
I like the Smoke-3 there
if you're gonna run screen
delay draw it
Brian Floyd
yep. all in all, still not bad. he had a chance to make a mistake the play before and didn't
Brian Anderson
it's really nice to see he's not pressing
Brian Floyd
He had it cocked back to go down the sideline and pulled it back. Good incompletion to the outlet

2nd and 19 at WSU 24 Sean Mannion pass complete to Terron Ward for 5 yds to the WshSt 19
3rd and 14 at WSU 19 Sean Mannion pass complete to Terron Ward for a loss of 1 yard to the WshSt 20

Brian Anderson
back to back screens? Please
Brian Floyd
Stayed home on the screen
He had nowhere to go. That was a give up call
Brian Anderson
seriously, they waved a white flag with that call

4th and 15 at WSU 20 Garrett Owens 37 yd FG GOOD
Brian Anderson
so defense...
Shaky start but looks like they've settled in a bit
Brian Floyd
Problem appears to still be four people
Backers look ... good? Great?
Line is adequate to good
Secondary is a burning dumpster rolling down Monroe
Brian Anderson
Playing aggressive for sure, the backers. It's a good look...like how it's supposed to
Brian Anderson
secondary is still the same dudes, athletic enough to cover, not quite technique and talent to finish it yet. Makes me optimistic though
Brian Floyd
That blitz on first down both came at the right time and did its job
OSU going conservative here
He can find some spots
Brian Anderson
Morrow is running like a grown ass man


Brian Floyd
That's a good way to help your new QB
YO
THEY WEREN'T SET
HE GOT EM WHEN THEY WERENT SET
that was a pro move
Brian Anderson
That was brilliant, just re-watched a couple times
Brian Floyd
I was watching the safeties trying to see where they were going
and realized nobody was set
Brian Anderson
defense not set, Mayle toasts the corner
Safety playing grab ass in the middle of the field not realizing the ball was snapped
Brian Floyd
Yeah, that was exactly who I was watching

HALFTIME: WSU 21, Oregon State 16
Brian Floyd
10 ypa in the first half btw
Brian Anderson
Morrow at 6 YPC too
Brian Floyd
Really can't ask for much more. Taken what he's given and the two times they busted coverage he took advantage and got TDs
Brian Anderson
Not a lot of wasted yardage here
Brian Floyd
I can't remember a single scary throw
Nothing where I thought "that's gonna get picked"
Brian Anderson
Me either, he's been throwing at good reads all half. Coming off to his checkdowns when hes needed to. "Conservative" sounds silly, but he's just operating well within the offense right now. Not forcing, pushing, just playing smart
You hear about him being a film junkie, I think this may be the product of that. He hasn't looked panicked or freaked out by anything. And OSU has mixed stuff up a lot
Brian Floyd
Conservative here means taking six, seven, eight yards
They started him slow with runs and quick screens, but the game flow has been good. Start easy, then let him just kind of go
Brian Anderson
See, I think those runs are him. You see him make the line call, now they could give him the option to call any run, but I really think the system means the QB has the run calls and they're letting him do it. He's to blame for that, and he's been making smart calls and Morrow's been running real damn hard for him
Brian Floyd
I think the early ones might have been designed. Since then, he's been getting into the right play for the most part
Brian Anderson
Maybe, either way, they've been running the right play against the defensive alignment most of the game. Only a few you could say were slip ups
Brian Floyd
Can count those on one hand
Third down screen was one
Brian Anderson
Which is...not usual
Had a couple runs that were at good numbers but not to the right side/blocked optimally.
Brian Floyd
Oregon State has been far from sitting back and they've been varying looks/coverage/blitzes
Brian Anderson
They've gone to everything from a full house blitz to dropping 8
It's been all over the map
Brian Floyd
They're trying to confuse and pressure him. It just hasn't worked
Brian Anderson
The interior twists are getting picked up real well, only got to him a couple times

93 WSU OSU Falk Mayle Drop

Brian Anderson
There was our wheel, missed Mayle on the curl
Brian Floyd
ahhhh, he had both
Brian Anderson
yep
Brian Floyd
throw was still there for mayle
Brian Anderson
That's where the arm stength concerns could be, if anywhere outside the redzone, but even that throw was there if on target


94 WSU OSU Falk Galvin

Brian Floyd

And there's another dime on third
Brian Anderson
That dime to Galvin was insane
Brian Floyd
Led Galvin to get some depth
Brian Anderson
the touch on that is really impressive, probably his best throw of the game right there
Brian Floyd
Where he put that ball was important. Led the receiver into the open spot
Brian Anderson
That's the whole thing about this offense, throw to green
get them into the space

95 WSU OSU Falk Myers Overthrow

Brian Floyd
Ohhhh, that was there
gotta bring it down
That was a legit miss, which hasn't really happened
Brian Anderson
Overthrew it, tried to hammer it home and left the release high
What happens when you try to throw too hard
Brian Floyd
[pause]

drink update: bottle is gone (we split it)
Brian Anderson
What's on deck? I went IPA, now a Abominable winter ale
Brian Floyd
I'm considering another red from prosser. i also have founders breakfast stout in the fridge and an array of nice bourbon

After OSU goes all runs and scores, then WSU punts
Brian Anderson
I think OSU goes back to an established run, take that away and we may get outta this posession
Brian Floyd
Yeah, they're going to have to get them into a passing situation
Brian Anderson
LB not getting to depth and S too high
He's not even needing to drop over the LB, so turned around and out of position
Brian Floyd
None of them had a clue. They were all in no-mans
Brian Anderson
Great blitz call
Brian Floyd
I honestly don't know what the hell Oregon State was doing on that series
You just finished jamming it down WSU's throat
You got 16 back
And then ... two passes?
Brian Anderson
The only run was a dive off the fly sweep motion. Curious.
Brian Floyd
Yeah. I'm not sure what they were going for there
Brian Anderson
If it aint broke do something different just in case that works too
Brian Floyd
Mike Riley Football
Brian Anderson
Be nice to see some kind of rhythm on this drive

After OSU punts it back to WSU
Brian Anderson
Staying with the dink and dunk
Brian Floyd
good easy start
Brian Anderson
time to stretch
Brian Floyd
Yeah, just get him into a flow for a minute here


Brian Anderson
GREAT patience
holy cow
Had the wheel oppo the shallow on that too
Brian Floyd
Held it
Lovely work
Given an either or choice, he's taking the underneath
which is fine
but he's had both a couple times


Brian Anderson
Palacio is possessed
Brian Floyd
bright spot
Brian Anderson
Bucky has to be disruptive for this D to have a shot at being successful
He's doing well on passing downs
Like to see that sort of havoc on runs, but, baby steps I guess
You dip into that bourbon?
Brian Floyd
I should
Give up call again
Brian Anderson
Well sure, when you have that kinda faith in a back up kicker and hate touchdowns. Why not?

96 WSU OSU Falk Morrow

Brian Floyd

Man, Morrow is playing well
Brian Anderson
Really well. Running hard
Mayle made a helluva play there too. Nice easy reads still


Brian Floyd
Easy throw, Mayle did some nice work
nice tuck and go

97 WSU OSU Falk Scramble

Brian Anderson

That might change things more than we realize. Being able to scramble short yardage like that
Galvin's really had a nice game too. He's shaking people
Brian Floyd
Guys are making plays
gotta get one guy to miss, and they are
Brian Anderson
When you play underneath like this..it's crucial you make a miss


Brian Anderson
Man
! Can't say enough about his patience
Brian Floyd
What a fucking play
Buying time, found the man, hit him in the numbers
pick play
needed that drive. kid looked calm the entire time
Brian Anderson
Real calm, Galvin out there. I see you


Brian Anderson
This is where you kill them
Brian Floyd
Falk can killshot them here
jinx

98 WSU OSU Falk Baker

Brian Anderson

There's your first risk
Brian Floyd
Even that wasn't terrible
Had his man shielded
Brian Anderson
Yeah, not a bad risk, but the most we've seen all day
Brian Floyd
That's saying something
Brian Anderson
yeah it really is
Brian Floyd
His biggest risk was a tight window where the receiver had him shielded
He's doing what you have to: Get the ball to your playmakers and let them go to work
That's the offense
That's what he is


Brian Anderson
TYLER BAKER
Brian Floyd
Holy god
someone died
Galvin just sacrificed his head
for that td
Brian Anderson
Normally, you see the dude that delivers the blow be ok
Brian Floyd
Galvin is a little guy, but my god


Brian Anderson
How comfortable are you up 14?
Brian Floyd
ask me after this play?
not very
Brian Anderson
me either
Brian Floyd
realistically, should be pretty confident, though
That timeout actually helps a hell of a lot
In terms of my confidence

Final score: WSU 39, Oregon State 32
Brian Floyd
It's one game, but he answered a lot of the questions I had
Brian Anderson
What were your main questions?
Brian Floyd
Wanted to see if he could command the offense, how well he knew the offense, and if he could play within the system
Brian Anderson
I was curious about hesitation. Saw that with Tuel, Halliday last year. The O didn't look fluid. Stopped and started, never really flowed in rhythm throughout a game. That's where Falk was the most surprising for me. He was in rhythm all game
And you said it. Control, and within the system
Brian Floyd
And this wasn't catching a defense off guard or anything. He just ... ran the offense
(other than that td to mayle which ha ha ha got em coach)
Brian Anderson
Yeah exactly. It was methodical. It looked and felt methodical, like a surgery, and that's what this offense is. And it wasn't like the D didn't try stuff either, they mixed up a lot
Brian Floyd
He never really forced anything. The closest he came was actually a fairly safe ball anyway
Brian Anderson
There was practically zero risk to every throw he made
he attempted 61 throws
Brian Floyd
Completed 44 of them too, which ... not bad at all
Brian Anderson
Yeah 72% isn't that bad i guess