#71 Washington State Football Preview

Washington State Cougars

Overall Rank #71
#12 Pac Ten Conference

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2010 Record: 2-10
2010 Bowl: none
Coach:  Paul Wulff (5-32)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Morton
Defensive Coordinator:  Chris Ball

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Logwone Mitz, RB, 284 Yards
Passing: Jeff Tuel,  QB, 3569 Yards
Receiving:  Marquess Wilson, WR, 1006 Yards
Tackles:  Deone Bucannon, LB, 67
Sacks: Travis Long, DE, 5
Interceptions: Alex Hoffman-Ellis, CB, 3;

Head Coach Mr. Paul Wulff is entering his fourth season as the sideline general for the Cougars. He still has another year or two before we can truly judge how successful he has been. But this year is still a pretty pivotal year. The Cougars need to start producing some wins under Coach Wulff so he is not questioned by players, other coaches, or the fan base. His best season has only netted two wins. Wulff is hoping this year is the charm and the Cougars are poised to have a good year.

The Cougars have a very young team and it has shown the last two seasons. However their passing game, guided by Jeff Tuel is formidable. Their passing attack is only seeking to improve as they gain more experience, chemistry, and knowledge of the scheme. Washington State also plays one third of the game exceptionally well. This third of the game is also the most underrated part of football. They excel at special teams. Their net punting was 10th in the nation and second in the conference. This can make a big difference in field position games, so expect the Cougars to really impose winning the field position battle this year. They will be successful at it as well. If their offense can continue to improve, and limit turnovers, they have a chance to win many more games this season. Their defense should also be improved as they will force the opponents to drive the length of the field. Remember, that any drive that lasts more than 10 plays, the offense is extremely likely to make a killer mistake. This could be a turnover, a sack, or a drive killing penalty. From there the Cougars can capitalize.

Washington State struggled mighty on the defensive side of the ball last year.  They gave up a ton of points, (35.83 PPG) and yards (467 per game). This is something that needs to drastically improve if the Cougars want to have any prayer at winning more than two games. Their defensive woos are something that I am sure was addressed throughout the offseason and will be poised for a better season this year. The Cougars also struggled up front, finishing 10th in the conference in both sacks and sacks allowed.  Sacks are a vital stat for a defense. If the unit cannot penetrate and put pressure on the quarterback it becomes next to impossible to stop the pass, no matter how talented your secondary is.  Putting pressure on the quarterback can mask many weaknesses in a defense, but lack of pressure will open these holes even wider.

Bottom Line:
The Cougars are looking to have a better2011 campaign then they did in 2010.  This should not be overly difficult considering they only were on the right side of two games. However don’t raise the bar too high, they are still a young team with a young head coach, so expect struggles to continue. Focus on how effectively the Cougars improve up front on both sides of the ball. If they protect better and apply more pressure to the quarterback expect the team to be vastly improved. Overall do not expect too much out of the Cougars this year but expect improvement over last season’s dreadful performance.

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 91.00 (117 Nation 10th conference)
Passing Offense: 239.17 (42, 6)
Total Offense: 330.17 (92,8)
Scoring Offense: 19.58 (106,10)
Rushing Defense: 220.25 (115,10)
Pass Defense: 246.75 (104,9)
Total Defense: 467.00 (118,10)
Scoring Defense: 35.83 (110,10)
Turnover Margin -.08 (63,7)
Sacks: 1.92 (67,10)
Sacks Allowed: 4.25 (119, 10)

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