After re-evaluating the game against UCLA and watching highlights and such, 3 things that I saw really stood out to me that I haven’t seen from our Cougars since last November against Arizona State. Not so much in the things you can measure with stats, but the non-measurables.
1: The first thing I saw was a lot of confidence, swagger and passion. In other words, the Cougs began expecting to make plays, as opposed to being surprised by the plays they made. The swagger and excitement was an energy that I’ve not seen in a Washington State team in a long time. The closest thing to it was Arizona State of last year. Stanford a few week ago was the next closest thing, but while I saw guys flying around, I still didn’t see the team fire, just individuals making plays. UCLA brought out that fire, that trust for a teammate to do his job and then the excitement for him when he made the play. Celebrations were genuine and the passion was evident.
2: The second thing I saw last Saturday was an attitude adjustment to adversity. Even after 4 first half blocks, several sacks, 2 fumbles and an inability to put the ball in the endzone in the first qtr even through having the ball in all but 38 seconds of it leading to a 37-7 halftime deficit, the Cougs kept their intensity at a high level. In fact, they brought even more energy to the field in the second half, stopping a team out of the break for the first time in at least 6 games
3: The third thing I finally saw on Saturday was an offense full of play makers. It has been apparent to Cougar fans all season that the offense has play makers on it, but it took the #1 play maker leaving to bring the rest of the team out. It was no longer the Marquess Wilson show, it was the Washington State show and it was totally refreshing. Sometimes the cost of having a star is a dependency on that guy to make all the plays and when he doesn’t the whole team suffers. Now that he’s gone, the question the announcers kept asking is “who will step up in his absence?” The answer: All of the other play makers who are no longer over shadowed and dependent on Marquess to bail them out.