Nov 17, 2012; Auburn, AL, USA: Auburn quarterback Jonathan Wallace (12) runs behind running back Onterio McCalebb (23) during the first half against the Alabama A

WSU Football: What’s the Gameplan for Dealing with Auburn’s Up-Tempo Offense In the Heat of ‘Bama?


 

In the past, the heat would be a huge issue of concern for Washington State going into a non-conference season opener (or early game). If you’ll remember back over the past decade the Cougs have not done well on the road, in the hottest conditions. Just for a refresher course, here are the games I’m referring to, in which the Cougs have a 3-9 record.

  • 2002 @ Ohio State: L 25-6
  • 2003 @ ND (2nd game): L 29-26 OT
  • 2003 @ Colorado (3rd game): W 47-26
  • 2004 @ New Mexico: W 21-17
  • 2006 @ Auburn: L 40-14
  • 2007 @ Wisconsin: L 42-21
  • 2008 @ Baylor (3rd game): L 45-17
  • 2010 @ Oklahoma St: L 65-17
  • 2010 @ SMU (3rd game): L 35-21
  • 2011 @ SDSU (3rd game): L 42-21
  • 2012 @ BYU: L 30-6
  • 2012 @ UNLV: W 35-27

I don’t have the resources to figure out what the average temperature at game time was for all these games, but they all had two things in common; they were all in climates much more warm and moist than in Pullman in the early stages of Fall, and the Cougs got extremely, visibly tired in the second half of each of those contests. Granted, the competition had something to do with that, but even last year against a far inferior UNLV team the Cougs wore down and were really only saved by the gun as opposed to having beat down the Rebs in all four quarters.

Also keep in mind that only Oklahoma State and Baylor could accomplish the pace that Auburn wishes to move at. So how does the Cougs’ defense deal with the issues this year? Ken Wilson says the Cougs are planning a little something we really haven’t had the luxury of even attempting over the past decade due to major limitations in depth.

If you can go hard for two plays, then that’s all you are going to play. If you can go hard for a seven play drive, then you can play the whole drive.

In other words, the Cougars plan on substituting frequently, not only for situation, but also for fatigue when necessary and likely at every defensive position. As I said, the luxury is finally afforded for Washington State to do this in several positions and I’m excited to see a lot of bodies on the field, unlike we would have been in the recent past.

I would also expect to see a lot of pressure packages as the early game unfolds, trying to take advantage of the new quarterback’s inexperience, along with the offensive line who is learning a new system. How long that lasts will depend on the ability of Nick Marshall to escape pressure (and he is very dangerous in that aspect), but the Cougs should at least try to rattle him for 20-25 minutes of the football game and see how it goes. Can’t wait to see this play out.

Go Cougs

Tags: Auburn Tigers Featured Football Popular Washington State Cougars

  • Whoopass

    ” In other words, the Cougars plan on substituting frequently, not only for situation, but also for fatigue when necessary and likely at every defensive position. As I said, the luxury is finally afforded for Washington State to do this in several positions and I’m excited to see a lot of bodies on the field, unlike we would have been in the recent past.” -The fast pace no huddle that Aub will be running is designed to not let you sub frequently guy. They may get a couple in here and there, but it won’t be frequent i promise.You guys have no idea at what a pace those players will be moving at throughout this game!

    • Caleb Davis

      I agree but at the same time i dont know if they will have the speed they want to run at game time. I mean thats the plan but trust me it doesnt always work that way. Also dont forget wsu plays in the same conference as oregon, we know all about high paced offenses andyou better believe its nothing new to this team. You dont know speed until you play in the pac every week but you got it right thats what auburn is tryna do

      • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

        True that. Nobody runs at Oregon’s pace. Nobody.

      • Whoopass

        I’ve read on a couple of occasions since back in spring training that Malzhan has been running those guys at a faster pace than expected in their games. And I’m pretty sure that they WILL slow it down to regroup at times. Just as they did in 2010 against Oregon. But I did forget about the fact that the PAC 12 is use to these kinda offenses. Let me say this tho. I’m about 45 mins away from Jordon Hare stadium and the humidity is a mofo down here!!! Even at night. Not that Aubs gonna need it.

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

      Whenever Auburn substitutes… and they WILL substitute, WSU is legally afforded the opportunity to substitute themselves. Aub won’t be running anywhere near the pace that you think they’ll be running, I promise you that. It’s a guarantee they can’t run at the pace they “want” to run with this system just implemented. I’ve seen it time and time again all over the country, first year is always the slowest. Look at Michigan when Rich Rod took over, they had to slow down frequently until midseason of year 2.

      • xvdfasdf

        One thing you may not realize: Auburn was running this exact system the year before last year. Same coach, same plays, same everything. This isn’t a completely new and unfamiliar system. Auburn was running it from 2009-2011.

        • Whoopass

          You just took those words right out of my mouth.

  • Whoopass

    Hands on hips, and mouths wide open!

  • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

    I forgot to mention that for the first time since I can remember, Washington State’s coaches are actually conditioning the kids for the rigors of this game. It’s not the same Wazzu team that would come in unprepared in the past for the heat and all that. I think this team will be in better shape to deal with the conditions than they ever have been.

  • George Means

    It will be imperative that the Cougs play Auburn’s game: Frequent substitutes, especially in the receiving corps. Auburn will not have the experience to keep up in the secondary IF Wazzu forces them to sprint constantly.

    Additionally, the boys from Pullman can remedy the substitution problem by keeping a scheduled rotation, especially with the linebackers. Coach Malzahn is known for running a balanced offense, it appears that success against him will be determined with game prep at that position.

    Additionally, keeping a team fresh can be linked directly to a controlled running game. Leach needs to have clock burning plays in his pocket this season, as they were notably absent last year. Keeping a lead in the 4th quarter is important, but allowing your defense a chance catch their wind on the sidelines is a luxury that hampered the Cougs last year.

    • Whoopass

      Hands on hips, and mouths wide open!