College Football is back! Oh my what excitement is in the air! This year the Washington State Cougar football team kicks off at Auburn.
Week 1 is sure to answer several questions for both squads but let’s focus on WSU for now. The Cougars are coming off a very disappointing 3-9 season last year. The only thing that made Washington State’s season worth watching was a thrilling overtime victory against then #25 ranked Washington.
All that seems like an eternity ago as we prepare for the first game of the season to begin on Saturday. Washington State is a completely renewed and revamped team, they have much better size and the most notable improvement from last year is the offensive line.
Another key to Wazzu having a more successful season will be team chemistry. The Cougs struggled tough on the road for the most part of last season and a big part of that was chemistry. When a football team goes on the road all they have is each other. Washington State has grown A LOT as a team, hopefully this and their increase in talent and maturity will help them avoid falling apart like they did at BYU, ASU and Utah in 2012.
What Auburn Brings:
Auburn is a classic SEC team. They have a big defensive front and will be very difficult to run against at all. On the offensive side, Auburn really came up on a quarterback who will be very tough to defend. Nick Marshall, a JC transfer, won the starting spot and did some amazing things at that level (junior college). We still don’t know the true limits to this guys talents at this level but he will be a force to be reckoned with no doubt. Tre Mason, will also complement the up tempo play on the ground, making it hard for the Cougar defense to really sell out one way or another.
So what are the Cougar Trends this week?:
Washington State needs to focus on themselves. Just play your own game. Don’t focus so much on what Auburn wants to do and play your own game. The Cougs have come a LONG way in this Air-Raid offense and it’s not dependent upon just one guy. With plenty of weapons Washington State will find a way to move the ball in the air even if one guy doesn’t get going.
Wazzu can give themselves a good shot at victory if they establish some sort of ground game. It’s not our primary go-to but things would loosen up a lot if WSU can have just a little production on the ground. To put it simply, this will be a huge task!
The Offensive line needs to show their improvements all game. If Connor Halliday is constantly picking himself up off the ground, it will be difficult to do what the Cougs wanna do on Saturday. The worst Offensive line in the nation has to be improved for the Cougars to have any type of success.
Last but not least, DEFENSE. The Cougar defense had some high points and some very dark low points last year. They have been working very hard to improve this offseason. What the defense really needs to focus on this week is bouncing back. Auburn is going to have their way from time to time, it’s important for the defense to bounce back and play each series like it’s the first.
All in all I believe the Cougs have a chance to open up with a road win if they can keep composed for an entire game. It’s going to be very tough but it would be huge for this program to go get a win at Auburn. Let’s go get it done boys! GO COUGS!