A lot of people think it’s thin back there but there’s a lot of competition and those are guys that have been competing since day 1
-Deone Bucannon on the Cougar secondary.
With the 2014-2015 Washington State football season approaching slowly but surely, a lot of people are rightfully excited about what Wazzu is FINALLY capable of this season. When you talk to everyone they will surely say offensively, we’re not worried. Now when you talk about the Cougs defense, that’s a different story.
The Cougars lost a lot in their secondary when the season ended last year. They watched 11 ints walk out the door when Damante Horton and Deone Bucannon graduated. They also lost a corner they were comfortable with in Nolan Washington. Looking at that and hearing very little buzz around the corner position throughout the offseason has led Coug fans to nervously ignore talks of the secondary.
I think the hardest thing for people to realize and understand is what Washington State WAS as compared to what they ARE. I suppose it’s tough when you wear the same colors and play in the same stadium as the, joke of the pac-10/pac-12, for the last several years, right up until just about last year. Ladies and Gents, these Cougars aren’t the same.
Here’s something to think about. The secondary of any football team, is very much like the average Joe who goes to work every day. No one realizes what he does, until he doesn’t do it. In fact at any level of football, the secondary has to be extreme, loud and accomplish something extraordinary in order to earn recognition.
Think about the Legion of Boom for a second. When it came to Seahawk football, before the L.O.B earned it’s nickname, not a lot of people where buzzing about the secondary. It took some very defining moments for Hawk fans to fall in love with their secondary and then they earned their pet name, a love indeed. The point is, it took a secondary that did MORE than their job before anyone even thought about it. Take it from someone who’s played in the secondary, it isn’t easy to be recognized for good things back there.
Now back to the Cougs. While a lot was lost in the defensive backfield, I tend to think of the New Mexico Bowl. In my mind, dang things could get a lot better. If you don’t believe me think about what Deone Bucannon said about the new secondary, the guys we haven’t seen in action yet:
Me and Damante did a good job raising the young kids, so I’m not worried about it, I actually think it’s one of the thickest positions on our team.
Deone makes an interesting point and it’s something we can really be at ease with. When he talks about these guys raising the younger kids it made me think. Year after year no DB that came through here after the 2004 season had an example in a peer of what it is to be an impact player in the Pac-12. Now we have all these players who sat behind and learned from a 1st round NFL draft pick? I’ve got to believe things aren’t that bad back there. Now it’s just about game experience.
In closing this is why I’m excited about our secondary in 2014. Last year our secondary created a lot of turnovers, but it wasn’t without cost. Most of the turnovers came from experience and they were able to jump routes and beat receivers to a few key balls. What they weren’t good at (and we knew this for years) was consistently covering and being able to keep up with these Pac-12 receivers. I mean there were a lot of times when we had to watch teams put up huge numbers (Colorado State) without even trying! Not a DB in the screen while a receiver danced into the end zone.
This year I expect less interceptions but more coverage. I think our secondary will be improved in that aspect and we’ll see a lot less of those wide open touchdown passes that you’d see in a 7-on-7 drill. I expect Daquawn Brown to be a big part of that but we also have some new corners coming in to be excited about (stay tuned). So with that I’ll just say if Deone isn’t worried, I’m not worried. Go Cougs!