Washington State Football: 6 Palpable Measures of Success for 2013

2 of 2

Putting the Opposing Punter on the Field

There’s no way around this, if they want to be considered better the Cougs’ defense must get off the field on 3rd down! In 2012, opponents converted 83 of 183 third downs for 45.36%, simply terrible. On 4th down teams then converted 7 of 15 for an even heftier 46.67%. This ties directly into defensive points allowed, where the Cougars served up 33.7 per.

Leach’s offense could use more time on the field, so putting the opposing punter on the field more often is key. In fact the Cougs punted 63 times to their opponents 55 over the course of the season. The Cougs also went for it on 4th down 27 more times and only converted 12, which is pretty typical of a Leach offense. To top it off, WSU was -9 in the turnover department, which totals an advantage of 32 extra possessions for Cougar opponents.

The point is, the Cougs’ defense need to give the ball back to the offense more than the offense gives it back to the other team in 2013.

Avoid the Costly Mistake

Whether it be staying away from crucial penalties, avoiding that throw into triple coverage by Connor Halliday or avoiding that dropped football while the Cougs are in the midst of a rally, the costly mistake must be avoided in 2013. This isn’t to say that the Cougars can’t make mistakes, there are plenty to be made to be sure. Last year there were far too many early down turnovers, late down penalties and late game missed blocking assignments to be successful. Limiting these will be a key to measuring success in 2012.

Beat the Huskies or Beavers

Both Oregon State and Washington are going to be solid and of course these are the two true rivalries in-conference for WSU, beating one of them is a must. I almost thought about putting “beat BOTH” but that’s simply not a fair expectation. All that we ask is that the Cougars don’t regress from a season ago, where they played the Beavs tough in Corvallis and then of course rallied to beat the Huskies. It would be acceptable to upset OSU at home but not get UW in the first Apple Cup in the new Husky Stadium. It would also be acceptable to do it the other way.

In general, it should be pretty easy to measure these in 2013, just by looking at the win column, but there’s more to it. The Cougs have the talent to compete in the very competitive Pac-12, but turning that into success is a whole other issue that comes down to who makes more plays and less mistakes over the course of 60 minutes.

Go Cougs!