Washington State defense getting up to speed
The Cougars have been working on some fast-paced defense, because Auburn coach Gus Malzahn — as well as a handful of Pac-12 coaches — want to snap the ball as quickly as possible on every play.
PULLMAN, Wash. — The Cougars have been working on some fast-paced defense, because Auburn coach Gus Malzahn — as well as a handful of Pac-12 coaches — want to snap the ball as quickly as possible on every play.
But as a pair of WSU defensive coaches said Wednesday, it’s not just about Auburn. It’s about preparing the defense to play as fast as necessary in every game. And about conditioning them so they can last an entire season.
Said linebackers coach Ken Wilson: “I think you work on it all the way up to the last few days, and you worry about it the whole time. We’re doing everything that anybody’s thought of. We’re doing tempo in practice, we’re making them run to the sideline and back between plays, switching defenses every play in some periods, and then we’re making them go 12- to 15-play drives.”
As far as preparing for a mobile quarterback like Nick Marshall?
“You have to know your assignments,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to know what gaps are going to be open, (we’re a) big blitz movement team so you’ve got to know where those fault lines are in the defense and how long they’re going to be there so you don’t leave before those plays are over.”
Defensive line coach Joe Salave’a said he’s trying to get his group up to speed, too. He said their conditioning isn’t quite where he would like it to be, but that ideally, he’d like to avoid rotating too many players.