The “Air Raid” offense, one that the Ducks became all too familiar with after last season. Although the Cougars are off to a 1-2 start the offense is still averaging 42 points per game. Washington State is a team who of course is going to throw it early and often, just go ahead and ask Nick Aliotti his thoughts on that one. But in all seriousness, this is nothing new from the Cougars on offense this year. The Ducks will see the same, spread you out and throw the ball 50 times per game look that they have seen since Mike Leach moved to Pullman. The question will be if cornerbacks Ugo Amadi, Tyree Robinson, and Arrion Springs can make plays and avoid penalties on the long ball to ball out the Washington State offense.
Head Coach Mike Leach calls the plays for the Cougars as he is now in his fifth season. By now, he obviously knows the Oregon system well and finally got his first win against the program last season. In his four years at Washington State, Leach has brought the program to two bowl games with the most recent being last year against the Miami Hurricanes.
So far this season, the Washington State offense has yet to put up less than 500 total yards of offense in a game. The best output came on the road in week two as they put up 520 yards against the Boise State Broncos. Although I mentioned that we’d see a pass-heavy attack from the Cougars, something appeared to change last week. After putting up a combined 137 yards rushing in the first two games, the Cougars ran the ball 35 times for 228 yards and three touchdowns against the Idaho Vandals while only throwing the ball 44 times. Yes, one must say “only throwing the ball 44 times” when comparing that stat to the 71 passing attempts against Boise State.
So far this year, the Cougars are averaging 42 points per game and have combined for a season total of five rushing touchdowns and 11 passing touchdowns. The average yards hover around 515 yards per game and with the amount of plays Washington State gets off in a contest the Ducks might have their work cut out for them trying to contain Luke Falk and company. Something to note is that the Cougars have three turnovers on the year, all-coming by way of interception. Of course, they shoot themselves in the foot much like the Ducks do by way of penalty as they average close to 100 yards in penalties per contest.
I was hoping to avoid looking at the box score ever again but it’s worth taking a look at the 2015 offense performance by the Cougars in Eugene. While padded by two overtimes, the offense managed to put up 641 yards of total offense against he Ducks. The majority of this came from Luke Falk, who threw for 505 yards and 5 touchdowns with zero interceptions on 50 for 75 passing.
Three players to watch:
Luke Falk. #4, junior quarterback, 6’ 4”, 214 lbs.
An impressive 2015 campaign where he put up 38 touchdowns to 8 interceptions while throwing for over 4,500 yards. Of course it helps to put up these numbers when you throw so often, but Falk did it with success with a close to 70% completion percentage. Off to a good start again this year with his 11 touchdowns to two interceptions.
Gabe Marks, #9, senior wide receiver, 6’ 0”, 188 lbs.
With Dom Williams departing, Marks enters the season as the unquestioned go-to man for Luke Falk this year. Last year he put up a stellar 15 touchdowns with close to 1,200 yards. On many pre-season watch lists for top receiver in the conference. He’s lived up to the hype in the early going with his four touchdowns and 81 yards receiving per game.
Tavares Martin Jr., #8, sophomore wide receiver, 6’ 1”, 185 lbs.
With a rotating stable of backs to look at, I decided to take a better look at the Cougars second leading receiver in Martin. He actually has a better yards per catch than Marks as he gets over 11 yards per catch and averages near 70 yards per game. He’s only a sophomore but is very shift with his 6’1” 185 frame. Will be a player to watch in upcoming seasons.
· The Cougars do not release a depth chart