Upon Further Review – WSU Highlights vs. Stanford

So as a soggy NW weekend winds down, what better time to roll out this week’s WSU highlights from the Stanford game?  Works for me.  Read on for the video goodness…

The quality should be OK this week, but please remember that the video source was not HD.  It was a good-old fashioned standard definition broadcast, so, it was the best we could do.  It should still be watchable at least! 

And, after watching it again and putting it together, a few more thoughts:

The turnovers were really bad.  No, I’m not blaming the loss solely on turnovers.  Let’s face it, Stanford is a better football team than WSU, much further along the path of relevancy.  As one of the announcers said during the game, WSU right now is where Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford team was back in 2007.  Competitive, showing real signs of life, but still too young to finish the deal.  22 of the 44 on the WSU two-deep are frosh and sophomore players, and that is really young!  The day is coming when they might squeak one out, but the turnovers killed any real shot of an upset.  Clean those things up, who knows, but they still have a ways to go.

Amazing in the comp’s between Bledsoe and Tuel.  Their numbers are damn near IDENTICAL at the same stage of their sophomore seasons, at the time, seven games in.  The offenses are different, heck, the game is just different than it was when Bledsoe wandered the Palouse almost 20 years ago (….has it really been THAT long since Bledsoe was playing??  WOW!).  But despite being sacked the most times in the Pac-10 this year – and it’s not even close – Tuel is stepping up and playing some very good football right now!

For an example, look at the TD pass he threw to Karstetter, at the 3-minute mark of the video.  You see Tuel look left, left, left, then fire a rope on the slant to Karstetter on the right.  Karstetter takes a shot and pays the price, but he hangs on for the TD.  But watch when they show the end-zone view, and you see the safety cheating as Tuel looks left, left, left.  Looking off the safety is a “veteran” move, and not something you normally see out of a true sophomore QB.  Earlier in the year I know many people criticized Tuel a little bit for having lock-on-itis, but that TD throw is exhibit A that he is taking some big steps forward. 

Didn’t see a ton of “pistol” offense yesterday, did you all notice that?  They did do it a few times, but it seems like they are kind of getting away from it a little more and more each week.  And I know I saw more “heavy” sets, with a couple of backs and some tight ends on occasion.  But still, pistol or not, the meat-n-potatoes of this offense is when they are in the four wide receiver set.  Notice all the highlights, almost everything really good happens when they are in those four-wides. 

The snaps looked better overall.  Still not perfect from Williams at center, but I didn’t notice Tuel straining a bunch just to get the snap.  PROGRESS!!!  :)

Jared Karstetter is looking like an All-Pac-10 type wide receiver.  He probably won’t get all league honors this year, as there are several with better overall numbers than Karstetter (Criner at AZ, Kearse at UW, etc).  But if he doesn’t get first team this year, he’s going to get it in 2011.  The guy is just continuing to evolve into a major headache with his size, surprising quickness, and good athleticism to go up and get the ball.  No doubt he is Tuel’s security blanket, and with two 100+ yard games in his last three, the guy is just making plays.  He combines with Wilson as a wicked-HUGE two-headed “MONSTAH” on the outside of the offense on both sides of the ball. 

And Marquess Wilson, wow, just wow. Nearly 800 yards receiving in eight games, 19.4 yards per catch, five 100+ yards games this year, it’s just remarkable the kind of player he is.  With the proficiency for the deep ball, and such an incredible ability to contort his body to make catches, he is going to give defensive coordinators nightmares in the days ahead.  He’s just that kind of player where when all else fails, you still have to worry about Tuel throwing it deep to Wilson on a streak.  On that last long TD pass of 74 yards, Stanford gave safety help on the play, and Wilson STILL got behind them!  That’s when you know it’s good, when the defense is actually trying to stop it and they still can’t.  That’s when you know you are on to something really, really good.

Finally, the young defenders were pretty good again.  Deone Bucannon with 15 more tackles, plus a TD-saving pass breakup that would have easily gone for six.  Mizell had six tackles and was physical too.  Still a long way to go, but they are growing up.

That’s it for now.  Even after the words and debates and all that goes with being a college football fan, it’s still cool to just watch the highlights and make your own judgements, know what I mean? 

As always, GO COUGS!