Washington State football: How the Cougars matchup against each UW unit

Gardner Minshew II, Washington State football. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
Gardner Minshew II, Washington State football. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images) /
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Washington State football
Calvin Jackson Jr., Washington State football. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images) /

vs. Washington defensive line

Washington has a physical defense and it starts up front. They will get a good push up front, but UW uses a three-man line. That isn’t enough to get heat on Gardner Minshew, even if that line includes studs like Greg Gaines and Levi Onwuzurike. Leach will call run pays if he thinks the opponent doesn’t have enough men in the box. Go back to the USC game to see how Minshew and Leach adjusted to defensive changes in the box.

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vs. Washington linebackers

Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water and the other third feels like its covered by Huskies middle linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven. The two-time 2018 PAC-12 defensive player of the week is everywhere. OLB Tevis Bartlett is pretty darn good too. It’s a strong group that can do many things. Safety Taylor Rapp will often come up and play like a linebacker. That might create some havoc with Washington State’s shallow crossing routes.

vs. Washington defensive backs

This is the marquis mat chup of the game. UW may have the best set of defensive backs in the nation. Additionally, Washington likes to go with a five defensive back set, which may be somewhat problematic for Minshew. The Wazzu receivers are going to have their hands full on Friday night. On the positive side, the Cougs go two-deep at each receiver slot and can run the D-backs ragged all day. It will be fun to see how Easop Winston, Tay Martin, and the rest play against UW’s corners.

Playing against the Washington defense

This game sets up as an interesting chess match between the Cougars offense and UW’s defense. Washington doesn’t normally stuff the box, so Wazzu may run the ball more than they usually do. If James Williams and Max Borghi can be effective, they will suck the defensive backs in, then it’s hello Air Raid.

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