Cougar Chalk Talk: Troubles with the screen pass

PULLMAN, Wash. — In last weeks loss to Utah, Quarterback Cam Ward was 27/31 for 222 yards and a touchdown.  At first glance that looks like a pretty decent stat line, but a closer look shows just how conservative the offense really was.  Out of the 27 completions, 15 of those went for only five yards or less., and most of those short passes are part of the screen game that has been a big part of the offense this season.  Head coach Jake Dickert says Utah was the far more physical team on the perimeter on Thursday night.

“We’re not getting through enough progressions down the field and when you’re not getting production in your screen game when you expect those to be 5-6 yards to stay ahead of the chains we’re putting ourselves in some bad situations and some long 3rd downs and that’s why we can’t convert and keep things moving,” said Dickert at a press conference earlier this week

And while it’s been frustrating to watch the offense struggle to move the ball down the field with so many short passes, the players recognize what they need to do in order to stay out on the field and turn long drives into points.

“Just trusting our technique our hand placement at the end of the day getting our hands on them first. Not letting them dictate where we want to go,” added Lincoln Victor a Wide Receiver.

With four games left in the regular season and bowl eligibility up for grabs, Dickert’s message right now isn’t just for 2022, but for the long term future of the program.

“Washington state football hasn’t had a normal recruiting cycle since 2018. So we’re sticking true to what we want to do and we haven’t fulfilled some of the expectations that we had, we think our offensive coaches are in there finding ways to make sure that we’re getting better each and every week, and we’ve been at a little bit of a stand still but I’m excited about what we can do this week and where we’re going and those guys haven’t allowed excuses to come in because it weakens the mission. So the players are taking ownership, the coaches are taking ownership and we’re moving forward,” said Dickert.

Washington State will kickoff against Stanford at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon from Palo Alto, the Cougars haven’t lost to the Cardinal since the 2015 season.