Montana St Washington St Football

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk has been a thorn in Oregon State's side the last three seasons.

Young Kwak, The Associated Press

The Oregon State defense is in the midst of shifting gears this week in preparation for Washington State.

The Beavers will go up against the Cougars' Air Raid offense in Pullman on Saturday, which represents a big change from Minnesota's grind-it-out ground game.

"Washington State's a whole different animal than what we saw last week (against Minnesota) and so we've got to adjust everything we do to their offense," defensive coordinator Kevin Clune said. "And (quarterback) Luke Falk is a very good player. And so we've got to deal with all the stuff that he brings to the table: the receivers, the running backs, everything."

Falk has tormented the Beavers since his first start as a college quarterback. That was at OSU in 2014, when Falk came out and completed 44 of 61 passes for 471 yards and five touchdowns.

The next season he was 39 of 50 for 407 yards and six scores; last year he threw for 415 yards on 33-of-46 passing with five touchdowns.

Clune said Falk's secret to success is patience.

"He knows exactly what he wants to do," Clune said. "When he sees a defense that he knows, he knows exactly where he wants to go. He's got the patience to do that. If he doesn't like what he sees, he finds those running backs to dump it off. I think one of the running backs is the leading receiver right now. And so they're a dual threat. So Luke has patience, he finds his guys and he knows what to do."

Good practices

Coach Gary Andersen and his coordinators have commented on how well the Beavers have practiced this season.

Clune said Wednesday's practice was no different.

"These kids practice very well and very hard and we had a good practice today," he said. "Nothing's perfect on a Wednesday, but they're learning and they're hustling around and want to hit and want to play."

"Typically we've had very good Thursdays and very good Fridays. And then Saturdays we've got to prove it. We've got to go out there and prove it to everybody. We've got to play 60 minutes of ball."

Clune was asked why those good practices have not translated to better play on game days.

"Maturity and discipline and all those things, those cliches that get talked about. You've got to do it for 60 minutes," he said. "We lose our eyes on this play or that play and it could go. We've had examples of that. And so we've got to be disciplined and our eye discipline has got to be perfect.

"We've got to be gap disciplined in the run game and all those different things and it's got to be proven on Saturdays. You can do it out here all you want, but nobody sees this. It matters on Saturdays and we've got to get it done."

Getting a shot

With cornerback Dwayne Williams out for the season and fellow corner Xavier Crawford banged up, the Beavers are going into Pullman to face Falk and the WSU offense with a new crew.

In addition to Kyle White and Jay Irvine, Clune said freshman Isaiah Dunn and sophomore Shawn Wilson could get called.

"Those guys have got to find a way and step up and make an impact," Clune said.

"It's a shame that Dwayne went down that way this early and all that, but those guys have got to step up and this is the week to do it."


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