Was weather or coaching the bigger factor in the Apple Cup?
After having the weekend to contemplate the 2018 Apple Cup, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk went to work Monday figuring out what the bigger factor was in the UW Huskies’ 28-15 win over the WSU Cougars: weather or coaching.
Perhaps the two go hand-in-hand. After all, it was the pass-heavy Cougars who struggled on offense while a snowstorm overtook their home stadium, so maybe they should have been ready for it.
“If they play on a sunny day, in nice weather, I think maybe it’s closer,” Mike Salk said. “Maybe the Cougs beat them in better weather. But you know what? That’s part of the game of football. And if you want to run an Air Raid offense in Pullman, you better be prepared for bad weather come the end of the year.”
Brock Huard, who served as a color analyst for two WSU games on ESPN leading into the Apple Cup, had predicted the Cougs would snap a five-year losing streak against the Huskies last Friday, but he also had considered that weather could prevent that from happening.
“I thought the Cougars would win it in the fourth quarter, and ultimately they did not,” Huard said. “The only caveat was the weather – that was going to be the forecast, and it wreaked some havoc.”
Not that Huard heard any Cougars using that as an excuse.
“I don’t think those guys used that necessarily as an excuse. I didn’t hear any of them,” he said of the Cougars. “I didn’t hear Gardner (Minshew), I didn’t hear (Mike) Leach, I didn’t hear any of them (complain about the weather). And many times you get in inclement weather, it should actually benefit the offense, like it did for Drew Bledsoe in 1992. You know where you’re running, you know where you’re going, the defense has to be the one that’s adjusting.”
As for coaching, Huard does credit the Huskies’ staff for pushing the right buttons in Pullman.
“I will say it was the first time this season that I would point to that Huskies’ offensive scheme and say yeah, they out-coached them. They put their best people on some of the worst matchups for Washington State,” Huard said. “I thought from a scheme standpoint, they feel great about that (defensive) plan… but more importantly, I thought (UW offensive coordinator) Bush Hamdan and that offense put together a plan that got after Washington State and took advantage of them, even in that weather, to find a way to win.”
You can listen to the full Brock and Salk segment on the Apple Cup at this link.