Offensive coordinator Rob Likens talked to the media on Tuesday to discuss the bye week routine and the upcoming contest against Washington State
Jayden Daniels continues to impress
Likens is a very joyful human especially during his press conferences. When he speaks about his quarterback, Jayden Daniels, Likens can’t smile wide enough. On Tuesday, Likens was asked about how Daniels is with the Xs and Os and just his progression through the first half of his freshman season. Likens couldn’t start talking about him quick enough.
“He’s really special in that area,” Likens said. “He frustrates me a little bit because he’s only 18 years old, and so he does 18-year-old things that, you know what I mean? Him and my whole room, these guys at HBO, they were in there today. They can’t quit giggling at the television cameras. I’m like, ‘Come on, guys,’ you know what I’m saying? They think it’s funny, like they’re just kids. But one thing he’s able to do, he sees the field like a seasoned veteran. It’s just very unique.
“So he’s able to multitask too, he’s able to talk, listen to me while I’m talking, and he’s looking up the field, he’s looking around and he’s able to do all of those things. So he’s kind of way ahead of the game in that area. This weekend, I sat down and I watched a lot of football. I watched a lot of young quarterbacks, and I was like, ‘I’m glad we got this guy.’ I’ll say that.”
Dealing with the uncertainty of Washington State’s defense
Washington State also had a bye week last week, during that the team learned defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys stopped down from his position. Interim defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni, who also serves as the linebackers coach will share the duty with his co-interim defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Darcel McBath.
The Cougars plan to simply the scheme according to an article from the Spokesman Review. Bellantoni served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Florida Atlantic University from 2014-16.
Likens said he’s not going to put too much time into their past.
“All you can do is guess, and I don’t want to overthink it, but it does cross your mind and, ‘What happened? Why? What are they going to change? What is the change going to be?’ And we’re not going to know until the game starts. But it does lay in the back of your mind a little bit, but there’s really nothing you can do to prepare for that, because you don’t know.
“And you don’t want to just start chasing ghosts and, ‘Hey, where did that guy coach at 10 years ago? Let’s go look at some film from 1974.’ I’m not going to do that. You could do that if you wanted to, but we’re just, you know, we got to just go with what our game plan was before it happened.”
Guns ready for a shootout?
Washington State will rack up yards and score points. Any offense under Mike Leach is known to do so. The Cougars have scored 31 points or more in every game but one this season, meanwhile on the flip side, Arizona State has only scored 31 or more once.
Likens has seen progression from the offense thus far and he believes if the game flow heads down the path of an offensive battle, his squad will be ready.
“Our offense is built to be able to do that,” Likens said. “Now, you’re going to leave some people on some islands, you can’t protect people when you do that. If you get into a shooting match and you just start throwing it, yeah you’re going to see deficiencies at times and things like that. It is what it is though, you got to do what you got to do. I’m very comfortable getting in a game like that.”
He also believes his young wide receivers will contribute as well.
“It always helps when you’ve done something before,” he said. “So when Geordon Porter gets in a game, he’s already made that catch, he’s already done it. Another thing that it does when you spread the wealth around with your receivers is when they get out to practice, they practice harder because they know, ‘Hey man, I caught a ball in the last game. I have a shot at catching some balls in this next game.’ It’s not like, ‘Yeah, I’m the second-team guy, I’m never going to play. Coaches just put me in here because the other guy’s tired.’ So, it’s a totally different mindset. It brings more juice to practice, more excitement for those guys. And then when you have more excitement, more juice, it’s just an effect that just takes place and you get better and better. And that’s why I like to play a lot of guys at wide receiver.”