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Washington State football: Cougars look to continue improvement against Beavers

Is it time for Washington State to rise? Our Jack Follman and Patrick Flower debate.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What are the biggest improvements you've seen from the Cougars from last season to this season?

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: They are running Leach's offense much more efficiently and effectively and their run defense, though it was underrated last year, is becoming one of the best in the conference with a strong front seven. Also, don't forget about how aggressive the pass defense has become, regularly grabbing interceptions and making hits.

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: The defensive line, anchored by Ioane Guata, is stout and showed serious signs of improvement over the last half of 2012 and this has continued through the offseason and into the 2013 season. The starting talent and depth is better at all positions. Leach and Breske's schemes are better understood as well which contributes to the overall improvement. When coming from the depths the Cougs have been to, simple talent improvement and playing hard goes a long way.

Look up and down the schedule. Rank the games from most winnable to least winnable.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: 1. Utah 2. Oregon State 3. at Arizona 4. Arizona State 5. at Washington 6. at Oregon. I think all are very winnable except at Oregon

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: 1-Oregon State, 2-Utah, 3-Arizona State, 4-Arizona, 5-Washington, 6-Oregon

What are you looking for from Washington State when they take the field against Oregon State? What are the most important factors for the Cougars to beat the Beavers?

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: I think we could see a game that is very similar to the one we just saw, but against a slightly better team. Like the Bears, the Beavers can really air the ball out with ease, but can't run the ball or stop anyone on defense. It's all going to come down to if the Cougars can pressure Sean Mannion, contain Brandin Cooks a little bit and keep them from lighting them up. The Beavers can go toe-to-toe with the Cougar passing game if they can't slow them down and could win a shootout.

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: I would like to see a 2nd receiver emerge amongst the WSU receiving corps. After Gabe Marks (41-478-4), there is a smattering of receivers and receptions - 10 players between 10-23 receptions. Leach likes the spread the ball around but I strongly believe opinion a consistent threat opposite of Marks will do wonders for passing efficiency while WSU waits for a run game to emerge. Vince Mayle had a pseudo-coming out party against Cal. If he wants to be it he'll need to be more consistent. I am most looking most forward to seeing what the Washington State DBs can do to stop OSU QB Sean Mannion and WR Brandin Cooks. Both players lead the nation in yards at their respective position - after taking last week off. Good luck Cougs.