Sunday offered more clarity as to what Nick Rolovich’s Washington State staff will look like in 2020, and more specifically, what the Cougars will look like on defense. According to multiple reports, Rolovich is bringing Jake Dickert to Pullman to be WSU’s defensive coordinator, along with two assistant coaches, AJ Cooper and John Richardson.
What will WSU’s defense look like with Dickert? These 10 numbers from the DC’s time at Wyoming could offer a few early clues.
16 – The Cowboys ranked 43rd in total defense, allowing 363.8 yards per game last season, but they locked down opponents once they reached the 20-yard line, allowing points on just 68 percent of trips inside the red zone. Opponents scored touchdowns on 16 of 45 red zone trips.
256.7 – Wyoming’s passing defense wasn’t anything to write home about, which could be a concern in a Pac-12 Conference where spread concepts and passing offenses are far more prevalent. The Cowboys gave up 256.7 passing yards per game and were 105th nationally in that category.
31 – Dickert’s unit allowed 31 points in the season opener against an opponent from the SEC, Missouri, but didn’t allow more than that the rest of the way. Opposing totals were as follows: 31, 14, 16, 24, 17, 26, 10, 3, 20, 26, 7, 20, 17.
162 – WSU fans probably hope they won’t have to encounter Air Force anytime soon, but if the Cougars see the triple-option again, they may be better-suited to stop it. Before the Falcons rushed for 371 yards and four touchdowns in the Cheez-It Bowl, they were held to 162 and one touchdown in the regular season finale against Wyoming.
11 – Generally speaking, the Cowboys were strong against the run in 2019, ranking 11th in the FBS with 10 rushing TDs allowed and also 11th in rushing defense, at just 107.1 yards per game allowed.
148 – As Rolovich was reintroducing the run-and-shoot at Hawaii, his offense stumbled in a week-six matchup against Wyoming, when Dickert was the Cowboys’ safeties coach. The Rainbow Warriors won, 17-13, but were held to three points in the first half and only threw for 148 yards.
3 – In each of Dickert’s three seasons as a safeties coach/defensive coordinator at Wyoming, the Cowboys have placed a safety on the All-Mountain West First Team. Andrew Wingard, whose 454 tackles tied the MWC career record, was recognized in 2017 and ’18, while Alijah Halliburton earned the honor in 2019, totaling 123 tackles. Another one of Dickert’s Wyoming safeties, Marcus Epps, was drafted in 2019 by Philadelphia.
30 – During Dickert’s lone season as the Cowboys’ linebackers coach, Wyoming placed senior linebacker Logan Wilson – No. 30 – on the All-Mountain West First Team. Wilson finished the year with 97 tackles and three interceptions.
1,002 – Dickert’s stud safeties have been among the most physical in the country these last three seasons. Wingard (454), Epps (325) and Halliburton (223) combined to make 1,002 career tackles.
38 – In 2017, Dickert’s first year as a safeties coach in Laramie, nobody turned opponents over more than the Cowboys, who led the country with 38 takeaways. Wyoming scooped up an FBS-high 18 fumbles and they were No. 2 nationally with 20 interceptions.
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