Simon Warby/The Stanford Daily
Despite losing to No. 19 Stanford Cardinal on the final drive of Saturday’s game, the WSU Cougar football team is encouraged by the effort they put forth.
The players came close to beating Stanford, and this has given them a hunger for winning the four remaining games on their schedule. However, any loss is still hard.
"When you put your all into something and you don’t get the outcome that you predict, it hurts pretty bad," linebacker Darryl Monroe said at Monday’s press conference. "This loss just tore us apart as a defense, like it just killed us but we can’t look back and we can’t dwell on the past. We just have got to keep moving forward."
Moral victories have also ceased to comfort the Cougars, and this is feeding their hunger. Monroe said a middle ground between winning and losing does not exist. As a redshirt freshman, moral victories do not satisfy him.
"I’m a competitor and I hate to lose, no matter what it is, rock-paper-scissors, tic-tac-toe, football game," Monroe said. "Going through high school, I learned that nothing is for granted and you’ve just got to cherish your time because those four years flew by fast."
Despite this, Monroe said the team feels like it is moving forward and improving each week.
"We want to keep growing without taking a step back, but not do it in baby steps," Monroe said. "We’ve got to just bring it together and try to take leaps and bounds, but in the same sense just be cautious of not taking a step back or falling down or being like a roller coaster on defense or offense."
Both Monroe and senior linebacker Travis Long said the coaching staff is preparing the team to play more consistently and effectively. Monroe talked about the defensive players bonding at the linebacker coaches’ house. He said the players have started to trust the coaches and the plays they call.
"We just kind of make a team beat us with something that (the coaches) haven’t showed us or a way that our coach hasn’t taught us to play it," Monroe said.
Long said players need to trust the coaches are putting the players in the best situations.
"The fact that there were fewer (mistakes) and we’re getting those corrected, that’s just improvement that we’ve been seeing, which is something that has been lacking around here in the past few years," Long said.
On a personal level, Long said there have been plenty of positive points to this season. He said he will take what he can in order build and grow.
The Cougars will try to win their first game in conference play when they travel to Utah on Saturday to play against the Utes, who have won only one game in the Pac-12 Conference this season.