Dickert Continues Building 2022 Coaching Staff
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University Head Football Coach Jake Dickert continues to build his 2022 coaching staff, announcing Tuesday that A.J. Cooper and Jordan Malone will remain on the full-time coaching staff, Cooper continuing as the defensive run game coordinator and edges coach with Malone serving as a defensive assistant.
"I have worked with AJ Cooper for a number of years and I am excited to have him on our staff in an elevated role," said Dickert. "He has proven to be a great developer of talent as evident in the play of our Edge position this season and excited for what the future holds."
Cooper recently completed his second season on the Cougar staff, where he mentored a young edges group into one of the best in the Pac-12 Conference. Led by 2021 All-Pac-12 First-Team selection Ron Stone Jr. and 2021 honorable mention pick Brennan Jackson, the Cougar edge group combined for 153 tackles, 29 tackles-for-loss and 16.5 sacks. Midway through the 2021 season, Cooper added the defensive tackles to his duties due to changes in the Cougar coaching staff. Over those final seven games, the Cougar defense held opponents to more than three fewer points per game, allowed opponents 31.6 fewer yards per game, all while leading the Pac-12 for the season in turnover margin and defensive takeaways.
In his first season in Pullman, the Washington State defense produced four All-Pac-12 Conference selections including Edge Brennan Jackson who finished the shortened season fourth on team with 19 tackles and second with 3.5 tackles-for-loss and tied for the team lead. The Cougar defense led the league with eight forced fumbles and was fourth in rush defense (154.8), a 30-yard improvement from the previous season.
"Jordan has proven throughout the season that he possesses the knowledge and leadership to coach at the highest level and has been a great asset to our defensive secondary," said Dickert. "I am excited to have him continue in our program."
Malone finished his second season on the Cougar coaching staff last month, beginning the year as a defensive analyst before being elevated to cornerbacks coach on Oct. 22. During his seven games overseeing that unit, the Cougar pass defense showed dramatic improvement, allowing 193.7 yards per game over the final six contests, compared to 236.6 ypg in the first seven games. Under Malone, the Cougar defense picked off eight passes in the final six games.
Malone mentored senior Jaylen Watson, who garnered 2021 All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors for the second-straight season, while Watson and fellow senior Derrick Langford Jr. each had two interceptions in 2021.