Friday, October 29, 2004

Recruiting rumors?

I have heard from a couple of people now, we'll call them "sources", that say Stewart is very serious now about becoming a Coug. Needless to say this weekend is gigantic with the official visit. There is even another rumor making the rounds today that not only does Stewart lean towards WSU, but another all-state offensive lineman that has verbally committed elsewhere may have in fact de-committed yesterday to the school he was going to go to, with the inside knowledge that with Stewart heading to Pullman, he wants to go with him!

I know, lots of speculation, and until any announcement is official, we need to hold off on any parades. Inside sources are just what they are, people that can be considered close to the situation or have heard very promising things from people who would actually know. But rumor-mongering can be a dangerous thing. All I know is late last night and early today, there have been some really positive feelings about Mr. Stewart and WSU!

Watch, now he'll go commit to Florida when Spurrier takes the job....

On the field - Something tells me we're going to give these guys a game. I don't think we'll win, mind you, and in fact the final score might look worse than the game actually was, but I just have a gut feeling we're going to play them tough. Much like it took SC a half to really wake up last week, I think we'll probably see much of the same thing. Remember, SC hasn't been on the road for a while now, they played 3 straight home games (CAL, ASU and UW) in warm weather, and two of those were big, emotional wins. This is a whole different deal. Call me crazy, but if it's 31-17 as the final score with them getting a TD very late in the game to salt it away, I wouldn't be surprised. It might even come down to us getting the ball down a score and driving, only to see Brink float one into the flat that gets run back for 6 and there's your ballgame, but I really think for some strange, freaky feeling that the Cougs are going to be ready on Saturday.

All I know is, the game plan this year is the same as it was last year - MAKE MATT Leinart MOVE! If he has all day to set up back there, with the young-but-talented WR's he has, he'll pick the Cougs apart. BUT, if you bring Scott Davis and Derting and Dildine in all sorts of combinations, and best of all, flush that big SOB, he's not the same QB. It's been shown on tape, make that guy move and he's nothing like he is when he can just have a picnic in the pocket. Combine that with the fact that USC has a young O-line, playing on the road before drunk WSU fans on Dad's weekend, well, WHO THE HELL KNOWS!??!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Recruiting and other updates galore

Found some good inside info on many players committed to WSU or thinking about it (yes, I broke down and bought an "inside" account for this stuff).

First, the big fish - Jonathon "SNOOP" Stewart.

He now has received full scholarship offers from Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee, on top of everyone else on the West coast. Jim Tressel has been calling him personally, and he gave him the offer 2 weeks ago. He is taking his full 5 visits before he commits anywhere, of course, and he is still wide open. Visit #1 is this coming weekend, at WSU for the SC game.

How do we rank in all this?? In a recent interview, he acknowledged that he DOES in fact have many friends that are already at WSU or are committed to playing football there next year, and he will be taking his trip with a few of those friends. But, he then says "the fact that I have a lot of friends there has NOTHING to do with my final decision. It is only 4 hours away from Olympia and I like what I've seen so far, but I'm still wide open." I also spoke with a UW higher-up this weekend that has good inside info that says WSU is right in there fighting for Stewart. Levenseller is the big key, as he has been recruiting him the most and the two have a good relationship since Stewart was at the WSU football camp. Stewart will join a stand-out list of athletes playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, January 15, 2005 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Many players commit to their teams during that game, using the stage of ESPN to announce their future plans. It's the same place that Aaron Klovas, last year's all-american lineman, picked the Ducks over the Cougs. So, we'll probably know for sure where he's headed by then, if not sooner? The thing to feel good about?? We're still high on the list.

Arkelon Hall - #20 rated QB from Fresno, Hall has been a vocal Coug commit since last summer and was part of the EA Sports Elite 11 camp. He's 6-2, 205, runs a 4.8 so he's quick, and is regarded as having a great arm. Also is tremendous in the west coast/one back hybrid offense, same as WSU runs right now. Through seven games this season, Hall has completed 90 of 148 passes for 1,569 yards and 15 TDs. Threw 34 TD's and only 5 picks last year. He will be visiting WSU officially this weekend, but he has been committed since the summer and it will only be to re-affirm his commitment. You can read into it that since he and Stewart are friends, that he will be working on him a little???

Dartangan Johnson - highly rated JC running back that has come out of nowhere to list the Cougs as the leader, ahead of USC! He's actively recruited by USC, Utah, Arizona, Missouri and the Cougs, and he claimed on 10/19 that the Cougs are the leader and he will officially visit (and commit??) in December. Might be the fallback if we miss out on Snoop. Check out the vitals:

Height: 6-0
Weight: 215
40 time: 4.5
Bench: 305
Squat: 500
Clean: 280

His team is 4-1 and Johnson has 711 yards and five touchdowns on 120 carries.

Shelton Danzy - big commit that is selling WSU like crazy. Stats - 653 rushing yards in just 65 carries this year. His 10.0 yards per carry average is second-best in the entire Puget Sound region behind Bellevue's J.R. Hasty (13.0). With 10 TDs, Danzy is the second-leading scorer in the Metro League. Danzy projects as a cornerback at Washington State. He is scheduled to take his official recruiting visit to Pullman on Saturday. Also a close friend of Jonathan Stewart.

Marcus Burton - big-time Texas high school linebacker, just committed to WSU on 10/18. 6-2, 228, runs a 4.6 40. Chose the Cougs over Oklahoma, Okie State, Colorado, Arkansas and Missouri, among others. Considered a big "get" and one that some attribute to the Texas Holiday Bowl victory last year, putting the Cougs on the radar in the state of Texas.

Some of his quotes: What was it about the situation at Pullman that appealed to Burton? "When I watched them play, their defense played very aggressively," he said. "They did a lot of blitzing and sent their linebackers off the edge a lot. I feel like that's one of my strongest attributes - attacking from off the edge. I feel I'll be able to contribute doing that, maybe as an outside linebacker." So how did Burton break the news? "I called Coach (Leon) Burtnett first, but then he found Coach (Bill) Doba and we all talked about it," said Burton. "They were pretty excited about it. They were happy that I made the choice and they said that they are looking forward to seeing me there."

Other stuff is happening, and this is considered a big visit weekend. Hope for at least a respectable showing against the #1 team in America. Also hope the weather holds? Latest word is upper 30's with rain/mixed snow.

On to the field - do you think we can hang with USC? I think we'll be in it for a little while, but with that D-line and all that speed, period, WOW comes to mind. As Bill Doba said about Reggie Bush, if you get a linebacker on him, "you might as well start singing their fight song, because it'll be playing shortly!" Great quote.

Just hope they don't feel like being in Pullman in cruddy weather, and maybe this is a pothole game for them? You know we'll be fired up to play them, that's for damn sure. Hey, stranger things have happened, so why not? Still, we are beat up pretty bad. Would I like our chances with a healthy Swogger??? Of course. Brink's weenie arm doesn't bode well for throwing the ball down the field, but in reality, he did have some decent moments last week. It's not like he's as bad as Bonnell or Stanback at UW (they are HORRIBLE).

Anyway, injuries are part of college football, and this year it hurts more than others, being so young to begin with. So this season has gone from a mission for a bowl game when we were 3-1, to 3 games later, already looking ahead to 2005 and recruiting. Let's just hope that things get better as these guys get time on the field, and best of all, the young players IMPROVE as the season goes on. They can really be part of something special starting next year and beyond, but the hard work starts now.

Doba, on Derting and his play in the middle thus far:

"He's playing well," Doba emphasized. "He's got two freshman tackles there in front of him (most of the year) and that makes it tough, but he's doing a nice job. He overran a few things, I think he was just trying to make some plays and he's just getting back with that wrist healing up." Derting has been unable to to do any weightlifting with that arm, having worn a cast most of the season as the dislocation healed. He has only recently been able to return to the weight room and get in his normal workout.

Sounds like the wrist might have been more of a hinderance than some thought. Still, Doda admitted to talking to Akey and others last week about moving Will back to the outside, where he can be more free to make plays. Doba said that at MLB, it's just not a big-play spot for this defense, and he said by design we try to funnel things outside where our speed on D can make plays. Therefore you see Scott Davis leading the team in tackles, but Doba is quick to point out that Davis is having a great year, but also says that he is benefitting from scheme as well. So we'll see.

I'll say this - from the games I've watched this year, it's obvious that Derting is just not making the same amount of big plays that he made last year. Maybe he's just not a middle linebacker. Or, worse, maybe there is just nobody capable behind him to play in the middle? Personally I'd like to see Brian Hall play in the middle, and move Derting back outside with Davis and cut them loose. Combine that with the weakness our D has shown, well, it's bad.

I heard Jim Walden say something interesting on Saturday, and he mentioned it about our blitzes. He said he heard that the last 3 games, opposing coaches have figured something out with our D and Derting specifically. He said that defensively they can tell when Derting is going to blitz, and it's not just Derting but some other thing are happening defensively that show the blitz is coming. When they see that, he said QB's have been hot-routing into some quick slants to the area that Derting is vacating, and our safety play has been poor of late and we're not covering the area Derting is leaving open. Or they audible into a quick-hitter or a screen or a shovel pass to counter the aggressiveness, and we've been KILLED the last 3 games by those types of plays. Who knows.

Hey, we have good coaches, they've seen what's happened the last few games, they'll make adjustments. The question is, are we good enough to overcome a brutal schedule down the stretch? Nothing is impossible. ASU and UCLA are tough road games, but they aren't exactly perfect either. UCLA gave up 31 points to an awful UW team. ASU lost 45-7 to USC. So it's not impossible. Are both teams better than WSU? Yes. Can they be beaten? Of course. Just think, it would be nice going into the Apple Cup at 5-5 with a win meaning a bowl game, while UW comes in 2-8 with the vultures circling Grimmace on the sidelines.



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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Did that REALLY just happen???

Is this some sort of dream, or did the RedSox really come back from a 3-0 deficit, including a 19-8 humiliation at Fenway Park in Game 3??

WOW. We just saw the greatest comeback in the history of sports. AMAZING. Nice to see former M's carrying the load too (Derek Lowe, 6 IP, 1 HIT, Jason Varitek, .275 for the series and caught every inning, and Big Papi was unstoppable, 11 RBI and .429). Sigh. Hey, at least we've got GROVER to lead us to Cleveland-like successes!


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Monday, October 18, 2004

SWOGGER OUT FOR THE YEAR

Breaking news, via the Spokesman-Review:

WSU's Swogger out for the year

PULLMAN — Washington State quarterback Josh Swogger has a broken bone in his left foot that will require surgery, ending the sophomore’s 2004 season prematurely.
X-rays and a CT scan taken Sunday night revealed a fracture in the navicular, a bone on the inside of the foot just inside the arch. “He’s going to need surgery,” team trainer Bill Drake said Monday morning. “He’s out for the season.”

Early estimates — though nothing is certain until the surgery is completed, most likely later this week — put Swogger’s rehabilitation schedule in the three- to six-month range. The quarterback will be on crutches for a significant portion of that time to keep weight off the foot.

As a result of the injury, the already-thin Cougars will have to turn to backup Alex Brink as their starter. Brink, a redshirt freshman, has played in two games at quarterback this season and completed 13-of-25 passes for 278 yards, including one touchdown and one interception.
Swogger has gone 91-of-193 on the year, tossing 13 touchdown passes and seven interceptions.


SO....................what happens the rest of the way? Who frickin' knows??!?!? They might rally around Brink, I mean stranger things have happened. Realistically? I have a hard time actually seeing Brink leading them to any wins at all. We'll be underdogs for every game the rest of the way, minus the Apple Cup, which will probably be a pick'em in the biggest who-cares AC of all-time.

So, in looking at Swoggs and his perfomance as the starter - while he had some big moments, including comeback wins over UNM and ARIZ with late game TD passes, he also had such lousy streaks this year as well that maybe it was time for some new blood anyway? Sure, his TD-to-int ratio was positive, as was the overall passing yardage numbers (over 1,000), but 47% completion percentage? In an offense that likes to throw the ball around in a modified west-coast offense, 47% just isn't good enough. The offense is not an Ohio State, grind it out and we'll throw it 15 times a game offense, obviously. So when you are relying on your QB to complete a 5-7 yard pass on first down, it's the same as Wisconsin running for 5 yards off tackle. But when you are expecting 65% completion rate, and you're only getting 47%? That leads to a lot of 2nd-and-10's.

THEN again, as Michael and I discussed, who the heck are we on offense? Are we a west-coast hybrid offense that needs the 5-yard completion to be successful? Or are we becoming a running team with the 2 backs that we saw - a lot - on Saturday, and the running game ran for 180 yards??

Now, sure, lots of drops early in the year as he had a brand new stable of receivers to throw to, and they were learning on the job, just as he was, AND there was zero running game for the first 4 games. But, looking at his performance the last few weeks, you have to be concerned about his completions being down, but also, as the competition was improving, so were his int's. Is it because he was banged up? Was he trying to force the action more than earlier in the year? He started out with 9 TD's and 2 INT's, but he had thrown 4 TD's and 4 INT's the last 2 games. A sign of things to come?? We'll never know.

Bottom line? I guess you could dissect his performance to death, go over game tapes, etc, pointing out what he did right and what he did wrong. Or, you just say, "he's a young QB with a great arm who proved he has guts by responding not only to tough situations on the road, but also to a mini QB-controversy and came through that pretty well." Even if the team doesn't win another game the rest of the way, you have to think that they will benefit next year and beyond based on what Swoggs was able to accomplish on the field this year.

ON a side note - BOY is this the 2000 season all over again or what?!?!? Up-and-down, hot-and-cold, you just can go on and on and on. Same young nucleaus trying to figure it out on the fly. Great performances (wins over Utah and USC on the road, not easy) combined with terrible losses (lost to Idaho in Pullman and got destroyed at Oregon State and in the Apple Cup, the worst game I've ever seen WSU play in my lifetime.). QB gets injured, backup takes over. A couple of heartbreak losses already, similar to the 3 OT losses in 2000, including the shootout loss to Oregon this year, comparable to 53-47 loss at Arizona in 2000; tough, defensive loss decided late vs. Stanford, comparable to the 3-point OT loss to Oregon when we missed two field goals in OT.

As much as we were excited about being a winning program that is just used to winning, period, the writing was pretty much on the wall after the Colorado game. We are/were going to really struggle at times to do anything consistenly, and guess what???? THAT'S WHAT YOUNG TEAMS DO! They are inconsistent week-to-week. The do some things where you go "Oh my god!" and they do some other things where you go ".......oh......my......GOD.....NO!"

I'll say this - where we sit today, if a year like 2000 happens this year, and it sure looks that way, and those experiences for so many young guys can lead to three more outstanding seasons coming up?? I'll take it! Hey, it could be worse. We could be UW......
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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

10/14 News-n-notes

Nice to see that the Stanford game has been picked for national TV. Here's this week's release:

http://wsucougars.collegesports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/101204aad.html

Good story today from the Times that talked about how much better the O-line has been playing. Just 1 sack in the last 3 games?? Wow. Although, Swogger is a big part of that, in that yes, his completion percentage is down (46%), but he is very good at throwing the ball away. However, the injury news isn't great for old Swoggs, as it appears he is now also fighting a right ankle injury as well as the partially torn left knee ligament! Geez, what next? That WSU offense, just loves to get their QB's beaten to a pulp. Brandon said that he was noticably limping between plays, not a good sign for the rest of the year. We're one hit away from having Brink's sissy-arm try to get us to 6 wins!

Also sounds as though Ropati will be back this week, which will be a huge boost to the defensive interior. Brandon talked to me yesterday about the game and said late in the game, the d-line was just gassed and you could see them losing their aggressiveness as shovel-pass after shovel-pass kept them guessing instead of reacting. Clemens also had times when he had ALL FREAKIN' DAY to throw the ball. Brandon also said that flat-out, Akey was outcoached by Oregon. They were so good at having the TE delay, where he would hold as if he was blocking, then slip out over the middle uncovered. When we would blitz he would get way down field and the mismatch was there with the safety. When we sat back in coverage they would get him the ball in front of the coverage.

The bottom line? We just couldn't stop them when we had to. I guess you can look at it this way - If you would have told any Coug fan before the game that we would score 38 points and run for over 100 yards, ANYONE would have predicted a 14-point win. AND, if there is a bright side?? All those yards, all those big plays, all the ease that Oregon showed in the second half that they would not be stopped, the Cougs STILL nearly won that game! Oregon never actually led in the ballgame until there was just over 1 minute left in the game. There was a 4th-down that they converted that was actually a poor spot according to Jim on the broadcast (but consider the source) and that would have salted the game away, but woulda, coulda, shoulda.

One other thing on our defense. Maybe it really was smoke-n-mirrors for the first 4 games. Think about who they played and where they rank nationally on offense - New Mexico, with a QB that is incredibly green and NO passing game to speak of; Colorado, easily one of the most basic, one-dimensional offenses that you will ever see; Idaho, one of the worst D-1 teams, by a wide margin considerably less talented that our Cougs; and finally, Arizona, very much in the mold of Colorado, very basic and just not very talented. So, is it a case that Oregon just flat-out destroyed us with their schemes, and they outcoached Akey in a way we haven't seen since....well, since Oregon in 2001??? OR, is it a case where a lot of defenses could have padded stats against those 4 teams, and reality hit pretty hard on Saturday??

As Lawson said, Saturday night lays it all on the line for the rest of the season. Win that game, and you are suddenly 4-2 and feeling like you have righted the ship so to speak, and you are just 2 wins away from being bowl-eligible. You can even have some confidence that you will go in and win at OSU, given as badly as they have played this year and their year is now a lost cause for them, regardless if you play them at Reser or at home. Lose against Stanford?? You are 3-3, losing consecutive games for the first time since 2000, and staring at the rest of the schedule where you MIGHT be favored in just one more game, and that game being the Apple Cup where we know it's completely unpredictible! That's a lot of pressure for such a young team that is STILL trying to figure things out to have to win 3 of their last 5. NO PRESSURE! :)

I can't help but feel like this season is starting to look like the 2000 season all over again. A few losses early where they could have won, a shootout loss to Arizona (this year, it's Oregon) and then some heartbreakers down the stretch, including 3 OT losses to finish 4-7. We saw them start a lot of sophomores and juniors in 2000, so you had to feel good about the direction of the program even though it was a losing season. Then 2001 happened, we took off and never looked back.

So, ask yourself - If they happen to go 4-7 this year, but if they play well the rest of the way and show tremendous promise for another run at 10-win seasons the next 2-3 years, is that acceptable? Are we at that stage where it's ok to have a losing season if it means success for the next few years? Or are we at a stage, after the 10-win season streak, where a losing season is just NOT acceptable!?!?
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.com

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Friday, October 08, 2004

10/9 picks

I know it's late in the week, but it's FOOTBALL FRIDAY!

Lawson blew me out on the picks last week. I nailed the Auburn game but pretty much missed everything else. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I'll post the overall standings on Monday after this weekend's action. Here are the games, and my picks:

1) San Jose St @ UW - Huskies notch one of their two wins for 2004. It might be closer than expected, but come on - San Jose State winning at UW??? No way. UW 30, SJST 20.

2) Stanford @ Notre Dame - Tough one here. The Irish were humiliated vs. Purdue, but were more likely exposed for just not being very good. Stanford, meanwhile, well, you can make the argument that they are right there and top to bottom, as good as anyone in the conference. I love the Cardinal here. REVENGE from last year! Stanford 28, ND 17.

3) Arizona @ UCLA - The Bruins are better than I thought, that's for certain. Meanwhile Arizona has played extremely hard all year but don't have the record to show it. This is their first big road game, and while they'll play hard again, they'll also lose....again. UCLA 34, Zona 20.

4) The biggie - CAL @USC - Tempting to say "the wrong team is favored" and I really see this coming down to the last couple of minutes. I can't help but pick the Trojans, however, with the game at home and USC still mad about last year. Trojans prevail in a shootout, 33-30.

5) Finally, Oregon @ Cougs - Doba said it best earlier in the week, saying how big a game this is, and "if we can get by this one, the schedule sets up well for the rest of the year." Our Cougs are beat up, though, even with the bye week we have a lot of walking wounded.

Bienemenn will be lucky to get in for 10-15 plays. Boyd is out, Marty Martin is out, Riley Fitt-Chappell will miss the game, and now Matt Mullenix, backup d-lineman, is done for the year with a knee injury. Where it hurts more, though, is that Riley Fitt-Chappell and Troy Bienemenn are both snappers for field goals and punts! Field goals are our gigantic weakness, but not even having the regular snapper? Makes it that much more of a concern. We saw how that hurt last year at USC, as Bienemenn was hurt for the game, and Fitt-Chappell had two horrific snaps that cost the Cougs dearly. Cross your fingers!

On the other side, Oregon is 1-3 but they aren't as bad as the record indicates. They moved the ball at will against Indiana and dominated statistically, but lost the game by turning it over 7 times (!). They were overwhelmed in the 2nd half vs. Oklahoma, but that was just a 10-0 game at the half and they just wore down. ASU is one of the best teams in the conference, but Oregon moved the ball suprisingly well between the 20's, yet couldn't cash in.

They REALLY worry me. Clemens still makes mistakes, but he can also kill you. Their running game has really picked up with Whitehead. Their biggest weakness, though, is that their o-line can be considered a little "soft", and even according to Belotti, they don't have a superstar playmaker on either side of the ball. Oregon hasn't been scoring touchdowns, and are one of the worst red-zone teams in the conference as that lack of playmakers just kills them. Demetrius Williams was hyped coming in, but he has only 1 TD catch. That, my friends, is where the biggest difference is between WSU and Oregon.

We have arguably the best defensive player in the conference in Will Derting, and we know he will be all over the field. But offensively, Jason Hill is a rising star. He is one of the most explosive players in the conference, and with Oregon's secondary beat up this week, he could have another gigantic game.

On the downside, I'm worried, as usual, about the running game. It makes us SO MUCH BETTER when we can run the damn ball! Minus the regular tight ends, what will that do to the running game? Will we even TRY to run the ball against Oregon's strong d-line?? Are we going to stick with the shotgun for this week?? The last thing we want is Swogger to throw it 50 times a game on that bum knee.

Ok, add it all up, what do you see? The Cougs will pull it out. It won't be pretty, it might even be UGLY, but at the end of the day we'll make more plays and they'll make more mistakes. Cougs 27, Ducks 20.
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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Oregon game -n- stuff

First things first - let's not forget last year, shall we???


Now on to business - Here's this week's press release:

Oregon 10/9 release

Some interesting things to note:

1) Both Bienemenn and Boyd are listed as injured. Jesse Taylor is the starter at TE. Sounds like Bienemenn is going to be a game-time decision, but Boyd is probably out for the month.

2) Bumpus gets the start in the slot in place of Marty Martin. Get him the ball on the bubble screen, let's see what this kid can do in the open field! Just, please, all WR's, catch the ball!?!?!

3) Steve Cook is NOT listed as the starter at DT, but all indications are he will play a lot. He should have a special boot tomorrow in time for practice so he'll have a few days before the game to get used to it, but all indications are he'll be the starter. Ripoti meanwhile will not start and is extremely doubtful to play. The chances are better he'll return for Stanford, from what I've read the last few days.

4) Doba hinted at this last week, but Bruhn is still going to start. Any more 5 carry/1 yard performances with a couple of fumbles, however, and Bruhn might as well not even suit up! I'm sure we'll see a lot more Harrison and Thompson the rest of the year, especially on passing downs we'll see Harrison.

5) You hear a lot of Husky WHINE coming from Montlake about how young they are, but has anyone cared to look at the Cougs and how DAMN young we are!?!? Of the 24 players listed as starters (11 on both sides of the ball, plus both kickers), WSU starts 17 underclassmen this week!

Even more amazing, take a look at our complete skill-position players listed this week. Out of 18 "skill" position players (QB, RB, WR's and TE's), did you know that there is only 1 SENIOR IN THAT ENTIRE GROUP!?!?! Chris Bruhn. That's it.

Any surprise that we've been inconsistent on offense this year?!?!? Amazing. I can't remember the last time we were so frickin' young. Looking back even to 2001, we still had Nakoa McElrath and Dave Minnich, both seniors to rely on. 2002 had Bush, Riley and John Tippins/Jermaine Green, along with Gesser. Last year had Kegel with Sammy Moore, Scott Lunde, and J-Smooth (Jonathan Smith). All seniors playing huge roles. Not this year!

Just think how good they are going to be next year! Not only are all those cats back, but defensively the entire front 7 (sans Derting??) will return! Make your New Year's day reservations for 2006 now.

Funny, but WSU has found ways to win tough games - on the road no less - with so many kids. Meanwhile UW, well, they just lose.

6) The Cougs are 5-1 coming off the bye since 2000. I always thought teams have complained how tough it can be to get it going again coming off the bye, but 5-1 is nice. The lone loss after a bye??? The dreaded 2002 Apple Cup that was stolen from us.

7) Cougs are now 33-9 since the start of the 2001 season, 37-16 in the new milennium. The 33-9 mark is 8th best in America. We are also tied exactly with USC at 33-9, 20-5 in conference play.

8) Cougs are 17-3 in their last 20 home games, including 12 of our last 13. Meanwhile, interesting but did you know Oregon is just 7-6 in their last 13 home games?? Wasn't Autzen supposed to be tough?? I guess not when Indiana can come in and beat them in the opener.

I'll be vacationing this weekend with my lovely wife as we celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary about a month late in Deer Harbor, but you bet your butt I'll find the game on the radio at 2 PM on Saturday (yet another reason to HATE Belotti!).

One other thing - in the last couple weeks I've managed to purchase a VCR\DVD burner. Meaning I can take any VHS tape, push a button, and viola! A DVD is born.

So far, I have the 1994 Apple Cup (sorry Captain Bug-Eyes!), the 1997 Apple Cup (cried like a baby on the 50-yard line), the 2003 Holiday Bowl (with either the ESPN broadcast, the WSU radio broadcast, or the Texas broadcast), and just the other day, the 90-minute 2003 highlight tape that Todd provided to me all burned to DVD. The quality is pretty good for these home-brew DVD's too. The 2003 DVD is especially cool, with a ton of the shots taken from the sideline with crowd noise only, and you can even hear some of the coaches yelling and the players talking above the roar of the crowd.

If you are interested, let me know and I will make you copies of any/all. It's fun to watch the 1994 Palouse posse just dominate Damnit Damon Huard and Nippy Kaufmann, or the 1997 team with Leaf, Michael Black, Chris Jackson and the fab 5 spread the field and ring up 41 points and 500 yards of O, or watching the Holiday bowl with the Texas broadcasters just crying about the poor officiating that cost the Horns the game! Also, if you happen to have any great WSU games on tape that you'd like to see converted over, let me know.

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

More Jonathan Stewart from Friday night....

Found this on a message board regarding Jonathan Stewart:

Last night against cross-town rival North Thurston:29 carries for 201 yards in a 26-24 win.

After the game Stewart was interviewed on KJR's high school sports show, during which he listed his current top five in this order:

Washington State
Cal
Oregon
Ohio State
Tennessee

On-air Stewart was very soft-spoken and polite, reminding me of the way Devard Darling sounded during interviews. He is NOT in any way cocky and sounds like any other high school kid - shy, a little nervous being on the air, and easy going. He is the exact opposite of the way Reggie Williams was coming out of high school when he proclaimed he would leave UW for the NFL after three years. This is also not a guy who will be tempted by the glitz and glamour of an Oregon locker room or the Escalade rides provided by a Florida school. He's just real.

Finally, the clincher - when asked about where he might take official visits, he only named one school for now - Washington State University.
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Friday, October 01, 2004

Coug game NOT really on TV? Stoops on Swogger; ESPN Insider on Derting;

First, the bad news - KXLY in Spokane is this afternoon reporting that the Cougs will NOT be on TV next week. Turns out there is a very obscure Pac-10 rule that actually allows a visiting team to VETO the home team from changing the originally scheduled start time, TV or no TV! Belotti clearly sees it as a big advantage for us to play at night on TV. What sucks is that it hurts WSU's atheltic department from the TV revenue that, because of Belotti, they will not realize. Recruits won't be able to see the team play on TV. Out of state alums like Michael Lawson now won't even be able to watch the game, even if he ventures out into the NoCal evening to find a sports bar with FSN. Thanks Belotti, you asshole.

Next, I about fell over yesterday when I read this in Bud Withers' piece from the Times:

Stoops on WSU quarterback Josh Swogger: "He made some great throws late in the game. He's a really, really good player who's going to get better. It's easy to see why he's the starter."

With the way that clown acted on the sidelines, and his unbelievable arrogance before and after the game through the media, I have to say I was SHOCKED to hear him say anything positive about anyone. But to come out and say a sophomore QB making his 2nd road start of his career is "a really, really good player who's going to get better", well, that's damn impressive. As much as a jackass as Stoops is, let's remember the kind of talent he has seen in his career, so when you hear a quote like that, it has some "wow" to it.

Now, this from ESPN Insider today, regarding the top underclassmen in the NCAA. Not good when you are like me, dreaming of Derting to return to WSU next year and how frickin' good we'll be WITH him in the middle. Let's hold our breath that good ol' Will dreams of being an NFL 1st round pick (which is HIGHLY unlikely this year, but next year? Sell the farm):

Will Derting, ILB, Washington State - 6-0, 237
Bottom line: Derting sustained a knee injury that required surgery in Washington State's opening game of the 2001 season and he took a medical red-shirt year that season. He played in eight games and started six of them in 2002. Derting was named an All-Pac-10 Freshman that year but he also missed five consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain. Derting played in 13 games, starting 11 of them in 2003 when he earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors and also recorded a sack and recovered two fumbles in the Cougars' victory over Texas in the Holiday Bowl.

Derting is a blue-collar player who is extremely active against the run and he will make some plays with his second effort. He gets good depth when dropping into zone coverage and he has the ball skills to make some big plays. Derting shows good versatility, as he has played on the inside as well as the outside. He rarely makes mistakes or gets caught out of position but he is a better football player than he is an athlete. Derting doesn't have ideal speed, he has some problems changing directions quickly and he will have some trouble holding up in man coverage. He doesn't show ideal burst to the ball and doesn't have the range to make plays from sideline-to-sideline. Derting has missed an extensive amount of time because of injuries and durability is a concern.

Overall, Derting's potential is somewhat limited by his lack of elite athleticism, and his injury-history is reason to be worried. However, he won't hurt a team with mistakes and he plays with a non-stop motor. He should provide adequate depth and make quality contributions on special teams as a rookie before eventually pushing for a starting job most likely as an inside linebacker in the NFL. If he decides to declare for the draft, he could be selected as early as the second round.
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Comments DO work

Hey, I think the comments are a little inconsistent as far as WHEN they show up, but I think eventually they do. I've had trouble at times getting a new post added to the site. It must be a blogger.com traffic issue, something like that? I'm not really sure exactly. Anyway, your picks are in!

At 11:23 AM, Dr. Ferdie (Lawson) said...
This has got to be quick....Made my picks yesterday and for some reason they didn't post (which has happened to me before)...so without the attempted wit and insight combo, here go Ferdie!Cal 49 OSU 21 Oregon State makes case for best 2-9 team in the history of ever.
Stanford 31 UW 13 Washington again prepares to set low expectations before the Northwest Championship.
UCLA 28 SDst 17 San Diego State isn't good, Michigan is overrated, and UCLA is somewhere inbetween....
ASU 41 Oregon 10 Walters for Heisman? Ducks show that loss to Indiana at home is what it is: The Ducks aren't good.
Utah 45 NM 10. Utah good, New Mehico not good.
Tenn 23 Auburn 21. Auburn can't win on the road, Tennessee wins at home if the opponent isn't Fla. This will be another GREAT SEC match-up that I won't watch.

BUT THE COUGS ARE ON FSN NEXT WEEK!!!
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10/1 News-n-notes

Spokesman review has a story about the long list of injuries and what the forecast is for the next few games:

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking/story.asp?submitdate=20041018507

Also, FoxSports announced last night that it was picking up the Oregon-WSU game. Originally the game was scheduled to be a No-TV, 2PM kickoff, but it has now been moved to 7 PM. I guess that's ok, I'm not wild about night games but on the flip side, that makes us 5-for-5 on LIVE TV this year! Remember back when we were students, and we MIGHT get one or two games televised live??

Off topic - What was your take on the debate? I think the spin was predictible, each side claiming victory. I tell you what, though, as a Kerry supporter, I think it was clear that John looked and sounded "Presidential". Some media outlets have called it anywhere from a slight lean to Kerry to a Kerry victory. But if you watch Fox News (don't ever watch it, it's so right-wing it's frightening) they say Bush won! So whatever. A poll of over 2 million people at MSNBC have given Kerry the win by a 62-38% margin in their online poll, but that's so very unscientific.

Then again, usually with debate #1, the incumbent is just playing defense while the challenger attacks, and that's just what we saw??

What was beautiful was to see some of dubya's reactions and at times he really looked flustered. His long pauses to me made him look more like a guy who didn't know what to say, and less like he was pausing for the drama. I'm glad Kerry called Bush out on the carpet for his "the enemy attacked US" quote. No, Mr. President, AL QAEDA attacked America, not Iraq! Beautiful response to a question that both sides needed to hear. I can't wait for the next one next Friday!
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Recruiting and Jonathon Stewart - WOW

NOTE - word has it Dontrell Moore is healthy and will start tonight vs. Utah, so I've changed my pick in that game - NM 24, Utah 23.


Since we are in the bye week, thought I'd put a little info out there regarding recruiting.

Jonathon Stewart - Man among boys is the way I heard him described by someone that watched him a week ago. I haven't seen much of him, other than some highlights on TV that make you go "geez", but then I saw this:

Some things to love about this kid:
1) 5-10, 225, and certainly passes the "eye" test! Physical stats: bench presses 350 pounds, squats 575, vertical jump of 37-inches, runs a 4.5. Oh, and he's got a 3.2 GPA and already has a qualifying SAT score, but he plans to retake this fall.
2) He's the #1 rated running back in America, he's got a top-9 list of schools, including Florida, Tennessee, Arizona schools, Cal, Oregon, UW, and WSU.
3) The stats are unbelievable. The all-time leading career yardage leader, already, and will probably break the mark by at least 1,000 yards by the time this season is over.
4) He took an "unofficial" visit a couple of weeks ago for the Idaho game, and has will set an official visit later this year.
4) One of his best friends in the world is WSU verbal RB/DB Shelton Danzy, and the "inside" word is he's pushing WSU hard. Danzy, meanwhile, is an all-everything player for Rainier Beach, and was voted defensive MVP at the WSU summer camp. Physical stats are impressive - 5-10, 190, runs a 4.5, benches 280, squats 460(!), and has a 34-inch vert! He's an honor roll student to boot. Nice to have a kid like that, regarded as one of the best players in the state, already in the WSU fold and spreading the WSU gospel! For more on Danzy, check it out:
5) Stewart attended the WSU camp this summer, in a pretty big surprise to many.
We may not land him in the end, but you have to love our chances. What does that say about the state of our program, where a national kid like this has us in his final choices? Where a kid of this magnitude attends WSU's camp!?!? If Drew Bledsoe is regarded as the #1 recruit in WSU history, AND we do land him, this guy is #1A.
Look at the verbals WSU now has, in a very small class of I believe 13 scholies available this year:
1) Arkelon Hall, QB, Fresno - rated as the #8 QB in the nation, was a standout at the EA Sports ELITE 11 QB camp. Recruiters are still hammering him, but he re-affirmed his commit to WSU after the camp by donning a WSU hat and WSU workout shirt, and when asked about his commitment, boldly said "Do you see the hat? Do you see the shirt? Of course I'm going to WSU!" Was named Junior player of the year in California last year, threw for 34 TD's and only 5 picks! Picked the Cougs over Utah, Cal, Oregon and Oregon State.
2) Danzy, which I've talked about already, rated as the #7 overall prospect in the staterate, in the top 20 CB's in the nation. He picked the Cougs over Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Fresno State, and Boise State among many.
3) Brandon Gibson, a 6-0, 180 LB, runs a 4.5. An "athlete" that was an absolute stud at the Oregon/Nike camp and committed to WSU over the summer. Many project him as a potential star at safety. Rated as the #10 overall prospect in the entire state of WA, the #34 rated overall prospect in America at the "athlete" position.
4) Kenny Alfred - 6-3, 285 lb D-tackle from Gig Harbor. He's supposedly got great feet, very quick and runs a consistent 4.9. He just made news last night by announcing his verbal commitment to WSU. Rated as the #8 ranked overall recruit in the state of Washington, and ranked 40th in the nation at d-tackle. Chose the Cougs over UW, Oregon State, and Northwestern. Considered a big "get" and many say 5 years ago, he would have been a Husky from day one.

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