Quick Post-Post Edition: Vote for Butch and WSU receives 10k! The Link:
Now, back to the program:
And so we have reached the day……
The day that we all say goodbye to the two year reign of Brinkhater from the WSU Football Blog.
Does this mean that I will never post again? Hardly.
Does this mean that I will not post for a while? Possibly.
But what it really means is that the Brinkhater moniker is going bye-bye until Alex is gone from the program.
But in the meantime, Brinkhater will put forth his final swan song—an Epitaph if you will—on this season and all of the rantings and ravings that led up to it.
First of all, let me make one point abundantly clear:
If Hill and Bumpus don’t get injured, this team goes 9-3 and we’re all fat and sassy.
So, just sit on that for a bit if you will:
Hill and Bumpus stay healthy and everyone, including Alex Brink (who STILL would not have beaten ANYONE of note) would be legitimized and put forever in the Cougar Annals as a “success.”
Unfortunately, as we all know, it didn’t happen. The team fell apart and now we are home for the holidays and potentially beyond.
So, herein lies the thesis of the “End of Brinkhater”:
WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT NEXT SEASON WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT THE DIRECT IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF WSU FOOTBALL!
Here’s my take: if this staff honestly believes that next year’s team is going to have a GOOD SEASON (and I’m talking 8 or 9 wins), then I say “go with the status quo.”
But, if they don’t think that, then they need to start building for the year after next (E.G. 2008) RIGHT NOW!
Because a non-winning season next year means that we will have graduated an entire class of recruits that NEVER HAD A WINNING SEASON! That’s right, NEVER. So, in addition to trying to better recruiting without a platform, the staff also would have to re-build a program culture in which “losing” has become the norm and expectation.
So, lets examine, assumption #1—that this team is somehow gonna win 8 or 9 games. My question is: How?
How are we going to win 2 or 3 more games next year than we had this year when we are losing:
a) Our near All-American DE
b) Our near All-Amerian WR in Hill (check out Brink and Cougar performances without Hill).
c) Our entire secondary
d) Our all-conference and NFL bound safety.
Then consider the other factors: Next year, USC, CAL, ARIZ, WISC, WASH, and Oregon are ALL on the road! In my book, winning more games than this year means we need to make up games against teams that beat us this year, and also beat the same teams we beat this year. While that may be a “duh,” when you look at next year’s schedule, you realize the following:
THIS YEAR’S SCHEDULE WAS LINED UP PERFECTLY FOR US TO HAVE A GREAT SEASON!
Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to take advantage.
Thus, Brinkhater will welcome suggestions and arguments about how next year’s team will exceed the outcomes of this year’s team, but I have a hard time imagining I’m gonna buy it. The schedule is just too tough and we’re just not going to be that good.
So, given all that, it seems prudent for us to begin looking at 2008.
2008 In A Nutshell:
When you look at 2008, you can see a senior class that should be LOADED with talent and experience.
The crop of RBs will be seniors. The crop of LBs will be seniors. Ahmu will be a senior. Roof and company will be upper classmen. Gipson will be a senior. So will Michael Willis (a WR to be?). And so will Gary Rogers.
In other words, the group that will be Seniors looks A LOT to Brinkhater like the senior laden group that went to the Rose Bowl in 1997.
That all said, the key to 2008, at least as I can see it, is seniority at the Quarterback position. Why?
Say what you want about past and present WSU Quarterbacks their strengths, won-loss records, limitations, but one thing is true for all of them:
They don’t win in their first year.
So, if you’re building for 2008 and you know you’re unlikely to take advantage of it with a first year QB, you have one thing to do:
Grant you, it ain’t gonna be an easy decision. The Pac-10 had a down year with QBs, but even with that Alex got second team All-Conference.
And its pretty hard to bench a guy that is second team in the Pac-10.
It’s also hard to bench Alex because as a general rule, he doesn’t LOSE games for you anymore—at least not in obvious ways. Alex is going to get even more efficient next year—in the sense that he will make fewer mistakes.
But here’s my contention:
Alex may make fewer mistakes, but we need someone who has the potential to make MORE PLAYS. And after 28 starts, its hard to image that he will somehow develop the skills NEXT year that will allow him to start zinging balls with pinpoint accuracy all over the field.
But again, this ain’t about Alex. Its all about 2008 when we’ll need a QB to have command and take advantage of CAL, USC, Washington, Oregon, and a talent loaded Ariz coming to Pullman. Without it, we’ll lose.
Need proof? Think about CAL this year with a first year Nate Longshore. Think they wouldn’t have won the conference if he had played all of last year (and not gotten hurt?).
I do. And I bet you Tedford does too.
And so I say to Mr. Doba and to Timm Rosenbach who calls all the shots: time to turn the reigns over to Gary Rogers.
It isn’t going to be pretty. There’s going to be a LOT of bad passes. A Lot of interceptions. Games that should have been won, will be lost. And we’ll look back on the end of the 2007 season with a host of “woulda coulda shouldas.”
But the sun will come up in 2008, Cougar Nation, if such a change is enacted. And, at that point, we will see our return—however temporary—to the promised land.
And I, for one, promise that when that day comes: I will enjoy it.
Goodbye to the most accurate and appropriate moniker in the history of ever!
And say Hello: To Duckhater!