Friday, December 29, 2006

2006: The Year of the Beavs

Yes, Cougar nation, 2006 was the year of the Beaver. No doubt about it. From the national championship in baseball, to an improbable 10 win season in football. The Beavs had it this year. And in case you need ANY proof, all you had to do was see the last second 2 point conversion which won the game today for Riley's boys. Stupid idea to go for it. Stupid play call. Pretty bad and slow execution. "And its good!!!!!!" Go figure.

So, maybe 2007 will be the year of the Cougs. Maybe in 2007 the hoops team will sneak into the dance and the sweet 16 (which IS possible). Maybe the football team goes into the season of NO expectations and wins 8 games. Maybe Alex Brink finishes in the top 10 in Heisman voting.

In other words, Happy New Year Cougar Nation.

Three more days to dream about what might lie ahead for us in 2007.

Lets just hope the next year is not full of more Beaver envy--at least not of this kind anyway.. Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Vasquez Follows Erickson

I guess a verbal commit is just that, a verbal commit, and nothing is ever final until a kid signs. The combo of Akey + Erickson was probably the thing that tipped the scales, and so JC DE Luis Vasquez heads for Tempe. Too bad.

Hard to say he is a big loss, as he never set foot on campus, and truly D-end is a position that has some depth for 2007 (Mullenix, Broadus, Graise and Kooyman for example). But still, you hate to lose a chance to add a reportedly big-time pass rusher that is a 6-3, 250 speedster off the edge.

Don't know if you've been paying attention, but, recruiting isn't exactly on fire right now. Not to get too excited, as always, about the "star" system, but right now we're falling down the ratings. Read more ...plus comments

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thanks For Playing, Oregon


We have a copy of the home game for you as well as some lovely parting gifts.....

And that's ANOTHER Cougar FIRST DOWN/TOUCHDOWN/ETC! Think Oregon is sick of hearing that? Way to show up Quacks. 38-8? Yuck. If only they didn't play Portland State, they could have been home with us lamenting being shut out of the bowl process and wouldn't have had to endure the shame and embarrassment of losing by 30 on national TV, and WEARING THE UGLIEST uni combo in the history of ever!

Did you know, that in losses to WSU, Arizona and now BYU, Oregon lost by a margin of 109-41. Two words - OVER.....RATED!

Meanwhile, did you hear the one where some think it's a good idea to have Doba be the head coach AND the d-coordinator??! Seriously. Once again, it looks like the guys in charge will take the easy way out and just give Doba the reins on the defense. He's sure got that head-coaching thing down pat, might as well let him coordinate the defense too! Never mind that there are some qualified candidates on the staff, mainly Ken Greene. Never mind that we took a chance by giving Robb Akey the job 3 years ago, and it's absolutely the right thing to do with Greene this time around. We'll just overwhelm coach Doba even more. What a bad joke. Read more ...plus comments

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SO LONG COACH AKEY

Good luck coach Akey, and congrats on your first head job. I'll miss his post-game comments on the radio broadcast, where he was so hoarse he couldn't speak. The guy brought the enthusiasm, no question, and he could coach defense pretty well. Remains to be seen how things unfold going forward. What assistants will he try and take with him? Will any of them want to go work for Akey 8 miles down the road, or will they want to stay and coach in the Pac-10? Who will be the new defensive coordinator? Questions, questions, questions. But no matter what, congrats to coach Akey! Read more ...plus comments

Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

We should be getting ready to watch the mighty Cougs of Pullman battle the Horned Frogs of TCU in Holiday Bowl Junior, but alas, we get to watch Garrett Wolfe (who is, by the way, Jerome Harrison Junior). Just one more victory and we could have greatly benefitted from being in San Diego right about....now. Ah well.

But, as Holmgren says about his fast-fading NFL team walking around in Kirkland bitching about the power still not being on, "it is what it is." But deep down? I would have loved to have seen this team just one more time. One more game to see them healthy with the likes of Hill and Bumpus back on the field going all-out. One more game to see Mkristo get a chance to rush the passer in the tradional 4-3 with his d-tackles healthy and angry and a shot to add to his WSU sack totals.

What's interesting is the TNT's story about this bowl game, and the bowl situation in general. It's nice to see Sterk and Turner, WSU and UW ad's, arm-in-arm over the Pac-10's deal. Turner is particularly sharp in his criticism, saying among other things, how "creative and aggressive" the SEC was in their bowl agreements. Sterk isn't as hard-lined, but his approach is a good one in let the bowls decide which bowl-eligible teams they want, and now that everyone is playing 12 games, you are going to very likely have 6-6 teams from BCS conferences automatically canceled out.

I mean let's face it, what are the bowls REALLY about? Don't they want to make the most money they can by having attractive match-ups? Well, a lot of people will tell you it's about tourism, Beano Cook included, and that's the main reason bowls were created, but getting people to travel and see their team in the postseason. One would think that WSU fans would have traveled quite well down to SD right about now, or gone in droves to Boise on New Year's eve, but oh well.

If you are bored, check out the AOL site. I've gone through position-by-position on the 2007 team, at least how it sits heading into spring ball and a whole recruiting class still to be signed. Duckhater (or is it Brinkhater again?) said it best, though, in that you know, when you really look at what the Cougs have coming back next year? We might be better than we think. But 2008 could be really special, if things break a certain way.

As far as AOL goes, things have obviously tailed off in a big way. This is the offseason, and the news is fairly quiet right now. It'll crank back up as recruiting news breaks, etc.

And, finally, for what it's worth? I've heard Robb Akey is STILL very much a candidate for Idaho! In fact, I was told last week not to believe the Kramer stories, and that there was a skeleton or two in that closet that would be brought to the forefront, and sure enough, he was right. So, Akey could still be on the way out.

If Akey does get the Idaho job, who do you think is ready to assume the DC spot? Walker? How about Leon Burtnett? Ken Greene? An outside hire perhaps? Time will tell. One thing is clear, though, and it was made perfectly clear in 2004 - Robb Akey WANTS to be a head coach, and, more than likely, his shot is coming, and it's going to be sooner rather than later. Read more ...plus comments

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dennis the Liar at it again


You can almost picture the billboard: "Coming to Sun Devil Stadium, it's Dennis Erickson! Tickets Going Fast, HURRY! Limited Time Engagement! He'll be gone before you know it!"

Not exactly a shock, when he said last week that he hadn't heard from ASU - YET - but gosh, he sure would listen if they called! Uh-huh. Dennis the Liar bails again for the next challenge. 10 months in Moscow was enough I guess. I read that it was a big recruiting weekend for Idaho on Saturday, and that he entertained several recruits during the day, then his AD told the AP on Saturday evening that he is headed to ASU after a 10-minute meeting. You stay classy Dennis!

I think this can be considered good and bad for WSU. Good from a WSU perspective in that if he would have stuck it out, Idaho might have been a handful in a couple of years, ala Boise State. But also bad from a WSU perspective, because if there is one program that Duckhater and I constantly talk about as the "sleeping giant" of the Pac-10, it's ASU. The one thing they've been missing is that rock-star head coach. Think about it - a tremendous campus, incredible weather, great stadium, co-eds running WILD, etc, etc, etc. I would think that ASU's recruiting just took a very large spike on the interest meter of several 18-year olds. And yes, he's a liar, but, he's a great college coach, you can't dispute that in any way, shape or form. Be afraid, Pac-10. Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Are WE a Basketball School!??!


WOW. Never thought I'd see the day. Don't look now, but the WSU hoops program is now 8-1 and has a win over 18th ranked Gonzaga. Over 10,000 fans at the game last night? Tony Bennett, get used to being in every rumor mill in America come this spring for every big-time college job available! Rather than analyze it or criticize it, I'm just going to enjoy this. Read more ...plus comments

Friday, December 01, 2006

Say Goodbye to Brinkhater

Quick Post-Post Edition: Vote for Butch and WSU receives 10k! The Link:

www.capitalonebowl.com/default.aspx

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!

Why?

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.

Period.

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:

CHANGE QUARTERBACKS!

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! Read more ...plus comments