Sure sounds as though yesterday's scrimmage ended with the offense going out of spring like a lamb. Brink was 7-for-12 for 67 yards, a TD and a pick. But one of those completions was a pretty 39-yard TD fade to Brandon Gibson, a player that is clearly emerging as the guy to replace THE GUY (read: Jason Hill). But seriously though, remove that 39-yard pass, and what do you have? 6 completions for 28 yards. That's less than 5 yards per completion. Dink and dunk, nickel and dime, ball-control underneath stuff, bubble-screens and 3-step drops, well, get used to it. It's been that way for the last few years, and it's not going to change!
Interesting story from Glenn today, about Brink. This part caught my attention:
"Alex Brink will be entering his fourth season as a starter, and he's on pace to break almost every record in book for a career at Washington State. And yet, it is inarguable - based on the boos raining down from the stands on multiple occasions last season, the potshots taken at him on countless Internet sites, and perhaps also from the level of interest in WSU football - that this one player's march towards the history books has failed to connect with many Cougar fans." Brinkhater (Duckhater), I think that he might be looking in your direction on that one....
No matter what happens this year, Brink will be all over the WSU record books. Like it or not. And it's clear that he's likely going to go down as our own version of Damon Huard, only not as many wins. You know, the guy that put up a lot of decent passing numbers, yet faced some boos in the crowd and was never really a big winner? Same kind of deal here. And while I had defended him to no end last year, I think I finally admitted to seeing his shortcomings for what they are after seeing him live in games vs. Cal and even UW. He's got a big heart, he's a tough kid that has taken numerous blows but hasn't missed time due to injury, but he just doesn't have the physical toolbox to be a great player. A good player? Sure. Even in a down year last year in the Pac-10 QB department, he still made 2nd-team as a junior, which is a pretty big accomplishment. And you can't fully fake your way to the top of the WSU record book, I mean have you seen some of the names in that thing? Bledsoe, Gesser, Leaf, Rosie, Rypien, Thompson, to be in that group is pretty special.
I do also think that it's obvious there were things out of his control that led to his downfall. Injuries to the WR position late last year, and even some injuries and inconsistency the year before that, and a pretty lousy defense all added up to frustrating losses the last few years, and of course, when the team comes up short, the blame falls to the head coach and the starting QB.
But it all comes to a head next year. Is Brink only as good as having Jason Hill and his 32 career TD's? Is he going to really go backwards without #83 running those 4.32 40's down the middle of the field? What about the running game beyond Tardy? Is Ivory going to return, as is now the speculation, and be ready to be a solid backup? What about Woolridge or Hustona, will they even be on campus this fall? Far too many questions for a part of the team that you would think would be pretty solidifed by now.
AH well, now we move forward to the 2007 season. Overall, I had low expectations coming into the spring, and based on everything you read and hear? I'm feeling about the same right now. I do admit to being cautiously optimistic about our young linebackers, particularly Evans and Mattingly on the outsides as well as a healthy Stripling. They could go from being young and talented in 2007 to pretty damn special in 2008. However, I'm beyond worried about the corners, as whatever they have on campus right at the moment doesn't appear to be anything more than backups, at best. These new JC transfers better be ready to go in August. And I'm extremely worried about the d-tackles and how the heck they are going to survive. The reality is, right now with Ahmu and Johnson both big question marks, we're likely going to get a healthy dose of Tarkington and Eichelberger in the middle. And probably Kooyman if they can bulk him up a bit more.
Finally, it's nice to hear the kickers have improved. Both guys made all their field goals yesterday, including both making their 45-yarders. Who woulda thunk it? And, in typical Doba fashion, a few days before Romeen was given as the name who would start, but now, it's wide open again, and it'll probably come down to whoever kicks better in warmups at Wisconsin. The post-Drew-Dunning era has been dreadful, but it would be nice to actually have the field goal as an option around the 25-yard line next year!?!?
So how about those FIRST PLACE M'S!?! :) It's a marathon, not a sprint, and the division looks rather mediocre to put it kindly. Once they start hitting they might be a slightly-above-average team, which in the West might mean postseason play for the first time since 2001?