Sunday, October 07, 2007

You Better, You Bet

None of us REALLY expected the game to be close, so why the sour grapes? This was a giant step in the right direction and it was actually kind of fun to sit in the stands as the true underdogs again. I loved seeing the great team effort and it truly felt like we had nothing to lose. I'm sure there were many fans in the stadium who lived and died with every snap yesterday but I was not one of them.

That said, here's my take on this game... First and foremost, I am absolutely sick of all the Brink bashing. The pick was definitely a tough blow but on a play like that the blame is shared by the receiver. They made different reads and it resulted in a pick. Two possessions later, Brink passed for the go-ahead score.

Let's not make light of the fact or completely overlook a HUGE game by our defense. THANK YOU Dobes, for finally taking off the training wheels!

I really don't enjoy dissecting every drive and every play of the game, but... In my eyes, the deciding play of the game was the 4th down screen to Collins at the beginning of the 4th quarter. It was a well-executed play that was sniffed out by one ASU lineman, forcing Collins to cut it back inside where he was stopped by a solo tackle. A great play by WSU, stopped by an even better effort by ASU, putting an end to a nice 10-play, 57-yard drive that could have put the Cougs up by four. Those four points would have changed the game.

In the end, it was a great team effort, and a tough game to lose. It was NOT lost by the interception and it was not lost by the missed kick. The problems this time were penalties (11 for 90 yards) and the continued inability of our O line to run-block. We all know that a passing game plays off of an adequate running game and we have none right now. 19 running plays netted only 58 yards on the ground and Brink was responsible for another 24 on scrambles.

19 true running plays and 50 pass attempts = a 10-minute difference in time of possession. You expect this kind of a run/pass ratio if you're playing from behind - NOT if you're trying to control the clock and protect a lead. As well as our line has protected Brink this year, they could do more for him and our offensive production by opening up a few more holes for the running game.

So Brinkhater, et al, there's your problem with the offense.

I've been a pretty staunch supporter of Alex Brink over the years not so much because I think he's a great quarterback, but because I think he has been largely undeserving of much of the criticism he's received. Yesterday was no exception. He again played very well, despite the fact that the opposing team was allowed to key on him and the passing game. Week in and week out, he is facing defensive game plans that treat our running game as an afterthought - remember that the next time you start bitching about Alex Brink.

That said, Alex has the record and for all intents and purposes, this season is lost. Doba and perhaps much of the staff could very well be lame ducks but they are loyal to WSU. Is it time to start looking to building for the future? Do we need to start seeing more of Gary Rodgers, Cole Morgan and/or Kevin Lopina? (I imagine Lobbestahl will keep his redshirt but if it were up to me, just to spite all the Brink-haters out there, I'd send the 6'2", 195-pounder out there just so you'd BEG me to put Brink back in!)


B.T.M.M. said...

I know what you mean about finally being underdogs again; now that our last vestige of respectability has been ripped away, we can get back to being Cougar fans again!

I would offer my congratulations to Brink on breaking a huge record. It's too bad that, as I semi-predicted months ago in my blog, it was in a loss. Now we can go for broke in every game this year and try to catch somebody napping, since we have nothing to lose.

And hey, does anyone know what ever happened to that QB Arkelon Hall? Wasn't he supposed to be the next big thing? Does he even exist, or did I imagine him?

Anonymous said...

Brink is absolutely terrible, period. If Rogers had a fraction of the chance that the staff has given limp-arm he'd be slinging bullets all over the place and the offense would be in a different state than it is today.

I will never understand why so many people refuse to acknowledge his lack of talent and leadership.

Anonymous said...

Arkelon Hall was forced to the JC ranks for grade issues. Uh-oh.

Hooty McBoob said...

An "absolutely terrible" QB could not throw for over 8,000 career yards in one of the best college football conferences in the country - period.

We are fans who are on the outside, looking in. I assume we have as much combined college coaching experince as a kicking tee.

In Rodgers, ALL we can see is a tall backup QB with a strong arm. We have absolutely NO insight into how he leads the team OR performs in practice. With all the talent that has come through WSU at the quarterback position, you can bet that our coaching staff has a fairly decent idea of how to evaluate talent at the position. I'm also willing to bet that our coaches enjoy their jobs, the salaries that come with them and the opportunities that could arise to move up if the kids they coach do well.

SO, do you really believe that if Rodgers was consistently better than Brink in practice that he wouldn't have been given a chance to start on Saturdays? Actually, it really doesn't matter what you think, because YOU DON'T KNOW JACK!

Brinkhater said...

There was no Brink bashing from this Brinkhater....I've been pretty consistent all year long--he's the best chance that this team has of winning this year. Period.

That said, if it's the lack of a run game, fine. At the same time, I don't see how you can establish the running game when you are consistently throwing the bomb on first and ten. To me, that says that other teams are jamming the middle and stacking the box. But I'm not there, so I can't see what's going on.

My bottom line is the amount of points that the O is putting up and has been putting up minus a handful of games last year is not cutting the mustard.

If nothing can be done about it, then the next question that needs to be asked is what we are doing for the long-term good of the program to change that. IF Alex Brink has a bonafide shot at an NFL career, then it is beyond sacreligious for us to bench him...But if he doesn't, then the idea of platooning makes a lot of sense especially once we hit 7 losses.

I do wonder, though, if Doba is saving his job..yesterday, the kids looked coached up...we'll see how it shakes out next least now, that game is interesting..

And congratulations, Stanford!!

Anonymous said...

NFL, Brink? I will eat this computer if he ever takes a snap in the LEAGUE.

Anonymous said...

The reason we can't run the ball is because Brink can't stretch the feild with his arm. Teams are using the strong safety like a 4th linebacker. When the quarterback can't throw the fall farther than 15 yards, teams stack the box because they know we can't beat them deep! Every time Brink puts up a long pass, it's usually nothing more than a jump ball. He's lucky that Gibson is tall and more more athletic than many DB's.

B.T.M.M. said...


I think "anonymous" is Lou Holtz's dimwit half-brother or something. Lou used to let him scrub the locker room floor at Notre Dame. So, he KNOWS what he's talking about. With Rodgers at QB we'd be working on back to back nat'l championships.

Hooty McBoob said...

Can't stretch the field? I'll agree that it's not his strength but Brink is third in the Pac in yards per attempt.

Go back and watch the film from our league games so far, and you will see very poor run-blocking up front. The fact that Collins saw some time at FB yesterday seems to point to the fact that the coaching staff is not naive to this deficiency.

We played most of the game yesterday with the lead yet still ran 19 times and threw it 50! If we could establish the run and take time off the clock, we'd have won that game.

Brinkhater said...

One last thing on Brink. Yesterday, the 35 yard strike to Anderson on that final drive was a frozen rope. I've NEVER seen Alex throw a ball like that. NEVER.

At the same time, you look at Pritchard yesterday, a sophomore making his first start on the road against #2. He converts on a bullet 20 yard pass OVER THE MIDDLE on 4th and 20. Then, when he can't hear the call, calls his own play and converts the game winning touchdown.

Now, is Pritchard worthy of holding Alex Brink's jockstrap over four quarters? HELL NO!!!!

At the same time, there's a piece that HAS been missing...and things like yesterday seem to make that dissonance ring a bit for these here ears.

NOW, lets go out, improve our offensive execution (and rushing) a bit, and let's SHOCK Oregon.

Beating them would make our season!

Logan said...

i'm sick of people saying brink can't throw the long ball. he can and he has. that's how jason hill got all those touchdowns!! remember the OSU game two years ago? bomb after bomb. did you see the TD-but not-TD to gibson on saturday? that was a strike. if only we could call more of those plays for both gibson and jeshua anderson, the offense could do more over the middle stuff that bumpus does so well. our play calling needs to stretch the field more. but as both hooty and brinkhater noted, we need more from the running game/o-line opening up holes for tardy and ivory. Go Cougs!!

Anonymous said...

Brink does throw occassional long passes....that does not mean he throws with strength or he throws accurately....our receivers have to really find the ball and make outrageous catches ......

what he can't do ....he can't sit back there and sling the ball anywhere he wants...he has to aim the ball.....his delivery is slow....he telegraghs where the play is going.....and he is too quick to throw some dinky pass because he gets nervous back there ...AND.....he doesn't read the field very well....guys have been open this year and last and he completely ignores them....

but its only a few more games....then we'll be done with this ....I want to go back to having a leader as qb....a game changer...a can-do person....

its not AB's fault.....he would have been a magnificent option qb IMO....and he would have been magnificent with a winning record at Eastern.....

Sedihawk said...

Great post Hooty. I know I'm a little late to this party with a hell of a weekend, but I'm finally back and able to focus. And I think you are right-on.

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw 50 passing attempts to only 19 rushing attempts?!?! In a 23-20 game?? That's abysmal. I know play-calling is a touchy-feely thing, and every game is different, and, most of all, you usually try to take what the D will give you, but our record when Brink has to throw that much is never very good. 54 attempts vs. UW last year - loss. 47 vs. USC last year - loss. 41 vs. Cal last year - loss. Remember all the yards and school record passing stuff vs. OSU in '05? Loss.

In the end, we were done in by a lack of balance offensively, but Brink doesn't get off free. The pick-6 was huge, and turnovers, once again, just kill. Look at the NFL, Green Bay dominates the Bears in yardage but lose because they cough it up 5 times. Dallas nearly loses to an inferior opponent last night vs. Buffalo, with 6 TO's. Look at the OSU Beavers this year and the disappointment they've been, but it's all about TURNOVERS.

Oh yeah, and the little things too. I brought this up to Brinkhater, and it's been eating away at me this year moreso than any other. We absolutely, positively SUCK AT DOING THE LITTLE THINGS RIGHT. It's frustrating to think of how poorly we've played in special teams, penalties, etc. We just aren't good enough to go out and miss field goals or try crazy fakes or commit 11 penalties against a ranked team and think we should win. I look at it this way - for a team that is traditionally short on talent and depth, you'd think there would be a huge push in doing all the small things correctly, and particularly be strong in the fundamentals. But instead, we go out there acting like we're USC, and that the small things aren't that big of a deal because we're just as good as the other guy. So we commit silly personal foul penalties, or we snap one over the punter's head or just do stupid stuff, and our program, maybe more than any other in the Pac-10, cannot afford the small f-ups on a weekly basis and think we can get away with it!

Think about our successful run from 01-03. Remember our kicking game? Remember who the Holiday Bowl MVP actually was? Not Matt Kegel, or Sammy Moore, or Jonathan Smith. Try KYLE BASLER. Or remember Drew Dunning and how automatic he was? The one game he struggled in 2003, the Notre Dame game, what happened? We blew it on small things like tons of penalties, turnovers and missed kicks, and we blew the game. But the New Mexico game that year, different story. Kegel had an off day in that we just couldn't get into the end zone more than once that day, but Dunning nails a bunch of field goals, Basler pins them deep on great punts, and our defense was fantastic.

Whoever our next coach happens to be, I really, really, REALLY hope it's someone that puts an emphasis on doing the small things right. In the end, they make all the difference in the world.

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