Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Coaching News Round-up; Jack Thompson Hearts Mike Price

Just a day or so into the post-Doba era, and Crimson faithful are starting to basically endorse their guys. And Paul Wulff is getting a lot of buzz. Cougfan had a story yesterday that highlighted the early chatter as Wulff, Mike Price and Bobby Hauck as the most prominent names in the rumor mill thus far.

  • One of the loudest endorsements thus far is coming from Jim Walden in the P-I, who 1) thinks Wulff is not only a perfect fit with his former Coug ties and success at EWU, but 2) even more prepared for the job than Dennis Erickson was in 1987, or even Tony Bennett was when he took the job (come on Jim! Comparing Paul Wulff to Tony Bennett? I love Walden but I doubt he knows if a basketball is stuffed or filled with air.).
It's hard not to be impressed with Wulff. Strong run of success, WSU ties, 40 years old, regarded as a class act and was a really good player at WSU. He fits the bill, and he's right there in Eastern WA already.

  • The Go-2-Guy floats a trial balloon in the name of Rick Neuheisel. Uh, no. Sure, he's a young-ish coach who's played in the Pac-10, coached in the Pac-10, knows the northwest, etc. But he's not what they are looking for. And besides, even if the money and all the other stuff could be worked out, AND he was interested enough to look at Pullman and he took the job? The guy would be looking to leave after his introductory press-conference. Look how hard he was looking around and mentioned in all the rumor mill columns when he as at UW. Why would he do anything other than use WSU as a place to show he can coach in college and then just bolt at the next opportunity? No thanks.

  • Today's Times says John L. Smith is definitely interested. I don't know about you, but I'm decidedly split on Smith. I know he's got a good career record, but he was run out of East Lansing after a 22-26 record in his last job. And his exit from Louisville was one of the ugliest things I've seen on live TV. Does anyone remember how, during Louisville's bowl game, rumors leaked that Smith had taken the Michigan State job? TV crews asked him about it at halftime and he sort of stammered around the question, and then denied it. But suddenly players started getting word on the bench via friends and relatives. Talk about awkward. Smith doesn't exactly have age on is side either, at 59 years old. And Michigan State had some terrible losses towards the end of his reign, including that famous come-from-ahead loss to Notre Dame when they lost a 16-pt 4th quarter lead.

  • Bud Withers also writes about Mike Price and the overall situation there. As of yesterday Price isn't confirming or denying anything, at least not yet. But Withers endorses the idea, yet there are fences that need to be mended over the divorce. Let's face it, when a coach bails it's not usually a back-slapping good time, and Price's was pretty ugly. He burned some bridges and some will never forgive the Rose Bowl situation. But time has a way to heal wounds. Brinkhater is more dug in on Price than I am, but I would be OK with it if there was also some sort of succession plan behind him. I mean you usually don't go out and hire a 61-year old coach thinking that it's going to be the long-term answer, do you? Unless he brings Eric Price with him and grooms him to take over, or some other plan is in place, I don't like it. I don't want to see us in this same situation in 5 years, where everyone is killing us again in recruiting because it's clear that Price is ready to retire.

  • UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano has been mentioned on some lists as well. He did spend some time in Pullman in the late 80's under Erickson and then a few years under Price, plus he coached at Idaho and grew up in Spokane, so he knows the lay of the land. He's really coached all over the place, from Ferris High School to the San Francisco 49ers, so his background is extremely dynamic. Oh yeah, he's also regarded as one hell of an offensive coordinator. He said on KJR that he's been wanting to be a head coach ever since he broke into the business. When asked about the WSU job, he said he "didn't want to talk about that right now" and that he was focused on beating Hawaii. It wouldn't be that big of a stretch to think he's interested?

  • Finally, Jack Thompson was on Elise and Ian last night on KJR, and gave a 10-minute out-pouring about how Mike Price IS the perfect fit. There is absolutely zero doubt who he believes should be the coach. He really gets into it, and you can hear Jack's passion oozing out as he talks about Price. Give it a listen. (go to the bottom-right of the KJR page, under Elise and Ian, and click on Jack Thompson - 11/29).


Anonymous said...

Succession plan is a must with MP and I'm a supporter of MP, but what is in the best interest of Wazzu comes first. I think MP believed that Levy would succeed Doba when MP left for Bama. I don't know how or if Levy and EP could co-exist, but I guess that has already occurred with Rosie and Levy.
Withers writes a nice article on the situation. You have MP detractors PO'd as to how he left and those PO'd because he left at all. I can understand the 1st, but not the 2nd. Still do not see MP's leaving as having a huge impact. Gess's injury and how good OK was (didn't they contend for the nat'l title the next year?) was our bigger problems today. The MP issue was just icing. I would like to see MP come back, but I wouldn't want him to ruin what he established. He is a Wazzu HOF and I don't want his induction ruined because he failed the 2nd time around.
However I'm still hooked on either of the Cal coord. They give us instant connections to our biggest recruiting state and likely will get a few athletes to change their mind, especially if we get Cal's O-Coord.

Anonymous said...

What is it about Lapano? Is it me, or hasn't UW's offense been horrid since he took over? ND's O? Horrible. Brady Quinn was a mess until Charlie Weiss turned him around. Nevermind the fact that we just fired our HC/DC that beat up his O last week. I don't get it.


Anonymous said...

Actually UW's offense has improved tremendously. They just had their first 1,000-yard rusher since 1996 in Rankin, and Locker will go over 1,000 yards this weekend. They ran all over Bob Gregory's D and Cal just a few weeks ago. Ian Furness knows him and was absolutely raving about him last night. But Lappano's got a strong track record as an OC.

Sedihawk said...

Lappano never coached at ND. You might be confusing him with Kent Baer, Willingham's disaster of a DC?

Lappano's a natural link based on his background (Spokane raised, played at Idaho) plus NW Pac-10 coaching and recruiting roots at Oregon State and now UW.

I did hear him on KJR last night and he did dance around the question, other than admit he's wanted to be a head coach for 15 years. But Elise Woodward said that he's got high-school age kids, including one that is a frosh in high school, and they are decidedly for staying in Seattle until they are done with high school. Ian said that if WSU offered, he's be crazy to turn it down.

Personally I don't know if Lappano has that "splash" that Floyd, Moos and Sterk are looking for. We'll see!

Sedihawk said...

Whoops! Of course I left out that Lappano was OC for Erickson and Price at WSU from 87-91. So he's been at WSU as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't see it. UW's O is only better because of Locker. I'll give you Rankin, but his numbers went straight up with Jake taking the heat off him. Plus, the rest of that O is a mess. Fat, slow offensive line, and a fat, slow, top receiver in Reece.

The other thing, Locker can't hit water even if he was in a boat, parked up next to Husky Stadium. He's been in the program for two full years and has serious mechanics issues.

I don't know a lot about the coordinators from Cal, but it should be worth noting that Tedford went back to calling plays this year, which isn't exactly a vote of confidence.

Anonymous said...

My bad on the ND call. But still I think he lacks the "splash" you are talking about... as bad as the Dawgs are that's a tough sell.

Sedihawk said...

I'm not going to fully defend UW's offense, but I will say that they aren't as bad as they've been made out to be! They put up more points than we did vs. Arizona, Oregon, USC. But we, uh, had some issues scoring points, didn't we??? :)

I think splash is the key word here. When you think of what the administration is up against in this Martin remodel that's $40 million short, they need to pull out the stops to get YOU excited to send in a check! Would an unknown coordinator or head coach from nowhere U get the average Cougar fan excited to go to a fund-raising dinner or send in a little extra this year? I don't think so either.

Nuss said...

I'm not saying I'm for Lappano, but what he's been able to make out of an offense the last couple of years that is virtually devoid of real talent should speak to his coaching ability. Lappano helped make Isaiah Stanback into a credible Pac-10 quarterback -- that alone should earn him a heapload of credibility.

If you held my feet to the fire right now, I'd be for Bobby Hauck.

Ben L said...

Although John L. was a disaster at MSU, it might be a bit different back at Wazzu. He was never capable of putting together a decent defense, and against Big10 power offenses that meant a lot of trouble in the second half with gassed defensive linemen. My other concerns about Smith:

-Discipline problems were always an issue in East Lansing.

-John L. never seemed capable of dealing with the media spotlight. Maybe this wouldn't be as much of an issue in Pullman?

-Smith wasn't much of a recruiter at MSU. He wasn't able to compete with UM and OSU in his own backyard - he might have an easier job in Pullman given how weak UW has been.

All that said, I think one of the overlooked issues in John L.'s tenure at MSU was that his wife was battling what was thought to be terminal cancer. One could hardly blame him if that led to what appeared to be weak pregame preparation.

Anonymous said...

I think of MP as a ugly gal that you take home from the bar. Man the ride was fun and your dreams of how great it all remains in your head. But you wake up and all you have is an ugly girl and a hangover.