Thursday, November 29, 2007

Listen, do you Smell Something?

Greetings Cougar Nation...On the eve of a real who cares Football Friday (when our season is over, so is everyone else's), can you smell what the Cougar Athletic Department is cookin?

Yep, they're cookin' up Price Stew.

So, don't even spend your time thinking any more about it, barring HUGE changes in developments, just put this in the bank:


Just Bank on it.

The reason is simple:

Price has already been contacted and has NOT said that he is NOT interested following that conversation. In other words, he IS interested.

Moreover, after "talking" or "feeling out" Price, WSU has NOT said anything about taking him off of the list.

Furthermore, do you think that Sterk and Moos are idiots regarding the potential controversy surrounding MPs hiring? There HAS to be a process--otherwise this winds up being the whole shot-gun job that was done the last time.

So, this time they will "talk" to some other candidates before settling on the obvious: If you want to rebuilt this program, you do it with the guy that can go into living rooms and talk Rose Bowls and conference championships because HE HAS DONE IT WITH US TWICE!!!!!!! Moreover, as I said here earlier in the week: IF you want to name the last school other than USC to win the conference title you get none other than the Mike Price coached WSU Cougars..

And, like I've said to the nation before:


Meaning, he rebuilt us for the 30 win over 3 season run after being in the basement of the conference following our first Rose Bowl. He's already "re-built" us twice!!! So don't think he can't or won't do it again.

And sure, we can all be mad about the Rose Bowl stuff, but the dude paid dearly for that 4 month period of insanity (where he briefly and allegedly met his 'Destiny').

And again, let's not be too harsh about his (in)ability to build a "power" at a Conference USA school with the HORRIBLE resources of UTEP which has NOTHING (including the Sun Bowl) other than an NCAA title when they were called something else.

So, sit back and enjoy the ride as we got through "the process."

And mark my words: IF its someone other than Price, I GUARANTEE it will be someone who is NOT on the current list.

My bet: we'll have a coach by 12/20.


Bucky said...

Hey guys, I don't post comments but I read your blog and it's great. Instant rumor of the day: It's not Price, and it's not anyone we've seen coming nor has any baggage. Someone hinted on another message board about the very same thing but wouldn't name names. It's a very big name and while a lot of issues have to be sorted out, we could be shocked when it happens. He is/was a fantastic BCS coach that went to Rose Bowls. Outstanding reputation. Age a bit of an issue. Concern is lack of NW ties but it is not that big. Also found out that we are bucking-up, big-time if we can get him, over $1 mil/per. Word is leaking among the bigger donors that this guy is on the table and money calls have been made. Moos has been a huge player in this, Dick Bennett has made a few calls, even Keith Jackson is involved with this as well.

Initials: BA.

Sedihawk said...

Ok, I'll bite - let's see:
1) Won Rose Bowls yet no NW connections.
2) Age a concern.
3) WAS a great BCS coach with great rep (I saw how you threw that in there).
4) Dick Bennett involved??
5) Your username is Bucky.
6) Initials BA.

Barry Alvarez. I can't fathom that would be the hire. He retired and is the AD at Wisconsin now, where is the desire to coach again? Hasn't he had serious health issues or something? And he's in his 60's, we don't need another old coach. Does he have a son that would be groomed or something like that? At least I will give you the "buzz" factor, because that would be huge. But I don't see it. It would be a shocker, outside-the-box Sterk kind of move, I will give you that.

Anonymous said...

Brinkhater, I have heard nothing that would leave me to believe the MP is the man. Sure he is interested. When I am contacted by headhunters, I say I'm interested to see what is being offered. You never know if someone might make the right pitch.
Am I surprised that MP said he was interested? Yes and No. No because he will retire in Idaho, loves the PNW, and loves the Cougs. Yes because he would put his family through reliving the Bama thing (I can see it now, Husky fans holding up signs, "we're your destiny now") and would be replacing over for his good friend Doba (but it appears Doba's has given his blessing on this).
I like Sterk's creative thinking. He has got outside the box. People don't give him enough credit for the Marbut hire in baseball. I think that was a terrific move. JC coach and NW connections.
The age thing is what bothers me with both MP and now BA, but BA would meet the criteria of exciting fans about the possibility of success. What type of "O" are we going to run?

Sedihawk said...

I know it's rumor season, but the BA thing seems like a huge stretch. Really huge. But who saw the Bennett's coming? Not me, nor anyone else for that matter. So I believe it's at least possible that they have called him, and maybe he gave them a number that could make it happen, but still, it seems like a huge stretch.

Price just seems too decisive, and I don't mean between Walden and Jack Thompson. But if the ultra-wealthy donors want him and are putting their money towards the stadium if they bring him in? And there's a succession plan behind him? Then I'm all for it. I really want to see our program take the next step, and we can't do that with Martin as it is. It must see the finish line, and if the big money wants MP and will come close to guaranteeing the finish of the renovation, then it's hard to say no.

Thor said...

Wulff is sure getting a lot of positive pub lately. Vince's blog says he's been contacted but won't discuss it until EWU's done. Blanchette wrote a strong article about Wulff today. He sure sounds pretty damn impressive:

Having been presumptuous enough to tell Washington State who its next football coach shouldn't be, suggesting who it should be is probably pushing it.

So this isn't that.

But it is about Paul Wulff – obviously a prominent name in that derby – and the odd sense of underappreciation for his achievements in his current job at Eastern Washington University, even as the Eagles continue their third appearance in four years in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision playoffs this Saturday at Appalachian State.

This is no bulletin to that hearty knot of Eastern zealots who think everything about the school is unappreciated. Of course, the fact that attendance this playoff season dropped by nearly 2,000 people per game from a year ago does seem to blunt the notion of a public clamoring for Eagle details.

But then, that also speaks to this startling indifference to Wulff's success – on a public level, but curiously from the school itself, too.

Some of it, naturally, is the company that Eastern keeps. That a school 220 miles east has won outright or shared the last 10 Big Sky Conference championships tends to dull the acclaim for any other program, even one as admirably consistent as Eastern. In a bottom-line – or rather, top-line – endeavor, no one is going to indulge much in relativism or mitigations.

Except maybe other coaches.

"It's because he does it too easily, in a way," offered Jim Walden, by way of explaining Wulff's lack of renown.

Walden, you probably have heard by now, is championing Wulff loud and fast – the only way he knows how – for the Wazzu position. That's not surprising – he recruited Wulff to play there, and has followed his Eastern accomplishments closely. But Walden can file his recommendations to the WSU search committee himself.

"To me this is the most impressive thing he's done," Walden said. "He had a great team with a senior quarterback (Erik Meyer). Now you go through a down year doing what you've been doing, with new players, a brand new quarterback. So this year he does something new. They go to a no-huddle spread, which is a modern-day concept. He's 9-3 with a sophomore quarterback who's the player of the year.

"I love a curious coach. He saw the need to do something different. He didn't have to change every pass route, but he thought, 'What can we do to dictate to the defense?' That's what offenses are all about. It's what Oregon and West Virginia do. That was my biggest argument with the Cougars the last couple of years – I never felt they were dictating to the best defenses, they were only beating up the bad ones."

But neither is it all about offense, either.

Ron McBride's Weber State team absorbed a 38-16 drubbing in Cheney, and came away impressed by EWU's defensive preparation and technique.

"They're always in the right gap," he said. "They know exactly what coverage they're in and how to play it. When you look at film, you look to see where you can attack a guy, if he doesn't slant correctly or scrape correctly, if there's a crease to attack. They don't leave a gap exposed, which means you're physically going to have to knock them off the ball, and that's a harder way to win."

So … flexible, innovative, fundamental. Anything else? Well, this Eastern team won three Big Sky games and a first-round playoff game on the road.

"Every time I hear how hard it is to win on the road, I go back to 1997 and Jim Tressel at Youngstown State," said Wulff's EWU predecessor, Mike Kramer. "They played the entire run on the road all the way to a national championship. And the hallmark of any Paul Wulff team is not the offense numbers or defensive ability – it's always been mental toughness."

No discussion of Eastern football is complete without touching on bang for the buck. The program's budget is not the lowest in the Big Sky – $1.75 million – but it is just more than half of what is spent at Montana, and considerably less than four other schools who in the last four years have exactly one playoff appearance among them.

Penury comes at a price, if you will. Last year, Wulff was obliged to play two BCS teams – Oregon State and West Virginia – with an overmatched young team for the financial guarantees they would make. Now there's talk that it'll happen again in 2008 – Eastern needing the cash to help pay off the press box and suite project at Woodward Field.

"We're still trying to complete the schedule," athletic director Bill Chaves said, "but I'm not going to rule anything out."

That's a psychological and competitive nightmare for an FCS coach, especially in the Big Sky, where Montana's dominance has made it harder to get an automatic berth to the playoffs – and where more than three losses might keep you out. If the Eagles are again poised for a playoff run – and they should be – that's hardly a fair concession.

"Paul has been part of a great continuum," said Kramer, "of guys who understood what it took to be a success at Eastern – in Paul's case understanding his resources, understanding his strengths and applying his strengths."

In time – this year or another – that will be recognized more widely. At Eastern, that seems to be viewed as an inevitability.

"If there are opportunities in life," Chaves noted, "it's the individual who has to weigh those."

Paul Wulff will understand that, too.

Sedihawk said...

PTown, good points on Price. I also wonder not only about the UW jokes, but would MP's past hurt us in recruiting? Even though Price was cleared with the SI lawsuit, you still here the obligatory "Destiny" jokes. These coaches aren't angels, and I'm sure some have done much, much worse, but look at it in that light for a moment.

Wouldn't it be easy for an opposing coach to walk into a kid's living room and basically say that Price is a "sinner" and all that? Doba was getting beaten down over his age, but Price might get trampled over his age AND ethics/past transgressions. Even if many at WSU knew the truth about Price, how many programs would pretend to know only what they read in SI?? And how many families would really go out of their way to know the truth? "You sure you want your boy to go play for that guy, who's getting older and lives a fast lifestyle?" You can see the pitch now.

It seems like the last thing we need is to give schools even more ammunition to pursuade them against WSU. That's got to be on Sterk's mind. In fact he said as much in that KJR interview, about Mike's past. Again, Brinkhater is dug in and declaring it a done deal, and there are rumors of Price coming back, but I'm leaning more and more away from the idea with every passing moment.

Anonymous said...

Let's put this way, MP landed a recruit over SC and Nebraska while at UTEP because he made the right promises.
People flock to MP and he generally assumes that everyone is his friend (which I think is what happened at Bama, he trusted some major donors who didn't give a rip about him or his family after MP had too much to drink). I don't know if you have ever talked to MP in person, but if you meet him a 2nd time, he'll remember your son's middle name.
He makes people believe in themselves, which is why he is so successful at recruiting and why I don't think the Bama thing would be detriment.
It's his family (and extended family) that have to deal with the whispers, shouts, accusations again and I just don't know if he wants to put them through that.

Sedihawk said...

We should have very little doubt that MP can recruit! My God, look at the kind of players that came through from 01-03. That wasn't just luck, and that wasn't a bunch of stiffs that were coached up. Look at the 2002 secondary alone, I mean almost all of those kids play in the NFL today. But we'll see what happens if/when he's back in the BCS fray and all that goes with it.

All I know is that people smarter than me are going to make the right decision. Since I don't have hundreds of thousands laying around that I can throw at the university, I don't have a say in what's going to happen. So I trust these guys and I trust the process. And if MP is the choice, then we have to be confident it is the right one. No matter what, these guys are doing their due diligence on getting us the best coach for the right "price". I hope it doesn't drag on for the entire month of December. Isn't a chunk of January a "dead" period for recruiting contact, and that's why December is so important? We're already behind as it is.

Oh, and personally I did meet MP a couple of times, but no more than that. A few of those were on campus in 89 or 90, and then again at a wedding later in the decade. Seemed like a good guy, friendly, the whole deal. But no, he didn't know my son's middle name! But I didn't have any sons yet either. :)

Sedihawk said...

Hmmm....Does Moscow-Pullman airport usually get flights inbound from Lubbock, TX?? Because one is landing from Lubbock at 5:24 pm today.

Nuss said...

I think you all are placing WAAAAAY too much weight on what happened with Price five years ago, at least in terms of the impact it would have on recruiting. I'm a high school teacher, and let me tell you, kids care about NOW ... and pretty much nothing else.

They are not going to care that he was involved in something tawdry five years ago. They were 12 and 13 years old. They were more concerned with popping their first pimples and admiring their first few pubic hairs than reading SI regarding what Mike Price was doing in Alabama. They honestly probably would only remember it if someone brought it up. And they still won't care.

All they'll know is they think Mike is great now. And that's all that will matter.

Now, if you want to make the argument that the donors don't forget, that's true -- rich people have the longest memories. They don't get rich for nothing, and to pretend that's not part of the equation would be naive. But from a purely football coaching standpoint, as long as he's still got the fire, what happened five years ago will have nothing to do with what happens on the field in the future.


Sedihawk said...

Yeah, you are right Nuss, kids don't care about that stuff. But opposing coaches will bring it up to Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad might wonder about the character of the head guy who's going to be watching over their babies away at school.

We'll see! I have faith in the process, and if it's meant to be, he'll be back. Maybe he'll be back in a couple of hours when that plane from Lubbock lands in Pullman.

Sedihawk said...

Never mind on that plane from Lubbock. Texas Tech plays our ladies tomorrow night, so, there you have it. I doubt Price would be on-board. Oh well!

Nuss said...

You know what, though? Parents have far less influence over the process than you think for the vast majority of the kids. Trust me on this one -- with the culture of entitlement that these kids grow up in, they are used to calling their own shots. Mom and dad do not make the decisions for most of these kids. They're just along for the ride, happy their kid's getting a scholly.


Sedihawk said...

Meanwhile, I have to go and read your blog and now I'm worried as hell about Baylor! Thanks alot Nuss.

Actually they sound exactly like the kind of team that could give us trouble. Those teams that fill it up, yikes!