Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Morning Buzz

So what's gotten in to Husain Abdullah? Another pick, another 14-tackle game, and
doing a heck of a job in an improving secondary that gets better every week. Now 4 picks on the year, good for second in the conference, and 81 tackles. This is what we expected out of him, and he's been huge to the improving defense. The pick-6 was wonderful, but his biggest contribution might have been after the BRUTAL kickoff fumble by Charles Dillon (Charles - dude - just fall on the frickin' ball at the 4-yard line! What the heck was that??). Abdullah had the 3-yard TFL on first down, then nearly had a pick on a pass attempt on 3rd down to force the field goal attempt. That was maybe the most impressive part of Saturday's win, because I don't know about you, but earlier in the season and Stanford walks into the endzone, they take a 14-13 lead at that point and momentum is 100% Stanford's. Stopping them there was just huge.

Some other tidbits:



  • Cougs got another commit. This time an unheralded, 1-star offensive guard from the OC. He was all-OC as a junior and reportedly "nasty", whatever that means. Tim Hodgdon picked the Cougars over Arizona, Cal, Oregon and ASU among many on his list....but in this day and age of early offers, WSU was the only school to actually extend a scholie? Hmmm. He is a good student, reportedly a 3.8 gpa, so at least he'll get in. Welcome to the family Tim!
  • I'm a little worried about what the crowd is going to look like this Saturday. Doba alluded to it on the post-game show on Saturday night, basically pleading to the students to please stay for the game! Traditionally our attendance of the last home game before the AC in Seattle can be an issue....until you consider the best crowd of all time at WSU was the Stanford game in 1997, which came BEFORE the AC in Seattle the following week! But that was a special circumstance, as that team would have sold out anywhere at that point of the season. In 2003, we hosted ASU the week before the AC and we drew something like 28,000. The game was on TV and from the looks of it, there were probably more like 22,000 in the stands. And that was a top-10 team at the time! This year? Not so much. I don't get the feeling that the pull of seeing Brink's last home start is going to keep the kids from heading home early on Saturday with the idea that they'll just watch the game on TV at 3:30. Hopefully we'll get 30K, but that might be a stretch.
  • Our worst defense of all-time is starting to creep up the Pac-10 rankings. Did you know we're now 8th in the conference in total D, and not that far from Oregon's gang green at #7? We now give up 415 yard per game, which is a lot, but still an improvement from where we were after the Oregon debacle. We've also now given up 44 points in the last 3 games. Not too shabby, but when you consider what we gave up vs. Wisconsin (42), Arizona (48), USC (48) and Oregon (53), well, 44 in a 3-game in-conference stretch is something to celebrate!
  • We're still giving up 52% conversion rate on 3rd down. That's good for last in the conference. But a big improvement on Saturday, holding Stanford to 5-for-18 on 3rd down. And 52% sucks, but it's up from 57% just a few weeks ago, which was last in the universe. Baby steps.
  • I know we only punted once, but it went for 46 yards, no return yards, and it was inside the 20. Suddenly this rugby-thing is becoming a weapon! Who would have thought? Does anyone miss Blunt? Neither do I. Maybe after the season we'll break the story about what really happened with his suspension. What a meat-head.
  • The kickoffs were TERRIBLE. How many times did Stanford field it at like the 25 and next thing you know they were at the 40? Stanford averaged over 21 yards per kickoff return, and when they are fielding it at the 20 or so, that's just plain bad. Sometimes I think we'd be better off to just kick the thing out of bounds every time and let them set up shop on the 40. At least there wouldn't be a threat of them taking it to the house! Or maybe instead of the squib, they should just kick it pop-fly style and make them fair-catch it at the 25 or 30, or better yet, see if they try to field it and maybe we can force a fumble by a return non-hands guy? I don't know the answer, but against Oregon State, giving them a short field is not a good idea.
  • Andy Mattingly is slowly looking like an all-conference linebacker and when the season is over, I wouldn't be surprised to see him at LEAST honorable mention all-conference, if not 2nd-team. 10 tackles vs. Stanford, including another sack, plus a QB hurry. 74 tackles and 8 sacks from a sophomore who only started what, 4 games ago?? Amazing. He could finish at 90 tackles and 10 sacks when it's all said and done. He'll be the face of the Cougar defense next year and I'd bet anything he'll be a captain.
  • Speaking of the Cougar defense - notice how many underclassmen are out there making plays? All four starting LB's are juniors or sophomores (Evans, Trent, Dunn and Mattingly) and they fit that 3-4 like a glove. Both starting corners will be back next year, as well as one safety at Jackson, plus another safety with Hicks who is basically a starter out there. Hicks, man, that kid can lay the wood. With hitting ability like that, I bet we see Hicks as the starter at strong safety and Jackson will slide back to free safety after Husain graduates. Suddenly our back 8 in the 3-4 defense looks like it's going to be pretty salty next year!
  • Happy Veterans Day. Watched Saving Private Ryan on TNT HD last night, what a fantastic movie. But just one more reminder of how brutal things were back then and how hard those guys fought for what we have today. Tom Hanks' last line to Matt Damon in that movie, as he sits dying, has to be one of the best and most underrated lines ever: "Earn this." Wow! Lump in my throat, every time.

Enjoy your week, and as always - GO COUGS!

12 comments:

Brinkhater said...

Great point about the D's hold after the Dillon fumble. At that time, I thought for sure we were gonna lose. But, those guys hung tough and that, in my book, really was the game.

In thinking about next week's game, here's a question for you in the blog-o-sphere. UW was getting hammered on Saturday night until a couple of play action fakes resulted in some really deep bombs for 6. Here's the queston: have we had ONE pass over 40 yards go for six this year?

I can't remember one. Can anyone else???

Sedihawk said...

Close, but not a lot of big TD plays.

Jeshua Anderson 39-yd TD catch vs. SD State. That's it! A couple of 30+-yarders in there, but majority of Brink's TD's are in the 8-20-yard range. But seriously though, isn't that really by design? We NEVER take shots on the HR balls anymore. It's just not even in our playbook anymore. Go look at highlights from 2005 and look now, and it's totally different. We've seen us take a few deep shots, but the ball just doesn't get there like it should. I distinctly remember seeing a few deep shots vs. Wisconsin, and the ball dying about 5 yards short of Gibson and to the inside. But oh well. What does it matter anymore? We're 10 games in, we are who we are, and nothing will change that. That said, I'D LOVE TO SEE US TAKE SOME SHOTS DEEP ON OSU! Those guys are out of this world against the run, but in doing so, there may be some serious opportunities down the field. Because you know Riley isn't going to respect our ability to go deep down the field, and you know they'll be jumping the short routes early and often while crowding the line (might this be a Football Friday preview!?!?) :)

Brinkhater said...

Exactly.

As we've noted before, the deep ball was there in 2005 because Harrison had 150 by halftime and those safeties had to pinch WAY up to stop the run. That enabled Brink to throw the tear drop and to have Hill run under it, bat it around to himself, or whatever.

But since the ghost left, those safeties have stayed pretty deep which has allowed teams to play bend, bend, bend against us....

OSU is pretty agressive which means that they are going to jump those short routes all day long...So for us two things offensively will come into play:

1) Can we run the football?

2) Can we pass protect well enough to give Brink time to pump fake and get the DBs to bite?

For Brinkhater, both of those are REALLY tall orders..Our D is going to have to play one helluva game.

And we better take our chances on kickoffs because Serna will make us pay if the Beavs start on the 45 every stinkin' possession.

Its gonna be interesting...

Anonymous said...

Hey, I watched that movie, too. What a classic war movie. Tom Hanks, usually the innocent good guy, did a great job as the noble but torn captain. I missed the ending the first time it played, but caught it the second time around.

Anyways, hopefully those crazy college kids stick around. You know, while watching the Stanford game and, in general all the games this weekend, I realized that I really miss seeing the Cougs in a bowl game. Has it really been 4 years? Come on guys, next years O ain't looking too good. Now or never time. Buckle up and let's go!

Sedihawk said...

This could be the best defense we face all year, and that has me beyond worried. I know they gave up 23 to UW, but, if you watched that game you know they were in complete control when Locker was in that game. Locker's stats were pretty much nil, and outside of a couple of decent runs, he did nothing. Those Beavers, man, they just get after you with a chip on their shoulder. Even if Locker had stayed in that game, there was no way UW was going to win.

What is it with Bonnell anyway? Is he the luckiest QB who ever lived? His completion % sucks, and he's wild as hell, yet all of a sudden he'll kill you with a big play. That performance on Saturday reminded me so much of the AC last year, where you totally keep him under control and he looks like crap, then boom, all of a sudden he hits a deep ball or a ball is tipped funny or whatever and things just work out. I can't understand it. But we'll worry about him in a week.

Speaking of the UW - OSU game - The Beavs' got TOTALLY SCREWED on that fumble call on the goal-line! Did anyone see that? Bernard was not only down on his knees, but even his chest was down when he stuck that ball across the goal-line. How in the hell did those refs blow that call??? I know OSU was out of timeouts, but I was shocked when they didn't review it. Are they really that incompetent? The rule clearly states that the ground can't cause a fumble. Plus the replay ref is supposed to be watching every play and they can step in on anything that's deemed worth reviewing. How they could miss that is just terrible. Can you imagine the outrage if UW would have gone on to win that game? A couple of minutes left to go in the 4th quarter, a 6-point game, and the refs can't see what every viewer saw in HD glory? Brutal.

Anyway, back to OSU - the one thing in our favor that we can't fully overlook is the fact that the game is in Pullman. That's a place we've actually done well this year, now 3-1 in games on the Palouse, the only loss to ASU in a game we shoulda-coulda won. Plus, Oregon State is 1-4 on the road this year, their only win coming at Cal (which was an impressive win nonetheless). They are a home field team in every way and get a real boost with their home crowd. With their shaky-at-best-QB situation, it's going to be imperative that we stop their running game. In fact I'll go this far, in that outside of UCLA right now, Oregon State has the worst set of QB's in the conference, period. I studied and wrote about those guys all summer and fall, and let me tell you, they are bad.

So if Bernard is cracking us for 6+ per touch, we're in for a long, frustrating day. But if we can put the game in the hands of Moevao or Canfield if he's healthy enough to play, then we've got ourselves a ballgame. I'd love nothing more than to see 2nd or 3rd and long and our 3-4 defense confusing those QB's!

Saving Pvt Ryan - Hanks was outstanding. He's brilliant anyway, but he's so good in that role. Like you said that captain with high morals and a great, understated leader, dealing with a personal issue himself, but driven to see the mission through. Just amazing. But all of them were great and believable, I mean you really feel like you are watching real footage of D-day or WWII. It was that good.

Sedihawk said...

Speaking of those terrible Pac-10 ref's, here's the worst call ever with Bernard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O1QGjGFYlg

Can ANYONE look at that play more than once and think he wasn't down!?!? Unreal.

longball said...

I think a defensive score is imperative for the Cougs this weekend!

regarding the crowd for OSU, it was great for Doba to plead the case in the post game show. But i really hope that the athletic department is on the case. There should be some kind of free t-shirt giveaway, campaign blitz on campus this week.

Oh damn, i just saw that Rachel Nichols is in Seattle reporting on the Hawks for tonights game. I am so in lurve with her! Ok, i am off to the espn set to stalk her, ciao!

John Berkowitz said...

Sedi and Brinkhater- JAke the guy that runs the OSU blog would like to do a Q&A with you guys this week before the game. He is a good guy, and fun to work with. I wouldn't mind doing one with you guys before the Apple Cup. I don't have your email addresses anymore so email me at john@medequote.com

From John at the Husky Blog.

Jake said...

Hey, it's Jake from Building the Dam, the OSU Beaver blog from SB Nation. I've been trying to find contact info for one of you, but can't. I'm interested in doing a post game interview with someone here, so if you guys are interested, shoot me off an e-mail at jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com.

Thanks--

--jake

jake said...

I see that John posted the same thing right above me... sorry for the repetition...

Anonymous said...

I believe the pass to Gibson for the TD against ASU that was ruled incomplete (even though we all saw he had possession and it should have been 6 - might have been difference in game?) was over 40yds - I believe it was??...so that coulda been our ONE ;)

Yeah, we really need to throw the ball downfield...unfortunately Brink underthrows and I am shocked Gibson/Dillon have not been more animated about it on the field/sidelines (ala TO) but glad it is not happening for team chemistry's sake. And where is Anderson - haven't seen him involved in a while? They could at least spread the defense with him as a decoy.....would be cool to see Dillon, Gibson, Anderson, and Collins all going out on passes - I can't imagine how that could be covered??

Question - don't we have the best home record in the nation against Oregon St?? I thought I'd heard that in the past somewhere? - that Oregon St has only beat us 5 times in Pullman over all the years??

Billyblaze

E said...

Billyblaze,
I don't know where to answer your specific question, but if you haven't checked it out before the "College Football Data Warehouse" is the shiz.

WSU vs. OSU