1) Mike Price (Really???)
2) John L. Smith
3) Paul Wulff
4) Bob Gregory
5) Dave Christensen
The usual suspects and names that have been bandied about. John L has been a quote machine of late. I seriously wonder if he's set up a campaign headquarters with a bunch of staffers running around making calls on behalf of the candidacy of the next head coach of the WSU Cougars, John L. Smith! OK John, OK, we get it - you want the job.
But two other names have been leaked, and they are head-scratchers.
First up, Brady Hoke, head coach of Ball State. Hoke is an interesting guy with a strong background with ties to Michigan, spending eight years there under Lloyd Carr on the defensive staff. His NW ties go all the way back to Oregon State, where he coached there from 1989-1994.
It seems a bit odd to tell the truth. Hoke played his college ball at Ball State and is a Ball State guy all the way. His wife went to Ball State, and their only daughter is a student there as well. But when a BCS program comes calling you at least have to listen. On the plus side, he's got some great BCS assistant experience, at OSU and Michigan. But the downside, well, Hoke's record isn't what you would call flattering. 22-36 at Ball State? OK, he's got them at 7 wins this year so they are going bowling, but still.
The other new name in the mix is Ray Sherman. Sherman has a long, varied background in coaching. Sherman played his college football at Fresno State, then began a 14-year college coaching career, including as an assistant at San Jose State in 1974 and jobs at Cal, Michigan State, Wake, Purdue and Georgia. But it's his NFL experience that opens your eyes. He started in Houston, and went on to San Francisco, Atlanta, the New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Green Bay and Tennessee before joining the Cowboys this season. He was the OC for Pete Carroll in 1994 at the Jets, and then in 1998 for the Steelers and 1999 at Minnesota.
The obvious plus here is a huge variety in experiences on both levels. He's likely seen everything there is to see, and he's coached under some outstanding head coaches. He gets a lot of credit for coaching up Green Bay's WR's in his time there, including Donald Driver and Javon Walker. He also gets some credit for the run-n-shoot offense under Jerry Glanville back in his Houston days.
The downside? Well, age for one. He's now 56 years old, not exactly a spring chicken and/or the young, up-and-comer that some speculate will end up with this job. He's got no real ties to the NW. Cal is his closest job he's had to the area, so he would be coming in with very little knowledge of the lay of the land.
Oh, and no mention of Barry Alvarez (Bucky, where are you??).
A few other quickies today:
- To get this out of the way, our friends at Montlake might be in for a VERY long night. My brother-in-law, who shall remain nameless, is a prominent booster over there and actually traveled with the team. Well guess what? They were scheduled to leave SeaTac at 11:15. He called me at 4:30 to say they were STILL SITTING AT THE AIRPORT. No joke. The plane was delayed out of Baltimore. Then, it finally gets there. Guess what?? It's delayed due to mechanical problems!! Finally, at 3:15 AM PST, he e-mailed me from his mobile to say they were finally there but still hadn't checked in to the hotel. It should be an interesting game tonight, after all the travel BS and then oh yeah, that's Colt Brennan and the top passing offense in the galaxy on the other side of the field, rested and ready to try and get a BCS bowl in the biggest game in the history of Hawaii! Over/under on Brennan's passing yards of 500? I'd lean heavily on the over!
- The News Tribune speculates that the coaching turnover might not be as bad as you might think in regards to recruiting. As a matter of fact, if the hire is the "splash" that we are hoping for, recruiting might even be better than it would have been under Doba and company. As Allen Wallace notes, sometimes kids want to hop on the bandwagon. So you never know. I was always under the impression that traditionally, whenever a coach takes over, that first class is always considered down, especially if the search lingers.
- Next, Mike Price again talked about the job on Friday to the El Paso Times. Price did say that things are still very preliminary, and he's off to California to scout a JC game today, and that's the extent of it. A writer for the El Paso Times blogs that he believes Price wants out ot El Paso (what a shock!). And, YES, I feel hard for the FAA website that showed a plane mysteriously traveling from Lubbock, TX to Pullman yesterday.....until I saw that the Lady Red Raiders of Texas Tech were battling June Daughtery's gals today. DUH. Oh well, I admit it.
- Jim Sterk came out yesterday and officially said NO MORE MEDIA stuff!
"We will make no public statement regarding the hiring process or the candidates we are considering," said Sterk. "We are currently screening and researching potential candidates and are hopeful to have a new head coach in place by the first of the year."
- Finally, congrats to Chima and Hannam for making the Sporting News All-Pac-10 Freshman team! Hannam was a nice surprise on the line and looks like he could be a starter for years to come. Chima meanwhile grew up fast, going from an utter disaster early on to being a player that you can really see potential once he gets some more meat on those skinny bones (did you know Chima quietly logged 73 tackles?? Not bad for a true frosh!). I still say that the first time I saw Chima against Idaho, he was raw, no question, but he had really good feet and showed athleticism. I was impressed by both Chima and Giles and I think I got it as to why they were starting. The growing pains were rough, but the future is pretty bright for both Chima and Giles.