Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who's Coming With Me?

While Wulff hits the recruiting trail, and he was out there last night and will burn it up until Sunday along with some of the assistants before the "dead period" starts Sunday, the logical question now is who's going to be on the staff? There is a lot of speculation being thrown around right now, so we'll get right to it:

Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach: Todd Sturdy. No-huddle offensive guru who was an amazingly successful head coach at the NAIA level, from St. Ambrose in Davenport, IA (Danny Noonan: "St. Copius of northern....where?"). Sturdy was 85-40 as a head man at St. Ambrose and was a guy Wulff sought out to coordinate his offense. Get ready for some wide-open, entertaining offense! Sturdy's arrival also likely signals the end of the Rosenbach era. How will you remember Rosey? An innovative offensive coach who could call a game? The guy who kept trotting Alex Brink out there, time and time and time again, and helped tear the team apart back in 2004 with the Swogger controversy? The guy who wore the $4000 leather NFL jacket and........never mind.

Offensive Line: This appears to be unsettled. Yarno says today that he has "no idea" if he'll be retained, and at this point he hasn't talked to Wulff. Yarno also says he'd like to be considered for the EWU head coaching job, so we'll see how it shakes out. Tom Ackerman, former NFL'er, was at EWU with Wulff last year but we'll see what happens. The O-line is Wulff's baby, for obvious reasons, so he may have someone in particular in mind here.

Running Backs: Steve Broussard. I think that's pretty obvious that Bruiser will be here. Not only the relationship with Wulff, where they are considered friends (not sure how close they are?), but the LA recruiting ties are huge in this. And the improvement out of both Tardy and especially Ivory was eye-opening this year. Like Wulff, Bruiser is from CA and is someone who can stand in a living room and preach the goodness of escaping to Pullman.

Receivers: A VERY good question. Levy would be the most logical choice here. Not only regarded by Jack Thompson and many, many others as one of the best true WR teachers on the west coast, but he's also got a good reputation for recruiting the south sound. Levy was credited with recruiting guys like Trufant and Rien Long, and has a good reputation out there (my UW connections have told me repeatedly they think pretty highly of Levy and admire what he's accomplished). HOPEFULLY they keep him, but it's up in the air. While his son JT is in the WSU program, that's no guarantee that Levy will stick with it. We've heard even one rumor that he's considering stepping away from college ball altogether and instead would like to coach high school ball in Tacoma.

Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator: Rich Rasmussen. Rasmussen served the exact same job for Wulff at EWU, and he'll be doing the same in Pullman. Rasmussen is from Lincoln High school in the Tacoma area and has a good reputation for running an organized recruiting effort, particularly in-state. Sadly, this will spell the end of Greg Peterson. I don't know if you got a chance to hear him speak much, but I really like what I heard and saw of him. He gave a good presentation of recruits at the football dinner in Bellevue last year, and was a regular on the Elise and Ian show on KJR on a weekly basis during football season. I actually thought he could be a candidate for the head job, but it wasn't to be.

D-Coordinator: It SOUNDS as though fromer WSU receiver (and little brother of Cotton Sears), Jody Sears will be the choice. And to be honest, it doesn't sound like it's a great choice. I've done a little reading about him and even some EWU faithful weren't exactly in love with the defense, and basically with the Eagles it was shootout-city. Wulff did talk that they will play with high energy and commitment to stopping the run, so you have to like the sound of that. But "Zesty" told me last night that he was impressed with what he saw of the Eagles energy and passion on defense, and that vs. App State they were flying around and playing hard, so that's good. Sears is a 4-3 guy all the way, and that makes me wonder a bit about what we're going to look like next year. Our d-line is extremely thin as it is, and our whole season turned about when we threw the switch to a 3-4. Our 4 linebackers played well down the stretch and they are all back in the fold for next year, so we'll see if Sears is flexible.

D-Line: Former Coug, LC and Sacajawea junior high star Malik Roberson (what up Malik??) will be coming to coach the defensive front. Malik, you've got your work cut out for you. Basically you have Mike Graise and Ahmu with experience.....and that's pretty much it. Toby Turpin, Jesse Feagen, Kevin Kooyman, Matt Eichelberger, etc, have had some experience, but you will really need to coach 'em up here.

Linebackers: Travis Niekamp is rumored to be on the way from EWU. He's spent 4 years with Wulff at EWU in the same position, and if he's coming, he's coming for this job. He's going to have a full cupboard of talent and experience. Imagine if Stripling can return next year, you could have FIVE starting-caliber LB's - Mattingly, Dunn, Trent, Evans and Stripling - to work with. NICE.

Secondary: Wide open. No clue where they will go here. The TNT mentions a couple of former EWU assistants from Wulff's past, a guy from Boise State and a guy coaching for Tampa Bay. But it appears rather obvious that newcomer David Walkosky won't be kept. But it is unsettled, so, we'll see how it plays out.

Some quickie news-n-notes:

  1. Bud Withers weighs in on the selection of Wulff. Some good quotes out of Erickson here. It's a good read, so check it out.
  2. The best WSU beat guy around, Howie Stalwick, gives his recap of the presser here.
  3. Cougfan's Barry Bolton writes about the press conference and has some good quotes.
  4. Pod-cast CITY: Elise and Ian spoke to Jack Thompson - in TWO parts - last night. Give those a listen here and here. And then Jim Sterk came on later last night and talked about the whole process here. Highly recommended!
  5. Finally, the Go-2-Guy weighed in on Tuesday for some personal interest/background stuff on Wulff, most of which you've probably heard by now but still a good read.

After soaking it all in, there's one thing that's striking me at least - Wulff HAS SOME SERIOUS ONIONS. What the hell? Why sit back and say "aw, gee, shucks, we're sure going to try and be competitive around here." Why not say we're going to try and whoop ASS? Why be afraid? Why not throw a barb or two at the rivals at Montlake? I love Doba just like the rest of us, but we've had too much of an aw-shucks approach to this program over the last few seasons. Make no mistake about it, Wulff is a head coach and is going to go after things as aggressively as possible. How can you not like that?


AtlantaCoug said...

I am as excited as anyone else. I like the idea of a no huddle offense...but the downside of that would be an even shorter time of possesion for the Cougs Offense. Seems to me our Defense is always on the field anyway, and this won't help. Especially when Defensive Depth is an achillies heel as it is.

Not trying to spread doom and gloom. I am sure we will be fun to watch, just concerned how that will play out on the defense.

Sedihawk said...

Good Morning ATLCoug. Glad to see you checking in.

I couldn't agree more. The gut reaction to a no-huddle is a lot of quick drives, and with our depth, no doubt it's a concern. The only thing though is that Wulff also said yes, no-huddle and aggressive as hell, but also that he strives for a 50-50 balance of run-pass ratio. Nichols threw for 3700 yards and 34 TD's, but they had a strong running game. Their starting tailback, Dale Morris, almost had 1,000 yards rushing. So I think that we'll see them at least try to balance things out. You can't be a run-n-shoot like Houston used to be where they throw it 60 times a game, eventually you'd think it would wear everyone out, including the offense! I know this - I can't wait until spring ball to see how all this stuff shakes out. And I can't wait for the football dinner in February. 100% chance I'll be there now!

kaddy said...

I'm a little worried that Sears might be over his head if he is the D-Coordinator. I have no issues with him joining the staff, but having that role in the Pac-10 is light years from that role at EW. Guess it isn't settled yet, however.

diek said...

So it looks like Sturdy will do QB's as well? I think that is good news. I'm not a big Timm fan, and as much as Gesser was an amazing player for us, at some point you hope that our coaching staff doesn't turn into a "good old boys club" for former Coug players.

I gotta say Sedihawk, I was on the fence with Wulff but your analysis is pulling me into the Wulff camp in a big way. Nothing but optimism in my house.

At least we get a break from all this to think about the kick ass basketball team we have in town right now...its the only consolation while watching everyone else get to play in bowls...again.

Nuss said...

I'm not too worried about the no-huddle thing -- if there's anything that's become clear in what's been reported of Wulff, it's that he's a flexible coach who will do whatever it takes to get the most out of his personnel's strengths. If the no-huddle doesn't suit the team he's got, then he's not going to be stupid just to run it.

Sedihawk said...

It will be interesting to see where the no-huddle leads. But I think we're thinking no-huddle, we're thinking the old Houston Cougars run-n-shoot with a no-huddle. Remember that Oregon this year ran a ton of no-huddle, read-option offense. They had an excellent mix of run and pass and they weren't rushing to the line to snap the ball with 20 seconds still on the play clock. Oregon was very under control. Dixon was brilliant, but that was only his first year in that offense. But man it could be ugly too, witness how their season fell apart (boohoo!).

But it will be an extremely interesting spring to see and hear how things shake out. Who's going to grab the QB job? Will someone transfer due to the new offense and/or Wulff himself? Will a darkhorse like Cole Morgan or even young Loebesstal grab the job? It's going to be huge.

I'm really interested in the defense too. That's going to be harder to figure out how we're doing there until some real games start. It's not like we'll be blitzing a ton in scrimmages.

HELL, the whole thing is interesting! I'll be at that football dinner in February in Bellevue, and I can't wait to hear Wulff in that setting. I know he was there last year but he didn't take the podium or anything. Should be pretty different this year.