Monday, December 31, 2007

Alex Brink's Final Chapter

Ok, so, Alex won't win any popularity contests. Not here, and probably not anywhere else. But we'll always have the Apple Cup wins with #10. And since it's New Year's Eve, why not look back at the biggest drive of 2007?

Happy New Year, Cougar Nation!



video


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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Gess is Best; What Up With Those Beavs?

I guess it was a little predictible, but the first-ever WSU Football Blog poll question has selected Jason Gesser as the runaway winner for "Best WSU QB Ever". More than size or stats, Gesser just plain won. And who can ever forget his guts vs. UCLA in 2002? That performance still resonates today, and will always be with Coug fans everywhere.

Gesser finished with 61 out of 140 individual votes, or 43% of all votes cast. Bledsoe took 2nd with 39 votes, or 27%, followed by Leaf, who finished with 30 votes or 21%. Also interesting...but not really....was Brink finishing way back, with 10 votes, tied with the Throwin' Samoan.

I guess the voting shows one huge thing - wins, well, win votes. Statistically, Brink is the all-time leader in passing yards and TD's at WSU, and even won 3 Apple Cups, but he never tasted post-season play. That is the end-result of all this. But maybe it's not fair for Brink. Maybe some time needs to pass before it's even much of a debate. He did what he could with limited tools, and was absolutely great in his Apple Cup performances, so he'll always rate as one of the best. But clearly he'll never be looked upon as THE best, and no matter if it's 140 or 140,000 votes, he'll likely never break the Gesser-Bledsoe-Leaf ratings.

Predictably, this is a slow time right now for the football program. The holidays, the dead period in recruiting, and of course, no bowl game. But there is a little recruiting news. Cougfan has a story about Andrei Lintz, a 2-star TE prospect out of Bellingham. He holds an offer from WSU and has the Cougs as his leader. The usual NW schools are in the mix, but he hasn't been offered from UW, Oregon or OSU. He's a big, versatile kid at 6-4, 227, playing both ways and even punted in 2005.

The Sporting News has a story about the 1997 Rose Bowl breakthrough (it should be on the news feed to the right, but here's a link). What a team, and what a season. The Fab Five, the Fat Five, Leaf getting Heisman hype, Price the coach of the year, and even the defense was #1 in the Pac-10 in total D. That team was just so flippin' special, and really, pretty damn close to winning a national title. If they execute in the end vs. ASU, and they get another snap vs. Michigan, who the hell knows what could have been?

Like Nuss wrote about on his blog, he was covering the Cougars in 1997 for the Evergreen. He saw Mike Price weeping after that ASU loss. Not because they had simply lost the game, but because that was such a special team, and such a special season. That team was NOT a paper tiger. Remember, they had to go to USC, which was never easy, to Oregon, which is always tough, to ASU, which of course was the only regular season loss, and to UW, which was a top-10 team for a lot of 1997. They had OSU as their bye, and the Beav's were smack-dab in the middle of 27 straight losing seasons. They earned every inch of that season. Ah, memories.

Finally, hats off to Oregon State. Another 9-win, bowl-winning season. And thanks for representing the lousy Pac-10 showing thus far in the bowl season. To think that they won 9 games, and a bowl game, with a lousy QB situation (11 td's, 21 int's?) and the loss of the #1 returning WR in Stroughter?? Amazing coaching job by Riley by getting 9 wins out of a season that had 5-7 written all over it, especially when they were sitting at 2-3! They ran off 7 wins in their last 8 games. Nobody in the Pac-10 circles the wagons better than Mike Riley and the Beav's. Don't believe me? Last year, guess how they started their season? 2-3. How did they finish? 10-4, with a bowl victory. Amazing.

It really is impressive what they've been able to establish after so many years of misery. 27 straight losing seasons is hard to turn around! But think about where they are now - They've now won 5 of their 6 bowl games in this decade. They now have 58 victories since 2000, behind only USC and Oregon in the Pac-10. They've won 4 of their last 6 games vs. the hated Quacks. It's all about that 2000 season, with the Erickson excitement and Fiesta Bowl romp that got it all rolling. Now they have a fantastic, intimate 45,000+ seat facility that is first-class in every way.

As Kaddy and I have conversed, OSU did it, yes, with a sugar-daddy in the Reser sponsorship. But they've also done a genius thing, and that is reach out to the middle-level donor. The young alums that are establishing themselves in society are able to not only get season tickets, but the school makes them feel "special" I guess is the way to put it. OSU makes the middle guy feel important, if not downright VITAL, to the program's success, and they've managed to reel in those fish and not wasting energy in trying to land the White Whale. /criticism: Maybe our athletic department needs to worry less about landing Moby Dick (cough*Paul Allen*cough) and more about getting the middle guy with $500 in his pocket and would love to feel like he's important?? /end critcism. Just sayin'.



We'll have a new poll question up this week. The first one was an easy place to start, but if you have any suggestions, leave a comment. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Can Jed-Zilla Make it in the NFL?

In a very slow time for football news, there is a small blurb about Jed-Zilla. Jed Collins will play in the East-West Shrine game this year where old Jed can display his self-proclaimed 5+ 40-time for NFL scouts. But seriously, is Collins a true NFL propsect?

Believe it or not, Collins is in fact on the NFL draft radar. I know it's early for mock drafts and stuff like that. But a search found this profile of Collins at something called NFL Draft Scout. But the different thing here is that Collins is actually scouted as an NFL fullback, and not at TE where he set a WSU receiving record with 52 balls in '07. But when you really think about it? Collins projects much better at fullback than tight end at the next level. In fact, right now he's regarded as the #5 fullback in the upcoming NFL draft! But why is he more fullback than tight-end?

Well, for one thing, have YA SEEN NFL tight ends these days? These cats are gigantic, plus almost all of them run like NFL WR's. Collins checked in at a pro day measurement at nearly 6-2, and weighing 254 lbs. He also reportedly has clocked a 4.88. Not bad for the Pac-10, in fact that's pretty slow, but on the next level? No WAY will that fly as an NFL tight-end. But at fullback? Absolutely.

If you've watched Collins much over the years, you know first and foremost that he's what coaches love to call a "football player". He's the tough kind of kid that will put his head down and try to run through you vs. running out of bounds or falling down to protect himself. He leaves it all on the field, every Saturday. You appreciate that as a fan, that he's giving everything he has for his school, and it's a great thing to watch. But he's also one hell of a lead blocker on running plays, and you can see why he's regarded as a top-5 fullback prospect.

I still recall the UCLA game this year, and watching Collins time and again motion across the line before the snap, only to shoot back across and act as a lead blocker on a trap or a kick-out run on a counter play. UCLA came into that game as the top rushing defense in the conference, but Dwight Tardy gashed them for over 200 yards that day. Tardy is a pretty good back who has a bright future if he can stay healthy, but the O-line, and particularly COLLINS, was the story that day.

And in today's NFL, if you are a fullback and, oh yeah, you can catch the ball a little bit out of the backfield? You have a very bright future. It's easy to picture Collins as a New England Patriot, you know, the kind of smart, scrappy, team-first player that Bill Belichick absolutely covets. Collins would fit like a glove on that team. He's be a big upgrade over Heath Evans. Or even a team like the Seahawks, where Tim Ruskell talks to janitors and lunch-ladies about the kind of character in potential draft picks. Collins could be an excellent west-coast offense fullback.

WSU Football Blog wholeheartedly endorses Jed Collins, NFL fullback! Good luck Jed-Zilla, and thanks for leaving it all on the Martin Stadium turf every Saturday.
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Ho Ho Ho!

And in case you are wondering, YES, that is WSU Football Blog's own Bad Santa. Yep, it's Hooty McBoob, flashing the christmas onions at anyone/everyone. Even children. Bad Santa! There's a good story behind the shot, so, maybe Hooty will swing by and elaborate?

The blog continues to evolve. Right now I've enabled an RSS feed of the Spokesman's sports blog feed. I couldn't get it to filter WSU results, so you'll see a little bit of everything. But the cool part is that now you'll see new SR.com blog stories pop on the right without having to go check. I'll try to add some more as the week rolls on, but I think it's a pretty cool feature.

AND, as the RSS feed clearly states, WE'RE NUMBER 4 BABY! How about them apples? #4 in the AP, #4 in the coaches. Tops in WSU history. Unbelievable. Once again, I'll steal Brinkhater's line for 2007-08 - "Enjoy this. Enjoy this ride for as long as it lasts. You and me, we have no idea if we'll ever be in this position again. So don't over-analyze it, don't wring your hands, just simply enjoy the ride."

Happy Holidays to you and yours. "Enjoy the ride" with your family and friends. Life is too short and like the sports analogy, you just never know when you'll be here again. Just remember: Tomorrow is guaranteed to no man!

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

How Much Will the Cougs Miss Harmeling?

Uh-oh. I hope this isn't the beginning of the dreaded injury bug (knock on anything resembling wood right now). But 6th man and legit 3-pt threat Daven Harmeling is now out at least 4 weeks with a broken thumb. Damn.

I guess we'll see how much moxie these guys really have. That Pac-10 schedule to open up the year is pretty brutal, with the first 3 and 5 of the first 7 on the road. By the time they get Harmeling back they could be in a gloomy hole. Our guy Nuss on Hoops has a good write-up here on how this injury could hamper the offense.

It didn't hurt today, however, as the Cougars rolled over Idaho State in an outcome most saw coming. But that early Pac-10 schedule was going to be a grind anyway. This only makes it a little more "sticky" to say the least!

But it's not the end of the world. This is a shot for some of the younger guys like Caleb Forrest, Thomas Abercrombie and Nikola Koprivica to try and fill the void. And who knows, maybe what we'll see is Low and Weaver really take charge over the next month. Then the younger guys will get some serious minutes, hopefully building some much-needed confidence in the process. Then when Harmeling comes back, it could be almost like acquiring a big-time shooter for the stretch run?? That's best-case scenario, obviously. Thank God we have the talent and skill of Low and Weaver right now!

On the football front, not a lot happening. We're still running with the story that our source told us McEndoo has been hired, but it's still not officially announced. We haven't got the why just yet, but McEndoo is the new o-line coach.

In recruiting, Cougfan has a story that Wulff and company did apparently make some in-roads in California($) in a very short time. A 3-star DE from Santa Margarita named Logan Russell is interested, and has now received a WSU offer. He'll be taking a trip to Pullman on 1/18. On the trip with him will be a quick WR named Kevin Norrell out of Long Beach Poly HS. Should be interesting to see how this class comes together down the stretch. Not that we're expecting a lot, but if anything, we'll likely see some lower rated, yet high-in-character type guys in this class. Click here for more ...plus Comments

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Excuse Our Dust....

Aw, cheer up sweetheart. YES, WSU Football Blog has changed, but don't worry! It'll be ok. Turn that frown upside down!

As you, loyal reader, can see, WSU Football Blog has undergone a bit of a "lift" so to speak. It was time. The old Crimson-n-Grey lady was showing some age and saggy-ness since being born in the fall of 2004, so it's time to step up. Like Paul Wulff is rebuilding the program, it's time to go under the knife around here and add some cool new stuff to keep YOU coming back, day after day.

First, your regular blog contributors are still here - Hooty McBoob, Brinkhater (artist formerly known?), and myself, Sedihawk. But after a season on the shelf, our old friend Rooster has been coaxed out of retirement and is going to climb on board! Welcome back Roost, old friend. We look forward to your biting commentary and humor. As they say, you can take the Rooster out of Reardon, but you can't take the Reardon out of Rooster.

You'll notice some new features right away - we'll be running some weekly polls, so you are encouraged to vote early and often. We've kept our standard links, so don't worry about that. But we've added some news feeds to the right, as well as a scrolling ticker-style news feed at the bottom if you are so inclined. Should be much easier to get your mainstream media stuff now. We've also embedded some YouTube WSU video for your viewing enjoyment to the bottom-right. You can view the YouTube video from right here in our little blog without ever having to leave! Isn't that wonderful???

Speaking of video, stay tuned there. We've got stacks of DVD's from our glory years and not-so-glory years, and you'll start to see more clips and such. Some will be from the YouTube feed, but some will be embedded right here on the site. We'll try to get something fresh and new up on a weekly basis to tide you over until spring ball hits next year.

As ALWAYS, your feedback is welcome and highly encouraged. Keep it coming. And if you do comment, put a user name. If you've noticed, you can just enter a name on the fly now at Blogger and not have to validate anything with an e-mail address or a sign-up. But we'd like to know who you are with your user-names.

Finally, little WSU Football Blog is all growed up! From what started as a way to not choke corporate e-mail servers with our inane blabbering about the Cougar football program, it's really come a long way. We are at nearly 45,000 hits in the last two years. Not exactly ESPN, but we're not really trying for that anyway. We don't promote this site, we just do it out of a labor of love. But somehow, you found us. Keep coming back, because it will be worth your while.


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Friday, December 21, 2007

Uncle Hooty's Holiday Grab Bag

Holiday Greetings, Cougies!

The McBoob children were happy to see Santa Butch last week on the CdA lights cruise. May your holiday be filled with cheer and good will; and may your kids be cute as mine.

It's Day 4 of Invasion of the In-Laws '07 at the McBoob residence. The bad news is that I gave up my mattress pad for the guest bed and my back is killing me. The good news is that Auntie Doris is taking me to the casino tomorrow. Karma, guys - it's a beautiful thing.

I am happy to let you know that Jason McEndoo has in fact, accepted the position of O-Line coach at WSU. This, according to a source close to the program. Why the announcement is being delayed is anyone's guess but these two things are certain: 1-Yes, we have a source (and it is even somewhat credible.) 2-This is a good hire for Coach Wulff.

Not only is Coach Mac an accomplished artist (remember these t-shirts?), he can also coach a little bit. Jason just wrapped up his 4th season as O-Line coach of Montana State, where he is credited with putting together one of the best lines in the program's history. Among his pupils was Jeff Bolton, the 2005 Rimington Award winner for 1-AA. Bolton, who played only 6 games as a center in college "gives credit to his versatility as a lineman to his offensive line coach Jason McEndoo, who came to MSU at the start of Bolton's sophomore year. "He was an amazing coach. He taught me almost everything I know about playing offensive line," Bolton said. "All my technique and everything I owe to him." (Idaho Mountain Express, 2/28/05)

When a coaching change occurs, there's a lot of adjustment and learning that happens for both the players and the coaches. When McEndoo arrived at MSU in 2003, he inherited a group that included Brent Swaggert, who would go on to earn first-team Big Sky honors that year and has since bounced around the NFL. The coach recognized that in his situation as "the new guy," he could learn from his players as much as they could learn from him, saying of Swaggert "The most important thing about Brent is his leadership, and his ability to talk to the young guys and help them through situations. That really helps me." (msubobcats.com)

So what are we getting in McEndoo? First and foremost, a Coug. But also a young coach with enthusiasm; knowledge of the game (MSU employed a zone blocking scheme, similar to the Denver Broncos); the ability to coach-up young players and the versatility to help them achieve award status; AND a guy who is not afraid to delegate some of the responsibilities for the unit to his upper-classmen. With our mix of experience and youth on the line in 'o8, I'm pretty pleased with this hire - and it helped to find out that over the last few years McEndoo has paid a few visits to Coach Yarno for some pointers.

Mike Belotti to UCLA?? I imagine that "The Phil" will have his hand in this one way or another but our resident newshound, Hawk found this interesting tidbit this morning about the very possibility. Don't worry, Mike. Wherever you go, we'll still hate you.

I was out last night and only got to listen to the second half of the basketball game on the radio as I made my way home. I hadn't listened to a game in a long time but it lead to a few observations...

Bud Nameck has really improved his play-by-play but you can tell the difference between a really good play-by-play guy and one who's a little less experienced by how they handle time-outs and breaks in play. A seasoned vet continues to break down the game, and provide other insight that may have been quickly skipped-over during the rapid pace of the game. Nameck, on the other hand, was giving play-by-play of every on-court promo that took place - in great detail. I don't care that some schmo just won an X-Box for hitting a half-court shot; I want to know how many elbows Aron Baynes has thrown .

I placed a call to my little gay friend, Poo during the game and he was sitting with the Mayor of Mt Vernon (2012) courtside, right behind Kevin Durant. Did anyone (who knows him) see him?

It must have been nice for Durant to be back in front of a big crowd. Over 12K in attendance! I wonder how many will be there for the NC A&T game on the 28th? At least two - me and my Father-in-Law. (I see more good karma in my future...)

At the end of the game, Bud was all excited and emphatically proclaimed "... the undeafeated, 6th-ranked Cougs head to Pocatello, Idaho!" Did anyone else hear this? I'm as excited as the next guy about the status of our basketball team but Pocatello, Idaho doesn't have quite the same credibility as Durham, North Carolina, does it? I hope this soft non-conference schedule doesn't come back to bite us.

QUESTION:

Playing in front of what kind of crowd, will better prepare your team for Pac10 League play: A or B?


A












B

One last thought from last night's game. Being new to this whole "We're a Basketball School" thing you'll need to bear with me... With a 30-point lead in the second half, against a team of 5 Freshmen, is it still cool for the crowd to chant "You Got Swatted!"; or like a booger in your grandma's nose, do you just politely pretend not to see it? We need to know these things.

Merry Christmas, Cougs!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Quick-Hits

We've written before about the on-the-field ramifications of missing out on bowl games. The extra 15 practices were always something Mike Price would talk up as the invaluable experience for his younger players in the program. These days it's even more important, due to the limit on the number of hours per week that a coaching staff can hold organized practice sessions, etc. But if you factor out the last 4 years of "I'll be home for Christmas" for our Cougs, that's roughly 60 practices that our youth has missed out on! No wonder some schools continually go to bowl games, while others like UW, WSU and Arizona struggle to get back up there when they have a few down years.

But not only do the players miss out on the practices and the hope of nice weather and the bowl gear and extra attention on national TV? But they miss out on REALLY COOL STUFF. ESPN ran through what some of the gifts each player will receive just being on a bowl team roster this year. For a lot of poor college kids, imagine not only getting the bowl game experience, but also getting a $500 gift on top of everything else? How cool is that? And how much does that SUCK for non-bowl teams??


Moving on.....seriously.....the mother of the Spears children must sure be proud these days. Not only has her oldest daughter completely veered off the tracks, but trainwreck number-2 is now knocked up...at 16??? Say it ain't so, Zoey 101! How do you piss away a couple of millionaire gravy trains like Britney and Jamie Lynn? Simply put, UNBELIEVABLE. Lynne Spears, right now you are looking like a number-1 seed in the white-trash Southeast Region in the Worst Mother Ever tournament.


The Cougs get it on with the Citadel tonight. Nice to see that a projected 10 K will be there as the wet side fans get a first-hand chance to view their heroes. Jerry Brewer had a good write-up of Tony Bennett and the boys. He makes a good point too, in that it's hard to have a sustained run of success if you haven't ever done it before. Sure, you can rattle off a couple of winning seasons in a row, maybe even make a deep run (see: UW). But the key is how long can you actually sustain it? Two years ago UW looked like it would be a top-3 Pac-10 team, year in and year out. Now, even with the splashy recruiting class of a couple of years ago, they are barely .500 and don't look like a tournament team, for the second consecutive year? Kind of amazing really. Now Brinkhater will likely point out later that this run is in fact sustainable given Tony Bennett and the kind of program he runs, that not only is so unique but also places a premium on heart and character over talent. Like the great quote in the Brewer story, "Make a mistake on talent, but don't make a mistake on character", you know that most years Bennett is going to have the right kinds of kids in the program. But, I guess the point is, enjoy the ride while it lasts and most of all, don't worry about tomorrow!

Did Cougfan jump the gun on announcing Jason McEndoo is the new o-line coach at WSU? As Corso says....well...you know what he says. It appears so. At first, the story headline was that McEndoo had been confirmed by two sources as the new coach, but now, there's a bit of back-peddling going on. Another story appeared here, again saying the official stance from WSU officials is that no announcement is pending, and it may not be until after x-mas or even new year's before there's something to say. As a former offensive lineman who dominated Mike Lustyk, Hooty gets the floor in all things offensive-line-speak. He should be putting up a post in the next day or so about McEndoo, IF in fact he is the choice?? Click here for more ...plus Comments

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tru Gets His Due


Sooooo happy to see a classy kid get his Pro Bowl nod today. That's right, Marcus Trufant, PRO BOWL STARTER for the NFC. And you can't say he didn't earn it this year. The numbers don't lie, and 7 INT's is huge.

Reportedly a lot of credit can go to Jim Mora on this one. I heard an interview earlier this year where they said that one of the first questions Mora asked when he showed up in Kirkland is "why isn't Trufant a left corner?" Left corners are where the true, elite, shut-down types usually go, and Trufant has battled shoulder injuries over the years that made it more of a struggle on that side. But Mora insisted he move back to his natural position, and the rest is beautiful music.

Now the bad news, if you are a Seahawks fan - Trufant will be a free agent this year. Not bad timing to have your career year at age 27 and free agency looming?? I'd love to see him stay in Seattle and keep building his career and reputation in the area, but at the end of the day, money talks. Will he stick around, or will a huge signing bonus with $10 - $15 million up front lure him elsewhere?

A few other notes poached from Cougfan:

WSU is hosting a JC All-American pass rushing specialist this weekend for an official visit. Grant Valentine is a 6-4, 240 lb 4-star defensive end from Glendale, CA. Fresno State leads right now, but WSU is in the mix with K-State, NC State and West Virginia (although with Pete Rodriguez, maybe Michigan gets into the picture?).




Here's some video straight outta Youtube. Looks pretty good to me! (#51 in your programs). You may want to adjust the volume on your speakers. Some of the lyrics in the song, well, might not be safe for work if you follow me? You've been warned:







Cougfan also has a good perspective story on this year's recruiting class. The premise? Don't get too high and think we're going to reel in commited 4-star players. But we're not going to sign anything with a pulse either. The examples of Stormo, or possibly Cody Mackay, where it's just the right fit overall is what's likely to happen. And that's ok. Don't waste scholarships on kids that don't fit! The story goes on to talk about California, and maybe there are some under-the-radar kids that would love to be in the Pac-10 and haven't yet heard Wulff's pitch. But we'll see!

I also caught Wulff on KJR last week and he talked about going after kids who had committed. He wanted it to be clear that THIS year, yes, they are going to pitch to kids who haven't met them yet on behalf of WSU and hadn't heard what Wulff and staff have to say. But in the future, don't expect that practice to continue. Sure, there will always be a few kids that change their minds, I mean it is what it is. But Wulff was very clear in the interview that this is not going to be the norm. I guess you can take that as it is. Personally I'd like to see him pursue kids he has a chance of landing, regardless of their commitment status. If they open the door a crack, see what can happen. But don't waste time and energy going after a kid who's repeatedly said no, because you do that and you'll miss potential gems elsewhere! So the approach is one way now, but will be different next year.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

You Just Never Know

I guess these two guys should never, ever sit together (but the shlub directly to the bottom-right thought it was a funny picture too).

West Virginia is PISSED today. Their coach, a guy they considered a lifer and a guy who was building something really special in Morgantown, has bolted for greener pastures in Ann Arbor. Once again, the coaching carousel has left two sides to the story - half the fans in this are rejoicing over a savior on the way, while the other sides burn the coach in effigy.

But I can't do it justice. AOL's Ryan Ferguson covers it well today, but no, I don't post this here because of a West Virginia/Michigan/WSU football connection. I post this because of the point of the article is the false sense of security all programs happen to feel about "their guy". Because you just never know, it can happen to you (US) too. Now I don't think Wulff will up and bolt at the first moment of success......of course you never know.......but I'm more thinking about you-know-who:

I know, I know. It's far too early in the year to be paranoid all over again about the hot young coach looking elsewhere. We're not even into Pac-10 play yet, and there's so many twists and turns that will happen as the year grinds on. But that AOL article today got me thinking about how many schools around the country have felt like "nah, not OUR guy, he'll never bolt" to suddenly waking up to rumors and press conferences and stories about private planes with our coach on it. The whole Rodriguez thing reminded me a lot about Mike Price and how he left on the cusp of a BCS bowl. I don't want to rehash the whole fiasco, the burnt bridges, etc, we've beaten that thing to death. And although the whole Price-to-Alabama thing drug out for about a week of rumors and such, and this Rodriguez thing started on a Friday and was over by Sunday night, but still, it goes to show that no matter what program you are, no matter who your coach might be, no matter what bowl you are about to play in, you just never, ever know.

All I do know? As this hoops season gets into the meat of the schedule, I'm going to constantly remind myself that things are absolutely great RIGHT NOW, and I'm not going to wring my hands over Tony bolting. Sure, he says all the right things, but let's be serious, every big-time job that comes open this spring/summer and Tony's name will be thrown into the rumor mill. Even if he's not a true candidate, the media will at least throw his name against the wall and see if it sticks. What if Coach K is sick and tired of the back problems and decides to call it a career at Duke? What if Roy Williams gets another One Shining Moment at Carolina, and decides at his age, it can't get any better, so enough is enough? When you are that young and that good, it's only natural that you will be on every AD's radar if you are looking to implement a great program. So brace yourselves, because we all know it's coming.

As a true fan, I'm going to embrace the "precious present" and not fret over what the future may bring. I'm going to enjoy this as much as I can, because we may never get back to this spot again (seriously, we're #6 in the nation and undefeated right now!?!?!). I look at highlights from our 2002 football season or the 2003 Holiday Bowl, and think of how long ago that feels already, and man, why didn't I enjoy it more? I refuse to make that mistake again. I will enjoy this ride, for as long as it can last.



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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Life Experiences Build a Winner in Wulff

I know many of you that read our blog or the usual WSU coverage online already know a ton about Paul Wulff. But the Spokesman today hit a HOME RUN with the background story.

I believe that people really need to know what we've got here in coach Wulff. His hiring was big news in eastern WA, and in some pockets of Seattle, but otherwise it was barely a blip on the radar. But there's just so much more than meets the eye with this guy. Again, Vince hits an absolute home run today with his story, and the accompanying unsolved murder story is a real eye-opener.

Seriously, can you imagine dealing with all this at such an early age? Maybe some of you have, and if so, you know the pain. But wow, wow, WOW. He's really a moving story.

By the way, I wrote about it at AOL Sports today as well. Some of you know that I don't write there as much as I used to based on the direction things have taken over there, away from the team-centric coverage and more big-picture stuff. But this story about Wulff, it's just too good to ignore. I want the people on the national level that read that site every day to understand what we have in Wulff. AOL Sports gets 20-25 million hits a month, so they're going to have to read about him now! Someone's got to stick up for all things WSU, and as long as I can represent over there, I'll throw stuff like this in their faces.

Other quickies for today:


We've got a new Cougar in the fold. Kamiak's Skylar Stormo calls it a "dream come true" to get a scholie from Paul Wulff and WSU. A good 2-sport athlete with decent size at 6-4, 225, he reportedly runs a 4.8. Not blazing but not too bad either. He'll likely play TE at WSU. You can check out his Scout.com player bio here. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY.


Here's a look at the "new" Martin Stadium. Some of you have seen this, but some of you have not. I also included a shot of the new scoreboard. I particularly like the young alumni seating area down below, where tickets are capped at $99 the first three years after you graduate and you get to sit between the 30's. That's something that Sterk and company really need to do, and that is reel them in young and get them involved. Make the younger alums feel important, like they matter, and get them spending money early on. That's the genius of what Oregon State has accomplished. They have Reser to name the field as their "sugar daddy", but much of what has been done in Corvallis was based on getting those middle tier donors. They reached out to that group and they all feel part of the program, and it's something that we must do as well. Note that I stretched the images a little bit so the resolution will probably be a little off, but you get the idea.








Speaking of scoreboard, here's a really good shot I found that someone took at the end of the Apple Cup. If you look closely in the bottom towards the middle, you can see Alex Brink, Bobby Byrd and Chris Baltzer in a group hug. Byrd and Baltzer were Brink's best friends on the team, so I thought that was a pretty cool shot.


That's really it. Not much new news floating around out there. I did find KXLY's recap of the '07 Apple Cup. It never gets old does it? And from a few different angles, Rick Lukens was right, Brandon Gibson couldn't have been more wide open! I've got that game on my DVR and the week after xmas I'll try and pull some highlights for your viewing pleasure, but for now, enjoy:
























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Saturday, December 15, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Wulff Lands First Recruit; Rick Neuheisel Wanted WSU Job?; When Will Derting Attacks



You may remember me from such incidents as "I'll take U-Conn for $7000 please" and "FOR THE LAST TIME, I'm not interested in the San Francisco job!"



BREAKING NEWS as of 3:00 PM 12/15 - Wulff has landed his first commit of his tenure at WSU. TE prospect Skylar Stormo from Kamiak has verballed to WSU. Stormo is a big kid at 6-4, 220, and is a hoops player as well. A 2-star prospect, but a potentially nice addition to the class. Picked WSU over the NW Pac-10 schools.


That appears to be the rumor coming out of LA anyway. I guess trying to coach up Kyle Boller in wonderful Baltimore has become tiresome. Scott Wolf is pretty reputable, so I would think there's something to this. However that's already a couple of days old. The new hot topic is Neuheisel returning to his old haunts at UCLA.


The last we saw of Neuheisel after the '02 AC, he was dodging bottles of 151 as he ran off the field, flipping off the student section in the process. I am pretty sure I yelled something at him as he went to the tunnel, but I really can't remember. It's all such a blur. Given all the bad blood and the way Neuheisel went about his business, I can't fathom Sterk had any reaction other than "pass" when he called for an interview.


UCLA and Neuheisel, what a perfect fit. A soft coach who wins with the previous coach's players and everything's great at first. Then you realize he recruits 20 wide receivers, running backs and QB's every recruiting class and basically ignores offensive and defensive linemen. All for a program that traditionally starts out hot and then fades into mediocrity, year after year after year? We've got a match!


But seriously, does the thought of Neuheisel returning to the Pac-10 at UCLA worry you? I mean he was 33-16 at UW and led them to a bowl game in all 4 years at the school. He got himself in a lot of hot water by pissing on the NCAA rule book, time and again, and just couldn't stay out of the coaching rumor mill whenever a hot job opened up. He takes the brunt of the blame for UW's situation, and his passion for finesse really turned the team into a shell of what they used to be in the 90's.


Meanwhile, recruiting is starting to make a little news. Apparently Paul Wulff was out on the road Thursday night, in the home of Redmond's Cody Mackay. Mackay is a UW commit right now, but he showed a lot of interest in WSU before the Doba firing. He is still considered a UW commit, but he wants to take a visit to Pullman in January to reassure himself of his choice. We heard rumblings from Paul Sorensen about this, that Wulff and company were going to take a run at some kids who have already committed, and they are all fair game at this point.


Now will it lead to anything? We'll see. All I know is, from following this recruiting thing for many years now, you NEVER know until signing day what's going to happen. I mean Michael Bumpus was a strong USC commit all the way until the week before signing day, when Dwayne Jarrett dropped from the heavens on USC and suddenly they wanted him to greyshirt. Next thing you know, Bam! Bumpus signs with WSU. Anything can happen between now and early February.


There is still some confusion over the coaching staff, and as Vince mentions today, it might be another week or two before things are settled. Right now we know that Levy is back, and Bruiser has been retained as well. But what about Rosey and Peterson? It appears that they haven't officially been let go, but it's really not clear at this time if they'll be part of the new staff either.


Interesting tidbit that Vince mentions talk of Wulff trying to get a veteran defensive coordinator instead of giving the job to Jody Sears. I had assumed, like many others, that if Sears was coming he was coming to be the DC, but that looks like it's not yet settled. I also wonder about Sturdy coming as the OC when the EWU job is sitting there. Sturdy is regarded as a spread offense guru, and how can anyone argue with the kind of numbers they put up this year. But Sturdy was a head coach for many years before that, and he may choose to throw his hat in the ring for the EWU head job vs. being an OC at a BCS school. Who knows. Maybe this could be part of the reason Rosey is still part of the program, as a fall-back in case Sturdy gets the EWU job? Again, this will all clear up in the next week or so, but it's nice to see some things coming together.


Moving on, the new Big Cat, Wulff, was on KJR again this week with who else, Elise and Ian. Another good interview, give it a listen here.




Tip of the hat to Brandon Gibson. Not only was an first-team All-Pac-10 in a conference that is always full of excellent WR's, but he's now been named to Phil Steele's All-American team. Here he is making yet another great catch on a fluttering Brink go-route that was wildly off the mark. Gibson was a 3rd team selection, but still, nice to see some national recognition for one hell of a WR. Let's hope he returns next year to put up sick numbers in this WR-friendly offense! It's easy to say that Gibson is probably the #1 recruit on Wulff's radar right now. We pointed it out yesterday that an unknown sophomore WR at EWU named Aaron Boyce hauled in 85 balls for over 1300 yards last year. Just think what Gibson could do in '08!



Finally, for not much of a reason.....WILL.....DERTING! This is a little clip from the '03 Notre Dame game, where he tried to put QB Carlyle Holiday in the morgue. God how I miss that guy. Enjoy:



video

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Levy Stays! Plus Other Stuff


Well that's a relief. Mike Levenseller will in fact be on the staff for 2008, as announced by Cougfan and the Seattle Times. Very, very good move for the best WR coach we could have. Could this be a help in keeping Brandon Gibson in the fold for 2008? (begin rant) Hey Brandon, have YA SEEN this offense in action? Do you realize that some sophomore WR from Kent, Aaron Boyce, just hung up a whopping 85 catches for over 1300 yards in this offense?? With a sophomore QB no less? Do you realize what you might do as a senior in this offense next year?? (/rant)


We stumped for Levy yesterday so we won't waste much time analyzing this move, but two large thumbs-up for Wulff to make the right move.


I thought it was interesting that Greg Peterson still hasn't officially been let go at this point. Peterson was NOT on the list of coaches that were officially told they were no longer needed on Wednesday. Might there be a fit for him on this staff? I've mentioned it before, but from what I've seen of Peterson, I really like him. And while we've more or less ripped Doba's practice of late offers and all that came with it, lo and behold Peterson was the recruiting coordinator and you know he's got a serious portfolio of information on kids that they've made some progress with. Here's hoping they find a permanent spot for him, in some capacity.


Just a few other points of interest today:


Cougfan has an article about the EWU offense from the perspective of Paul Sorenson($). Note the dollar sign means it's a premium article. Also note you'll NEVER see premium articles at WSU Football Blog! Not that there's anything worth paying for.....but still.....


If you were thinking of shedding a tear for Doba? Don't. He's just fine, thanks. As Hooty pointed out yesterday, first of all, no, Bill, the "Internets" didn't fire you. Not getting close to your success you had in 2003 and the recruiting failures this year are the reason you are done here. But old Dobes will be just fine with his 5-bedroom home on his lake property in Michigan and settlement in his back pocket (or at least trickling in over the next several years, but either way, he's got more money than he knows what to do with).


In an article without WSU mentioned, other than Brandon Gibson as first-team all-conference, Ted Miller breaks down the Pac-10 from 2007. Pretty disappointing year for a lot of teams, wasn't it? All the hot air in the summer about who was better, the SEC or the Pac-10, yet you look at the final BCS rankings? 5 SEC teams are in the top-25, only 2 are in the Pac-10. Ouch. The fold jobs by Cal and Oregon are truly crippling to the conference, because what, 6 weeks ago and they both were in the top 10. Oh, OK, so THAT'S why they play a full season!


The EWU QB, Nichols? He's sticking it out at EWU. Nice idea Hooty, and hell, maybe you started a rumor with your post on Tuesday, but it was enough to where he had to shoot it down! I guess the nearly 42,000 page views mean that people are actually reading this stuff?


One more point. Now that the season is of course over, and the coaching search speculation and rumors are in the past, news is going to really slow down around WSU nation. We'll see some news with the final coaching slots announced, and of course, recruiting news that will definitely start to pick up as these guys hit the road. I've also got a ton of WSU video that I will be periodically uploading for your enjoyment (and believe me, I've got some really good stuff that is hard to find anywhere else). But even with this officially the offseason, just know that we will still be out there with our eyes open and our ears to the ground, trolling for anything we deem relevant.


There were some comments the other night that ripped into our own Brinkhater. So be it. This isn't a mainstream media site or a pay site, and never will be. We won't even pretend to be something like that. The comments are wide open to express your point of view, and we will ALWAYS ENCOURAGE you to vent your spleen. If we didn't want interaction and feedback, we wouldn't have comments enabled. Speaking of comments, we don't and we won't require anyone to register with Google/Blogger/Etc. However you are also encouraged to adopt a nickname when posting comments. It does get a little boring seeing "anonymous" time and again, and if you are going to be a frequent commenter here, might as well pick a name so we know who you are. We've seen many of you do that, but still, some of you choose not to.


Our goal around here is to inform and entertain and most of all, keep things light. Don't get me wrong, Brinkhater, Hootie and myself are some of the biggest fans around, and we care far too much than we should. But this whole thing is obviously a labor of love. And in our attempt to entertain, yes, we ARE going to miss the mark occasionally*cough *Monday night* cough*. But that's part of the deal. Nobody hits a home run every time up. Like all of you reading this, we have real lives too with families and jobs and responsibilities that go with it. So if you don't see anything fresh for a few days, don't fret. We are not hanging it up.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Point of Parliamentary Procedure!

Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether Brinkhater broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests - he did. *wink*

But you can't hold a whole blog responsible for the behavior of one, sick, twisted individual. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole blogspot system? And if the whole blogspot system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of the Internet in general? I put it to you, Alex - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society?

Well, you can say whatever you want about Brinkhater, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

Simply put Alex, if Brinkhater stops blogging, the terrorists win. If you don't like what he has to say...don't fucking read it! That said, feel free to flame on. Your page views are much appreciated.

Guys, this is a blog. Hawk does a phenomenal job of breaking down and presenting all of the information that's out there in very informational, concise posts. He's entitled to posting his opinion on top of that.

Brinkhater on the other hand, posts his feelings about all of the goings on in Cougar Nation with a very emotionally charged (and sometimes incoherent) style. Every publication needs it's lighting rod - just ask Jim Moore.

***

Now, I feel compelled to respond to Alex (and anyone like him) based on this quote: people like Brinkhater are the "EXACT people that Dobes addressed when the coaching thing went down. Its guys like Brinkhater that ruined a really good thing."

First of all, I don't know about you, but my definition of "a really good thing" is a good return on an investment. As in - I pay for my season tickets, make donations to the Athletic Foundation and then watch us beat USC, UW and the rest of the PAC 10 and go to BOWL GAMES!

When I first heard Bill Doba's quote about the Internet trying to "fire him", I stayed silent on the issue, though it was one that I found kind of funny; kind of ignorant; and more than anything, a horrible excuse for why we only had one commit - if that - at the time.

This is the world in which we live. The Internet has made every jackass with an opinion a published author (see McBoob, Hooty). For better or worse, this is who we are. We sit in our glass houses and cast stones until we require Tommy John surgery. Get used to it. Or better yet, adapt to it and use it to your advantage. Those who do not adapt, fall by the wayside.

One thing I have never seen on this blog, from Brinkhater or anyone else, are direct attacks on Bill Doba. We all think Bill is an absolutely wonderful human being and has dutifully served our university for many years. We appreciate everything that he has done but the simple fact is that given a fair chance, he had not elevated our program to where it should have been after 3-straight 10-win seasons. That's saying it nicely. To be blunt, the program is probably in the worst shape it's been since the Sweeney/Sherrill/Powers/Walden carousel from '75-'78. In this age of major college football, you simply cannot make it to Christmas with only 3 marginal recruits and expect to succeed - despite any amount of negative scuttlebutt on the Internet.

Perhaps this will help illustrate my point...

WSU Commits: 3

Defending National Champion Florida Commits: 14
Tennessee Commits: 11
Penn State Commits: 12
Notre Dame Commits: 21
Washington Commits: 23!

So I guess what I'm trying to say to all the Alex's out there - is "eat shit".



We at the WSU Blog thank Coach Doba for his many years of loyal service to WSU. He will forever be remembered as the architect of the original "Palouse Posse". As good as our offense was under Price, it was Bill's defenses that propelled us to greatness.

We wish him the best of luck in retirement and hope that he enjoys many days on the lake, baiting hooks and catching fish with his grand kids. Simply put, he deserves nothing but the best and I am sure his family is grateful to have him back.

We love ya' Dobes.
Now it's time to turn the page.
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Six Down, Three to Go?


For those of you who wanted Control-Alt-Delete with the coaching staff, you may be getting your wish. Rumors were circulating last night, but today it appears official - According to Howie Stalwick, Wulff has released at least six of the nine existing assistants. Yarno, Burtnett, Walker, Long, Walkosky and Peterson are all gone. As has been heavily speculated before, Broussard stays on as RB coach as part of the new regime. There are also two other potential coaches that will be retained in Rosenbach and Levenseller.

Who knows with Rosey. It's no secret he wants to be a head coach, and with Todd Sturdy coming to coordinate the offense and also coach QB's, it's not really clear what his role would be. In fact, it does seem rather odd that they would attempt to retain him.

Rosey's been a polarizing figure the last few years among the fans. But I have to admit that I've never really had a problem with the guy, at least with his coaching. I thought he did a good job of introducing new wrinkles to the tired old one-back offense that we've been running since 1987. Notice how much shotgun we ran this year? And how many times we actually ran out of it? We started to turn into a hybrid one-back this year in very subtle ways. And, even Brinkhater loves to point out how genius the 2003 Holiday Bowl offense was that night in San Diego. Several times Kegel would be in the shotgun, and we ran J-Smooth out of that alignment several times. The trick play on the TD where Kegel motioned out of the backfield like a receiver, and the direct snap to Smith? GREAT call that led to a TD. Texas just hadn't seen us run much shotgun coming into that game, and especially running out of it was something that they weren't prepared for.

And I still remember an interview Kegel gave in 2003 about Rosey, and how great a change it was from the previous regime. Remember, Rosey got Heisman votes in 1988 as a QB in this one-back offense. He's been there, done it, and that carries weight with players. Moreso than just being the son of the coach or whatever.

But it's also been told to us here that Rosey hasn't been real happy the last few years. I think the fan criticism has worn him down, and he's heard it all. In fact, one story is that Rosey used to walk up the stadium stairs before kickoff to get to the coaches box, right through the crowd. I remember noticing it the first time at the New Mexico game in 2003, where he and a couple of others walked right up through the crowd before kickoff. But around 2005, with all the Brink-Swogger controversy, that practice ended. Rosey heard more and more calls of "you f-ing idiot!" and garbage like that as he would make his way up the stairs, so he started to go up to the press box another way. Maybe a change of scenery would be good and he can get a fresh start somewhere else, ultimately leading to a head job.

The real wonder is Levenseller. I want to personally stump for that guy. I really and truly hope that they do the right thing and keep him around. Levy has given everything he has to the program since 1992. Not only one of the best players in WSU history, but he's openly regarded by many as one of the top WR coaches around. Jack Thompson on KJR Monday night called him one of the best WR coaches in the country and the best he's been around. That's saying something. Our WR's have been pretty special of late. Jason Hill obviously, the biggest TD maker in school history. Brandon Gibson was a 3-star recruit from Puyallup that a lot of schools missed on, and he's blossomed into a first-team All-Pac-10 pick who set receiving records this year and has a fantastic future on the next level. Bumpus never had top-shelf speed, but is tough as hell with excellent hands. Even Charles Dillon, banged up all season, had a productive senior year. Plus, it's not just about catches and yards with Levy's guys. They ALL block on running plays. It's a requirement when you are a one-back offense that your WR's also block and not pull Randy Moss-type disinterest when the ball isn't coming your way, and they do the dirty work as well.

Whatever happens, Levy, WSU Football Blog salutes your years of faithful service and we are all hoping that you return to the Palouse! Do the right thing coach Wulff, and keep this man.


Finally, potential recruiting news. Cougfan has the FREE STORY today of center Jonathan Solomon out of Lawndale, CA. He favors WSU and UW, with "Dad favoring WSU, Mom favoring UW. I probably agree with my Dad more, but we'll see what happens after I take my trips." He'll be at WSU on 1/11, and at UW on 1/18. He's got a lot of schools in the mix, including Oregon, Boise State, BC, Oregon State, and Virginia among others. All have offered. He's a sharp kid too, 3.5 GPA and 1490 SAT. One thing that stands out here is that he mentions that Trent Miles of UW is the guy who's been recruiting him. Well, Trent Miles is no longer with UW, as he accepted the head coaching position at Indiana State University last week. We'll see if that matters in a month or so.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No Stepping Stone

Well, I hope that you all had the opportunity to check out the Spokesman today and Nick's slew of videos of the press conference.

If you want a quick summary in picture form, here it is:
(THAT MEANS BRACE YOURSELF ATL_GLENN)
You know, I have some members of family who are die-hard Buckeye fans who couldn't wait to see Cooper given the axe a few years back.
And so given their hype and speculation, I almost fell off my rocker when I heard that faithful day that they hired some no-name, sweater vest, pea-head from Youngstown State. I mean, what they hell were they thinking?
But then I saw the highlights on ESPNnews of his press conference, the IMMEDIATE proclamation that they were going to beat Michigan every year, the talk of National Titles, the vision for how the program was going to be run....And after you heard him, you just new that all Michigan fans out there were in a real world of hurt.
And so I doth say this before the Husky Nation on this faithful day: you BETTER win in the next couple of years, cuz if you don't, you will be forever LOCKED in the cellar of the Northwest schools.
Coach Paul is the real stinkin' deal, folks. A true, Crimson-blooded, leader of men. This team will fight, it will be fundamentally sound, and it will both outwill AND outscheme people. I can't wait for next year!
And remember: College Football more than any other major college sport is about coaching.
Why? Because there are not enough hours in the day for coaches and players to be able to prepare and adjust to what other teams can throw at them. In that way, the sheer amount of pressure that we are going to put on teams by running the no huddle is going to be overwhelming. Its simply a matter of time of indoctrinating players into the system.
But, in addition to this being the right hire across the board, this hire was about making a solid attempt for our beloved university to have a long-term solution to football. And that meant hiring a guy who wasn't going to either put his teeth in the glass in a few years or jump at the first MAJOR, MAJOR college opportunity that came his way.
Coach Paul (C.P.) is both young and committed. He is the only true solution to our programs needs and problems.
This was a shot that we absolutely had to take.
That all said, while we all need to be patient, this year is going to be absolutely critical for the program. Win this year as Hootie McBoob predicted that we will, and we will be able to collect a group of players NEXT year that will set this program in motion.
And we will.
I already love this guy.
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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?

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Answer at QB in '08

I want to be the first to request Coach Wulff also bring his QB, Matt Nichols with him to Pullman. I had the chance to see him in person this year and came away very impressed. He was Big Sky POY and probably would have got some looks as national POY with a more reliable receiving corps (imagine 4 Charles Dillons on the field at once.)


Nichols is a 6'2" Sophomore and finished the year 280 of 440 for 3,744 yards; 34 TDs and only 9 Picks. Granted, the competition would be a step up but he'd also be surrounded by better talent. Things that make you go hmmm...

Another name I would not be the least bit surprised to see pop up is Fritz Brayton. You may remember the story... Fritz is the grandson of Bobo and was a walk-on punter for the Cougs this spring. How a walk-on punter leaving the program slipped past my radar, I'll never know but I was surprised to see that he had resurfaced at EWU this year. He was killing it when I saw him warming up but Nichols actually handled the punts during the game. Not only was he (Nichols) a good QB, he can also punt. In fact, I actually saw a planned fake punt WORK! Obviously a punter is nothing to get excited about but given the embarrassing status of our special teams last year, perhaps it's something to consider.

It's going to be an interesting week as the coaching staff is finalized and these guys hit the recruiting trail. With the recruiting dead-period looming large, I have personally placed a call to Kelvin Sampson to give the new staff a few pointers on how to maneuver through that pesky NCAA rulebook.
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Wulff Brings What We Need


So the story is out there and reality is setting in. Paul Wulff is the new head coach. There are a lot of pros, and some cons as well, and that's to be expected for a guy without a successful D-1 resume. But is that overrated? Does it matter if a guy is coming to Pullman without a long track record of winning on the highest level of competition?

First of all, on the field:
  • Wulff comes from one of the biggest have-nots in the west. Not a swipe at Cheney, but the stadium holds 8 K and the budget is the smallest in the Big Sky.
  • Wulff has a 53-40 record as a head coach. Is that some sort of world-beater? No. He's not exactly like Jim Tressel, who won championships at Youngstown State before he went to Ohio State. But you have to take the record in context. If you factor in the games against BCS competition, where they had no choice but to take the paycheck game in order to even hope to be competitive in recruiting, they were drilled. But the record on equal footing is more like 53-30. He's taken his team to the playoffs in 3 of the last 4 years, and had only one losing season where they basically cleared the bench and went young in every sense. All that youth used in 2006 paid off in spades in 2007 as they fought to the end vs. App State (the same App State that BEAT MICHIGAN).
  • He's got an excellent offensive staff, and one that has produced fantastic results. You don't lead the nation twice in total offense, and finish second in two other years, over the last eight seasons if you don't know what you are doing. His sophomore QB just threw for over 3500 yards and 34 TD's in a system that is designed to play fast, spread the field and really be unpredictable.
  • As a former center, not only is he known as a cerebral guy, but he also knows how to coach up the o-lineman. Since Wulff has been associated with EWU, he's had 17 offensive lineman finish first-team All-Big-Sky, had 14 on the second-team, and 16 getting honorable mention. As several people have pointed out, the offensive line can make or break a team, and you can have very little doubt that the line is going to be good as things roll forward in Pullman.
  • As Hooty McBoob pointed out, Wulff has spent nearly a decade building relationships with high school coaches throughout the northwest and in Washington. He knows them all, and given a recruiting budget of basically nothing, he's turned over rocks and shaken bushes and found players that can compete.
  • One more thing in regards to recruiting - Wulff may not have a lot on his roster in terms of California players. But that's not exactly by design. Again, you have to keep in mind the situation from where he's coming from. The recruiting budget at EWU is very, very limited. In other words, they can't exactly afford to go on all these visits over long distances. Wulff and his staff have put in a ton of windshield time throughout the state of WA, and they have absolutely made the most of the situation they are in. But you can't immediately dismiss the idea that Wulff can't recruit in California. After all, he's from there and played high school football there. If anyone can stand in a living room in that state and tell kids and families first-hand what it's like to move from CA to Pullman and be a successful football player, it's Paul Wulff.
  • If you don't think he's ready for this, then you aren't seeing the bigger picture. And based on his qualifications, you never would have hired Dennis Erickson or Mike Price either. Both were .500 coaches from lower-level programs. And guess what? With that logic, UW never would have hired Don James! Don James had a .568 winning percentage as a relative unknown at Kent State before he showed up in Seattle. Just imagine the outrage today if WSU had hired Dennis Erickson, coming off a 6-6 record at Wyoming. Imagine the rioting today if we hired Mike Price, who was just 46-44 at WEBER FRICKIN' STATE! Yet that worked out OK, didn't it??

How about off the field? As the Go-2-Guy writes today, Wulff is a tough SOB. How tough? Try having an appendix out on Monday, then plays in the Apple Cup on Saturday. Try having your mother disappear when you are 12 years old with no concrete explanation or evidence as to what happened, all the while suspecting that your father did it. Try having the woman you love, your first wife, fade away to brain cancer and having her pass away in your arms.

Adversity can make or break a person and has a huge say in who you are today. Wulff has dealt with tougher times than any of us can ever hope to deal with in our lifetimes, and he's had it all happen at a relatively young age. Yet instead of laying down and wallowing in the hand that he's been dealt, he's instead scraped himself off the floor and said the hell with it. All that's happened to him has made him the man that he's become. He's embraced the challenges and has become one heck of a success story in the making.

And for all that, I'm glad that WSU is going to be another chapter in the Paul Wulff story.

Some other news-n-notes:

I heard Dennis Patchin on KJR last night with Ian Furness. Patchin claims that Wulff will bring with him offensive coordinator and QB coach Todd Sturdy, as well as former Coug and defensive coordinator Jody Sears. Patchin said that it's not exactly known what their roles will be at WSU, but that will be decided shortly.

Everyone wants to know, what about Rosenbach? Patchin made it sound like that is very much up in the air. Rosenbach is actually a candidate to take the EWU job, at least according to Patchin, so he might be moving on. But if Wulff is taking Sturdy with him to Pullman, well, there might not be a spot for Rosey on the staff.

One other key from Patchin's interview last night - Wulff was told that he DOES NOT HAVE TO RETAIN ANY OF THE EXISTING ASSISTANTS ON STAFF. For those of you thinking Wulff was hired on the cheap and would be forced to keep some of the staff together, well, you are wrong. Wulff was told during the interview process that he will have full authority on which assistants he can retain, period. Patchin also noted that it was possible however that Wulff, Rosey and Steve Broussard were part of the greatest upset in school history on that fabled 1988 team, and they all could potentially be on the coaching staff going forward.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

BROKEN NEWS: Wulff is the MAN!!

Just as reported (well, sort of) earlier today, the Wulfman cometh!!!!!!

Congrats to Coach Paul who has a great, but exciting challenge on his hands.

May we all remember the day that this great leader of men came into all of our lives!

Anyhow, what is NOT "broken news" was the reason why were late to the punch in breaking this story. And it comes down to two words:

VINCE "GET A" GRIPPI tried to rub out my source!!!!!!!!!!!!

(okay that's more than two words, but for us Cougars, that's usually extra credit!).

Yep, the head Major General of the Brinkhater Army was about ready to call the news into Headquarters (from the "Head" quarters) when Grippi barged into into the bathroom screaming, took away Cletis' cell phone, and chased my man and his buddy Phil right out into the frozen tundra of Pullman, W-A.

Want proof?

Here's the picture from Nick at the Spokesman:




God damnit, Cletis!

In any event, one thing is for sure:

I'm gonna get you, Grippy, if its the last thing I do!

I'm gonna get you! Click here for more ...plus Comments

Bank On It

Stay tuned for breaking news that appears eminent according to the Brinkhater army. Here's your next coach (That means, for McMunnyman, you can stop reading.)






In the meantime, know that the Wulfman commeth. We'll add "Breaking News" to the header when we get confirmation from Cletis who is currently on locaton at the Sports Page.


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A NEW ERA

Happy Monday, Cougar Nation. No fancy (or funny!) pics to this post. Hell, there aren't even any pictures.

But, as Sedihawk reported earlier on Sunday, the Price ain't right.

And so ends an era of Cougar football.

One can certainly argue that the Price era ended when he left, but that would be dismissing the HUGE contribution that Bill Doba made to that tenure.

After all, 1997 probably doesn't occur without that 1994 defense and the groundwork that was laid with recruiting as a result of that group.

Moreover, neither does 2001-2003 without the second wave of the Palouse Posse defense. That group, while not as nasty as the first, yielded several NFL players. Again, that was Doba's doing--an extension of the Price era.

That all said, while Price would have given us a chance to contend again, there's no saying that the next coach won't do better over the long haul.

And, as you will hear me rant and rave over the coming days, the next coach is about doing what needs to be done on the field: win the battle of the trenches.

So, with that in mind, the next coach MUST focus on the non-sexy and recruit the biggest, baddest linemen around.

Levy and company have made their living making non NFL wideouts do well in our beloved offensive system.

But this next tenure will be about building a line that can run block AND pass protect. And on defense, developing a group that can pass rush and pass rush some more.

That kind of toughness and relentlessness toward the "Hogs" is what will return us to upper division finishes on a regular basis.

And its hard to believe that that 'someone' is anyone but Wulfy or Gregory.

In that light, Nothing has shown me that an OU assistant is anything but chump change following the record of little Stoops at Arizona and Long at SDSU.

And there's no way that ANYONE is stupid enough to hire Smith.

Paul Wulf will be introduced as coach on Friday. Click here for more ...plus Comments

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Price Bows Out

The Price is wrong b*tch.


From the following video link, old friend Mike Price has officially withdrawn his name from consideration for the head job at WSU. The Seattle Times has the story here. Surprised? Actually, no. Based on some things we have heard recently, it sounded like Price was further down the list than it initially appeared. We have also heard here through a reliable source that his wife Joyce wants to get back to the area, asap, and Price has purchased even more land recently as he sets up retirement plans. But clearly he has either seen the writing on the wall or was told flat-out that they were going in another direction. Price did say that he was a viable candidate and was interested, but he never actually interviewed for the job.


There is possibly an "ugly", business-side to this story too, however. We wrote about this a few days ago, that maybe Price is kinda-sorta on the list in order to help him get a better contract at UTEP. Well, El Paso Times writer Joe Muench goes into detail that Price is pushing hard for a contract extension and/or a decent raise, but the turnip might be dry down there (Did you know Price's base salary is only $260K!?!? That's less than half of Doba's salary! Wow. I know there are some incentives, but man, that's super-cheap.) But the thing that struck me is reading some of the comments from UTEP fans. It appears that things aren't as wonderful that Price says they are in El Paso??



Anyway, from a WSU angle, this is the strongest sign yet that they are close to pulling the trigger here. If this thing was going to drag out too much longer, I would tend to believe Price would remain on the interview list, but he wouldn't publicly pull out like this unless he knew they were headed in a specific direction.



I've never been 100% behind the idea of Price returning, for reasons that have been brought up time and again. But I have to admit I'm a little sad about this. I'm a sentimental guy, and how can I ever forget what Price gave us? He did lead us to the highest of highs as a program, and for that I'll always be thankful. The 10-win seasons and top-10 finishes, the Rose Bowls, the five bowl games with a 3-2 record in those bowls, QB's drafted #1 and #2 in the entire NFL draft (think about that - that really is amazing for little 'ol WAZZU!). The guy sold Pullman and WSU with all his heart, and was able to dig deep and find absolute gems in recruiting (the list is too long to go into right now, but you know the drill - Trufant, Long, Gesser, Derting, etc, all guys not with the flashy star ratings, yet all guys rating as some of the best in school history). Price won with fantastic offenses as his calling card, but he showed he could win with a fantastic defense as well. Price won with crappy facilities, a tiny donor base, and no TV coverage to speak of.


And to this day, he gave me the greatest WSU moment of my life - the 1997 Apple Cup. I will never, ever, ever forget everything about that day. I know time clouds the memory, but even coming into that game at 9-1, there were a lot of people that doubted we could stroll into that stadium with the Rose Bowl on the line and pull it off. But we did. I'll never forget before the game, the energy in that stadium, the Leaf flag paraded around, just the buzz before that game was unreal. I remember in warmups Jason Chorak taunting Leaf right around midfield, yelling and pointing at him like it was before a WWF match, and Leaf pointing right back in a "bring it!" fashion. Unbelievable.

And of course, the 1998 Rose Bowl. When that team ran out of the tunnel, and looking at the 50,000+ crimson pom-poms waving, that was a moment that is burned on the brain. We looked so friggin' big-time that day it's hard to even put into words. So for all that, Mike Price, we at WSU Football Blog THANK YOU for all that you gave to WSU. The divorce was messy and I don't want to get into that now, but again, Thank You! Thank you for making WSU relevant on the Pac-10 football landscape.


Moving on - The scary thing is this year's recruiting class. 3 commits (and they are all holding firm, by the way, a very good thing!), but the dead period is coming where a coach cannot contact a recruit. It begins next Saturday and runs through the holidays, all the way up until 1/13. I don't want to get down on Doba, but that whole late offer thing is really hurting us right now. Of course it's likely that if we did go out and get like 10 kids to commit earlier this fall that some of them would be bailing out due to the coaching change, but still. The new coach has some serious heavy lifting ahead.


So, with that out of the way, where do we go from here? Who's left on the interview list? Wulff, Smith and Sumlin are all on the books. The TNT has a good pro-con story on Wulff, with the pro's outweighing the cons on this one. One source also claims that Bobby Hauck is on the list and may have already interviewed for the job(?). Another thing we've heard is that there still is a viable "mystery" candidate who's team is preparing for a bowl game, so the contact hasn't yet been made official. Still no word on Bob Gregory, Chip Kelly, Tim Lappano or any of the other top Pac-10 assistants making it past the preliminary list, but it's not over yet. One thing that has been confirmed is that these interviews are NOT taking place in Pullman, but rather in Salt Lake City (looks like the Times was right on that one). So I guess we can forget about that web site to track flights in and out of Pullman-Moscow airport?? Stay tuned!
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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Update: Wulff Interviewed Friday Night; Jim Walden Loves Paul Wulff, Hates Mike Price

I want YOU, Paul Wulff, to coach my Cougars!

Updated 1:30 PM 12/8/07 - Paul Wulff has officially been interviewed by the Cougars. The Spokesman has the details. If you're scoring at home, that's now three names that have been through the official process - John L Smith on Thursday, Kevin Sumlin on Friday and now Paul Wulff Friday night. We'll see where it goes.

I had mentioned this a week or so ago, about Jim Walden's interview on KRKO 1380. Walden has gone out of his way to explain why Wulff is the guy to hire, and it's a good listen, even if it is a week or so old. Check it out. The recruiting angle in-state is a good point, as well as Wulff's background. The other thing about this is to listen to his opinion of Mike Price. No, coach Price, Walden will not buy you a mug down at the Cottage, a pitcher at the Page, a pop at the Village (if it's still there?), or even a calzone at Sella's!

Another good listen is Wulff on with Jeff Aaron of 1380. Good stuff. You can catch it here.

One thing to like from hearing Wulff? He considers himself an offensive coach. Wide open on offense. Led the Big Sky in offense 4 of the last 5 years, even #1 in the nation 2 of the last 8, ranked as high as second a couple of other times. Lots of spread option, no-huddle, dictate to defenses what they want to do. VERY aggressive, he even says they've had a game where they've done nothing but the 2-minute drill on every play! Best of all, he's adaptable on offense and they are not predictable (read: Not the same, tired, one-back offense). And of course, a former lineman who has a lot of pride in what the big uglies up front do on a week-to-week basis.

Meanwhile, sources claim that Oklahoma co-OC/passing game coordinator Kevin Sumlin interviewed yesterday, per the Spokesman. The same story says that John L interviewed on Thursday. But the Times comes out and says that they claim that Sterk is off-campus doing these interviews! So which is it? We're working on our source to see what the real deal is, but it's pretty murky. See what happens when you don't communicate? Speculation/rumors/Internet blogging blabber!

What do you think of Sumlin? He's been a pretty mobile coach with a background of job-hopping, but that can be looked at in so many different ways. He's doing what it takes to climb that ladder. WSU background as a grad assistant from 88-90, so he does have at least SOME NW/WSU roots. He's mainly been a Big-10/Big-12 guy, though, from Minnesota, Purdue, and then Texas A & M and finally Oklahoma. The buzz is pretty positive about him, and I doubt they would interview him if they didn't think he was a viable candidate. And Oklahoma's offense is pretty strong, with young Bradford tearing it up as a frosh this year at QB. And we know they can run the ball with a guy like Adrian Peterson from last year.

The obvious weakness is no head coaching experience on any level, but you need to start somewhere. Supposedly he's a good recruiter, but how can you quantify a claim like that? The article mentions he helped land Taylor Stubblefield at Purdue, but that is already being disputed and some say that it was really Greg Olson that really got Stubblefield. So who knows.

John L? He is who we think he is. But to get an interview is one thing, to actually get the job is a whole different deal, we know this. So it might have been a courtesy chat more than anything else. Someone posted in the comments yesterday, calling himself SpartanFan, and said STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS MAN! But he laid out some points as to why:

Let me tell you a bit about John L Smith....

I am a Michigan State Spartan. Born and raised. I've seen every game played by the football team since 1983.

Here are some tidbits about The L:

1) I can remember the day he was hired by MSU. His current team, Louisville was playing in a bowl game, and word spread throughout the stadium that he was leaving AS THE GAME WAS BEING PLAYED. It was a total boondoggle. And the funny thing is that the Louisville fans, almost to a person, were saying "Good Riddance", "Your act has worn thin", "He's not the real reason the team is any good anyway". I thought it strange at the time, and just wrote it off as sour grapes. But in the end it was all true.

2) MSU had two major recruits during John L Smith's tenure: Charles Rogers and Jeff Smoker.
a) Charles Rogers-- a pot-smoking slacker who later became possibly the biggest bust in the history of the NFL draft.
b) Jeff Smoker-- one of the top QB recruits at the time, shocked everyone by leaving Manheim PA for East Lansing. JoPa was pissed. By Smoker's junior year, in what was supposed to be his Heisman Trophy campaign, Smoker left the team mid-season, and checked himself into rehab, leaving the team virtually QB-less. What's more, the unpublished fact was that Smoker's coke habit was so bad, and that he was so deep into his dealer that he had been threatened physical harm, and that Smoker ran off to rehab to avoid getting a little payback. There were also rumors about point-shaving, but once Smoker claimed a medical addiction, it became an untouchable subject.

3) John L Smith teams are woefully unprepared. He seemed literally unable to make any kind of adjustment to the game plan on the fly, just standing on the sideline with that goofy look on his face.

4) His team's are in poor physical shape and wear down during the season.

5) His "cowboy boot and mountain climbing" schtick is just that. All hot air and no substance at all.

Cougars, I implore you. Do NOT allow this man to become coach of this team. Do some research and draw your own conclusions. But don't just let that man walk in and take the job without asking some very serious questions about how that man handles a program.

Not exactly a glowing endorsement from his last job? Oh well.

Finally, to help you through a Saturday of no football, how about another picture of Tim Tebow's girlfriend?? Happy Saturday, and congrats on that Heisman Tebow!

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Friday, December 07, 2007

UPDATE - Kevin Sumlin Interviewed today; So Who's REALLY on the List?

Updated 12/7/07, 2:30 PM - As reported by the Spokesman, Oklahoma assistant Kevin Sumlin has interviewed today for the job. So the ball is officially rolling. John L will get an audience, we know that. But what about Wulff??

At this point, I wouldn't even doubt that these guys were contacted by Moos. I don't know if they'd work in Pullman though, but with the writers strike, you never know. I don't think coach McConaughey would be ok with the "shirts must be worn at all times" rules for a head coach though, so it's probably a pipe dream. And the other guy, I think he's still stranded on an island somewhere.

Ok, bad joke. But you get the idea. Who the heck is really on the list? Who's been contacted? Who's yet to speak with the team? And why is it that we're two weeks in and there's not even an known interview yet? Is Sterk up to his Bennett-like tricks??

First, here are four of the most prominent names that we know of who have admitted to being contacted about the job:

1) Paul Wulff
I don't know if you caught his interview last night, but give it a listen here if you dare. I've heard him talk before in small shots, but this is the longest I've heard him. He's definitely got the passion for the job. He's confident, yet not overly arrogant and he certainly doesn't talk in "coach speak" filled with cliche's, etc. He's a Coug, there's no doubt about it, and that could sell really well. He pushes the whole underdog mentality and he totally understands what Pullman is all about. And, no, there will be no coordinator deal while he's biding his time to be the head guy. In fact, in the interview he admits that WSU has approached him in the past about being an assistant or a coordinator and he turned them down. He is a HEAD COACH, and don't forget it.

Here's the thing though. In his interview he says flat-out he's been contacted, but, still no interview. We're almost two weeks into this thing and no interview? And he's just 75 miles up the road? That seems a little odd. Or is it?

First of all, Wulff said publicly that last week he was interested but didn't want to talk about it as he was getting ready to play a playoff game. So he wouldn't even be ready to talk until this week. Then, Jim Sterk was in NYC for the first part of this week to attend an awards presentation. So, Sterk has only just got back into the office. There's literally like 1 or 2 days, tops, that they could even meet. So I really think he's going to get his shot at this thing, but the timing has to be just right. And, based on what we've been told around here, you can lean heavily towards the idea that as far as some people know, he IS very close if not the #1 guy on the list right now.

Here's a Youtube video by Wulff, asking fans to help raise funds for an EWU football program that is on the rise, but definitely needs money:



2) John L Smith
We've joked that John L has set up a campaign headquarters and wants to get this job so bad he can taste it. He's a former WSU assistant and had a lot of BCS experience, so he does fit the bill to a certain degree about what some people are looking for. But I don't know. Age is against him, 59 right now and not getting any younger. We already know we've been beat up in recruiting circles this year based on age, so do we want to go back there for a guy who is known for kind of "losing it" at Michigan State??


And who could forget "the slap"?



Is that the guy Sterk wants to hire? Hmmm. We do know that it's likely that Smith will be meeting with Sterk, potentially even today or some time this weekend.

3) DeWayne Walker

He's got the reputation at UCLA for being an excellent position coach and a fantastic recruiter. He's young and has a lot of energy, something that is going to be required for this job. He's African-American, and that's something that is considered in this. The downside is the UCLA situation itself, and Walker is very much a viable candidate for that job as the head coach. So if we want him, there's going to be some stiff competition. Plus he's never been a head coach, and that could be an issue with Sterk.

4) Mike Price
He's been contacted, admits interest, yet that's as far as it's gone. He's said as recently as Wednesday that WSU is "his school" and he's interested. But then in the next breath says he's working on an extension for UTEP? Maybe this is a case of "Mike, we're going in another direction but we'll do you a favor. This thing is going to take a while, so, we'll float your name as someone we're interested in. You can use that as a hammer in your contract extension talks with UTEP and you can get that one last big extension." It sounds like a dirty trick, but look around the country. It happens EVERY DAY with college coaches! The latest is Grobe from Wake Forest, who was all but done and was going to take the job at Arkansas yesterday, only to suddenly get a great contract extension! Wouldn't be the first time - nor the last time - something like that went down. I do think that there's a shot Price could come back, but from what we hear, it's not likely.

Now, rumors:

June Jones was floated over the last few days, and in particular last night the rumors started to percolate. KRKO 1380's Jeff Aaron said on the air that he heard yesterday that Jones is the new hot rumor floating around the WSU athletic department offices. It kind of makes you wonder, is it realistic? Well, as our good friend Kaddy points out, Jones only makes $800K at Hawaii. I believe we could match that, if not exceed it. He's the king of the world over there, sure, but it is a WAC school and there's always the lure of BCS competition. He's from Portland so he does have some NW ties, although nothing directly related to WSU. Still, there are some strange things about Jones. One rumor is that he's very friendly with the female coeds. Even one rumor had him so friendly with one notable Hawaii volleyball player that she ended up suddenly transfering all the way to Alabama. The talk was that she "with child". Hmm, screwing the students might not go over well with Jim?!?

There was someone named "Bucky" who floated a Barry Alvarez rumor last week. It sort of makes some sense if you think about the Bennett connection. Retired guy with great success recently is brought in to get the program to another level, maybe even a succession plan behind him. Sterk was in Madison this fall of course, for the opener, so you know their paths have crossed. And I would imagine that if "Dick Bennett is on line 1 Barry" happened on a regular day in Madison, that Barry would pick up the phone. And, Alvarez has been in rumor mills since he retired, so stranger things have happened (like Bennett to WSU??). But Alvarez is a Wisconsin guy, he's their AD right now so why would he even want to get back into the grind?

Other names floating include Turner Gill, for obvious reasons and rumored to have talked with Sterk already, although no confirmation there. Gill says he isn't really looking for anything new at this time after striking out with Nebraska. Brady Hoke of Ball State is on the radar, but it might not be a match. In fact, Hoke is showing up in other rumor mills, including Michigan where he was a former assistant. Bob Gregory admitted he got a call about it, but nothing has happened there.

So, that's where we are. With Sterk's statement of "no more comments!" in regards to this search, well, rumors are going to fester. Someone is going to go online at a message board or (gasp!) a blog and say, "I've heard so-and-so is interested!" This is what happens when there's no communication. Like it or not, the rumors are only going to get hotter as things roll forward.

Meanwhile, hats of to UW. I'm not kidding either. Have you seen their latest commits??? Fogerson from O'Dea, the kid who ran for 297 and 4 TD's in the state title game last weekend, finishing with over 2500 yards and 36 TD's this year (wow!). He actually committed to Ohio State, but now says he's going to be a Husky? And then the number one fish in the state, Ta'amu of Rainier Beach, now says he's going to UW? They are looking at a top-15 class in the nation, at least. Not that we were going to compete with these guys on the recruiting trail, and we usually pursue a different kind of kid, but they are flat-out killing right now. Willingham has set up a fence around the state and right now, he's keeping 'em home. That's HUGE.

Meanwhile we have 3 commits, and probably half our assistants are working the phones on trying to land a new job when they are still on our payroll. Come on Jim, this thing could turn out to be a total mess if you don't get moving. Please, MAKE A GREAT HIRE HERE. The heat is on! Click here for more ...plus Comments

Thursday, December 06, 2007

EAT THIS!!!


"I GOT A FEVER AND I NEED MORE COWGILL!!!!!"

Another Gutty victory for our Top 10 team. Man are these kids gutty. Man do I LOVE watching them play the game.

Couple late-night hits:

  • Gonzaga has a chance to be really, really good by the end of this year. That Daye kid is really going to be something and they STILL do not have Joshey. They could really be special by tourney time. REALLY special.
  • Baynes makes us a real force to be reckoned with, but he still leaves his feet too much on defense. If he keeps that up in Pac-10 play, a guy like Kevin Love will have him saddled with 3 fouls in the first 10 minutes. IF he can keep his feet better, he will still be a force defensively. And with his soft touch from the line, he will be a hero a couple of times this year.
  • Cowgill is a cool version of Mikki Moore. Long and lean with a nice midrange game. But Cowgill is much more physical. And he has hops to go with timing. What a nice player.
  • IF anyone can tell me who they have seen that recovers quicker than Kyle Weaver let me know who it is...I'd also like him to jack it up about 15 times a game over the next three. HE NEEDS that perimeter game to become the NBA pro that he should be.

But I tell you, Cougar Nation, after watching the last two games, our boys are seriously legit. As many of us know far too well, contenders ALWAYS have the way of breaking your heart. Whether or not its by coming back and stealing one at the end in a game you should have lost (e.g. Baylor) or the ability to sustain a late game surge in a game you should have won (Gonzaga) our boys come through with poise AND aggressiveness. Seriously, a top 30 team loses one if not both of those games. But not us.

The ONLY thing we lack is a reliable BIG TIME scorer. But, IF we could have a game where a couple of guys could get off (especially Baynes or Harmeling), we WILL beat anyone.

Enjoy this season, Cougar Nation. This is a once in a lifetime group of kids. Click here for more ...plus Comments

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sour Apples

Greetings fellow Cougies - long time, no blog.

My absence from the blog over the last several weeks has been due in part to a long list of super-important bullshit. Lots going on in the McBoob household this fall. As many of you know, I helped coach Mini McBoob's Pop Warner Tiny Mite team this year which made me late to two games and absent from two others. As luck would have it, I missed the one home game of the year (UCLA) where the Cougs played really well. By putting my son ahead of the Cougs, I got a big dose of good Karma and missed the OSU game while the tiny mites played through a typhoon in front of a crowd of 22 people at halftime of the EWU/Weber game.

You know how NFL films does a season recap show for every team? They always give them subtitles like: Seattle Seahawks 2005: Soaring to the Super Bowl. It sounds really cool when the team had a great year but when the team really sucked they come up with some ridiculous euphemistic title like: Miami Dolphins 2007: Another Perfect Season. Well, if I had to put together the season review for the Cougs in 2008 it would be Sour Apples. My second choice would be At Least We're not Notre Dame.

Honestly, I spent more time watching cartoons with the kids on Apple Cup Saturday than I did watching the game. I just didn't have it in me to get on the roller coaster one more time. Of course, I paid enough attention to know what was happening but I really only watched when everybody else got excited. Fortunately, I did tune in to watch the last drive. Bink to Gibson goes down as maybe the second-best play for the Cougs at husky stadium in the modern era. It'll be hard to top Leaf to Jackson...

I'm going to opt out of the coaching debate but will say that I am adamantly against bringing back Captain Happy - regardless of whether or not it would lead to a hand-off to Eric after a few years. Of all the names bandied about, my top three in order of preference would be: Bob Gregory for his insight into another Pac10 program; ties to the area and WSU; and recruiting ties in CA. Paul Wulff for his experience as a head coach; his record at a "non-sexy" school; his ties to the school; and the fact that he was in my BioSci class in '88. (Great column on Wulff by Moore today in the PI). Tie between DeWayne Walker and Pat Hill. I like Walker because he's young; has insight into another league system; and recruiting ties. I like Pat Hill because he looks like the kind of guy I could drink beers with at the Sports Page.



So without further Madu, here is my season in review...

Washington State Cougar Football 2008: Sour Apples

Game of the Year: Has to be the Apple Cup. The only thing that would have made it better would be if it secured us a bowl bid. Despite an otherwise disappointing year for both schools, this will go down as one of the best contests in Apple Cup history. Brink goes out with a bang and adds "husky Killer" to his resume'.

Play of the Year: Again to the Apple Cup. Like I said. Brink to Gibson for the game winner is bested only by Leaf to Jackson as the best play for the Cougs in husky stadium. This makes it the third-best play in modern Apple Cup History, with Bledsoe to Bobo a solid #1.

Offensive MVP: Brandon Gibson. Let's just hope Mark May isn't the one giving Brandon advice on where he'd go if he enters the draft. Gibson really flourished this year as the primary target for Alex Brink. After showing flashes of greatness while playing in the shadow of Jason Hill, I believe Gibson is actually better than his predecessor. Hill was prone to intermittent cases of the "dropsies" whereas Gibson consistently makes catches, whether he's wide open or in tight coverage. Only a poor 40 time would keep him from being a day-one draft pick this year. With an unknown quantity at QB for the Cougs next year, I know I'd take the money and run...

Defensive MVP: I'm giving the nod to Andy Mattingly over Hussein Abdullah. Abdullah was never a big-play guy but this year more than ever, his steady play every week was key to an otherwise inexperienced defensive backfield. However, you just can't overlook the guy who made the coaches change their scheme just to get him on the field. Like Nuke LaLoosh, Mattingly announced his presence with authority to ASU and the rest of us during week 5 and never looked back. Despite the fact that he was a part-time player until week 5, Mattingly finished one tackle shy of the team lead but led the way in sacks (8) and tackles for loss (11). That he was rewarded by the Pac10 with Honorable Mention is a slight if you ask me. We're going to look back on his career and wonder why on earth we burned his redshirt for a contribution of only 10 special teams tackles in 2006. He's a special player.

Newcomer of the Year: If I were to name one player on each side of the ball, I'd give the nod to Kendrick Dunn on D. The fact that neither Dunn nor the other two starting LB's were benched in favor of Mattingly speaks for itself. The best newcomer to the program outside of incoming freshmen was Vaughn Lesuma. As advertised, the big man displayed quick feet and came right in and solidified the left tackle spot. Aside from a couple penalties late in the year, you never heard a peep about him and in the world of O-Linemen, no news is good news.

Freshman of the Year: Shoulda been Mattingly but since he was so desperately needed in 2006, I'll have to say Chiba Nunchucks. Seriously, don't tell me you didn't go OOOOoooohh! the first time you heard Unbiased Bob call his name. That silent N had to have thrown off more than just me. If ever there was a baptism by fire, Chima Nwachukwu's 2007 season was it. Thrown to the lions due to a brutal lack of depth at CB, Chima got used like a Tri-Delt early in the season but steadily improved as the season wore on. No doubt he's got the physical skills - and with a season of Pac 10 play under his belt, he should be a fixture in our defensive backfield for the next three.

Coach of the Year: George Yarno's O-Line was a very pleasant surprise for the Cougs this year. When Andy Roof got booted this spring, it left us very thin but Yarno's boys did a helluva job protecting Brink and especially later in the year, opening up some running lanes. George is one of those guys who has seen and done it all. He simply commands respect and his guys love him. Let's hope he sticks around when the new head-man is hired. With only Bobby Byrd gone for next year, our line should be a big strength.

Senior Who Will be Missed the Most in 2008: Loren Langley. OK OK it's not Langley, it's Top Romeen. OK it's not him either but I didn't realize he was a senior until I just looked at our roster. We go into next year with - I assume - Wade Penner as our kicker. Penner actually weighs one pound less than Langley which means the average starting position for our opponents next year should be on our own 48 yard line.

The TWO Seniors we will miss the most on Cougar Football Saturdays in 2008 are Jed Collins and Michael Bumpus. I don't know if Bump will play on Sundays but he is the epitome of what it means to be a Cougar. We only got him because USC had second thoughts but the kid came north and immediately endeared himself to coaches, teammates and fans. It's impossible for most of us to fathom the culture shock a kid goes through when he leaves SoCal for Pullman; but as is the case with most of the kids from LA who go Crimson, they come for the opportunity to play in the Pac 10; and leave a lifelong Coug. With all the uproar over whether or not Brink deserved all the records he broke, no one will ever question Bump breaking Hugh Campbell's all-time receptions mark. We'll root for him to make it at the next level, but if he doesn't make it, I hope he comes back as a GA and hits the recruiting trail.

Jed-zilla was to the Cougs what the Swiss Army Knife is to a camping trip. The dude is a do-everything football player. He not only did everything he was asked, he did it well. This year was definitely his best as a Coug and I was really happy to see the Pac 10 honor him to their second team. Jed goes down as one of my all-time favorite Cougs. He was fun to watch - no matter where it was that he lined up.

Senior Who Will be Missed the Least in 2008: After two ridiculous outings against the Oregon schools, I finally fell off the Brink bandwagon. Yeah, he sucked in the Cal game too but in that game, he sucked good enough to win. Were it not for a dropped TD by Charles F-ing Dillon, we would have skipped out of Strawberry Canyon with a W. He must be one of the best Sunday-Friday wide receivers in WSU history to have made it through the year without being benched. Take your pick. Mine's Dillon.

Biggest Disappointment of 2007: Aside from the simple fact that the Cougs put us through a fourth bowl-less season in a row with 5 embarrassing blow-outs in 12 games, I give this one to the OSU game. Coming off the best three-game stretch of the season, the Cougs were in a must-win situation against the Beavers at home...and absolutely flopped. As I said earlier, I was saved from suffering through this nightmare by Mini McBoob's game that day but before either game started I had a plan to make it to Pullman for at least the second half. Mini's game was at halftime of the EWU game which started at 2. I gave 7 of the 8 tickets I had for the Cougs game to some friends, who in turn gave me a nice bottle of wine. As we tore out of the parking lot at EWU, I tuned into the Bob and Jim show, only to find out that we were getting killed early. Brink threw a pick and all I heard was he threw "another" one. By the time we got home (a 15-minute drive) I believe Alex was up to 4. Needless to say, I tore up my ticket, uncorked the wine and toasted another season of what could have been.

Second-biggest disappointment was the new owners of the Sports Page, who saw fit to have a BAND playing the night before the Stanford game! Are you kidding me?! A band in the Sports Page? In my day, it was a privilege for a student to even drink a beer in the Sports Page. It was a quiet little,locals-only bar owned by a great guy named Stan Wilkinson. I drank my first beer in the page as a prodigal 17-year-old freshman in 1988 and by the time I left, had shared countless beers with Stan. The Page was my bar of choice as a student even though I could fall out of bed and practically be laying on the front stoop of the Coug. It killed me to stay away from The Page on my 21-run, but I knew it would really piss Stan off to find out I'd been drinking there underage for the last 3+ years. By the time I graduated, he must have thought I was 32. I know I'm getting old and crotchety but unless it has an accordian or a banjo, a band has no place in the Sports Page - period.

Can't Wait to See in 2008: Lots of choices here, beginning with our head coach and staff. On the field, we'll all be watching to see who goes under center for the Cougs on August 30th in Seattle. The incumbent would be Gary Rodgers if not for the coaching change. I suspect the new coach will declare the position to be wide open and would not be the least bit surprised if Lopina or Lobbestael wins out. In any case, it'll be a fun battle to watch through summer and fall practices.

Do we have a two-headed running attack next year? With a first-year starter at QB and experience on the O-Line and Running Back, I suspect we'll have a run-first attitude on O. Dwight Tardy was having a great year until he celebrated too hard on that last run against UCLA. Don't believe the spin-doctored tale that he was hurt on the last cut he made on that run. He was hurt when he slipped down the concrete "ramp" that surrounds the field and caught the turf on the way down. My freshman year a kid on my co-ed softball team did the same thing only he broke both bones in his lower leg - that was before they raised the field and effectively shortened the "ramp". Perhaps the stadium renovation plans should include its removal? Chris Ivory showed some real promise in his time as a starter and I'm pretty excited to see if Logwone (can't wait to hear Bob pronounce this one) Mitz is the bruiser we think he is.

On D, I really want to see more of Xavier Hicks. That guy just made plays and I can't understand why we didn't see more of him. He should team with Alfonso Jackson to give us a great Safety tandem. We have two athletic corners in Giles and Nwachukwu and will have one of the best - if not THE best linebacking corp in the Pac in 2008. If there's a question on D, it's is up front where we lose Ropati, Broadus, Mullenix and Johnson. Ropati was really never the same after he got hurt; Mullenix had just about the same impact this year as last when he was leaning on crutches on the sideline; and Broadus and Johnson were really non-factors as well. So really, we can't do much worse with the likes of Ahmu, Kooyman, Graise, Eichelberger and Turpin. I think we'll be a pretty darn good defensive team next year.

What is it that they say wins championships? Good defense and a strong running game. Check and check. Cougs go bowling next year and Paul Wulff is Pac 10 Coach of the Year. You heard it here first.

Over and out - Hooty
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Okay, Seriously

Sorry if I got some of you bent out of shape from the previous post. It seemed like we were reaching a point where some levity was in order.

Couple of quick hits:

First of all, IF REAL NEWS BREAKS ON THIS DEAL, then you will see on our header BREAKING NEWS. That's where you regulars can know that the crap detector can be turned off. So, look for BREAKING NEWS, okay?

Second, here is the summary of what we can expect from the perspective of the Brinkhater Army.

1) Sterk and company will NOT want to further handicap the rebuilding of the program under a new coach by stringing this out. Thus, the LONGER that the search takes, the more apt that Mike Price will be chosen as coach. Simply put, Price can weather a non-class. The others can't. I would look for there to a be a strong move in a couple of directions over the next week if Price is not the choice.

2) The other two candidates are Wulf and Gill. Wulf has the leg up in my book because of his ties to WSU, his experience as a head coach, his youth, and because if things went well he'd stay. Gill is a force to be reckoned with because he is a young, energetic and exciting coach. He also is African American which is extremely important--not only for the hire--but to have a strong minority candidate among the final pool.

So BRACE YOURSELF for some serious news within the next week or so. If it doesn't come, know that Price is coming home.

Have a great week Click here for more ...plus Comments

Monday, December 03, 2007

WSU TO NAME HEAD COACH ON FRIDAY

Yes, Cougar Nation. Sources close to the Brinkhater Army have informed the WSU Football Blog staff that a new head coach has been selected.

An official announcement (regarding the announcement) will be made following the return of Jim Sterk from New York City.

According to our source heretofore known as "Deepest Throat" (DT) the finalists for the job were Mike Price, Turner Gill, Wulfey, and the guy from CAL whose name escapes me at this late hour.

But the Biggest name--and the name that was probably the surprise of surprise where this Blogfather was concerned-- that did not make the cut was Brian Billick. Yep, apparently Billick has several feelers out there that he wants to move from the pros to the College Game. Not surprisingly, he was out of our price range (although we bid pretty high) but could appear at one of the other major collegiate openings--particularly if Miles leaves LSU.

So, who are we gonna hire?

Well, one of our frequent members commented this past week that Keith Jackson has been highly involved in the coaching search. And according to the source close to the Brinkhater Army, Jackson played a very key role in contacting our new coach.

In the end, the athletic department has noted that it wants to make a splash. And certainly this hire will do just that. Who is it? Scroll below. Oh yeah, and to give you a final hint: Rosey's OUT as quarterbacks coach. Levy stays, but Ron Powlus will be assuming the OC and QB coach duties from here-on-out. Here's our new fearless leader folks:













Can you feel the excitement?? Click here for more ...plus Comments

Wulff Wants In; Ty-tanic Taking on Too Much Water?

Now that EWU's season is in the books, and hats off to one hell of an effort against App State, Paul Wulff can finally comment on WSU. And guess what?? He wants the job! Wow. Never saw that coming.

Seriously, though, Wulff does want the job and said so yesterday. And as a Cougar fan and someone that's spent money on this program, I'm starting to see some more and more positives in this. Here's why:

1) He's been a winner at a not-so-easy situation at EWU, now 53-40. Sure they haven't beaten any BCS teams or anything like that, but they've done well. And it's harder than one might think in the Big Sky, yet he's had only one losing season in his eight years as the head guy.

2) He coaches a dynamic offense. From everything I've read and heard about him, it's not a true one-back like Levy runs, yet it's not the spread/read option that is all the rage you see these days either. He's supposedly flexible and knows how to play to his player strengths on offense. And he can coach 'em up too. His sophomore QB had an outstanding year this year. Overall, he's had over 200 players win some sort of honors at EWU, and that's no fluke.

3) He can turn things around quickly. Last year they won 3 games, his only losing year at EWU. This year they lose by 3 on the road at App St in the playoffs. Huge turnaround with a lot of youth in key spots.

4) Obvious WSU roots, but it goes deeper than that. He can explain to a recruit the idea of what it will be like, truly, to be a player at WSU. And even he said in the article today that he can be very honest with recruits and tell them like it is.

5) Finally, age. He's got all this experience, as a BCS player and a head guy running his own show - in eastern WA no less - and he's STILL ONLY 40! Let's be honest here, energy and stamina are important in today's climate of winning at a BCS program. And at WSU it can require even more than we can imagine. Does anyone think Wulff would put his feet up on the desk and daydream about an upcoming vacation? Is he a guy who is in the twilight and thinking alot about retirement? I doubt it.

Bottom line here - ok, he's not a "splashy" hire. He's not been a big winner at a BCS program. So what? Do you know what Dennis Erickson's record was when he was hired from Wyoming? 6-6. That's right, Erickson was a .500 coach in his only season at a D-1 school when he was hired in 1987. Price, the guy some advocate as the GUY in all this, is a .500 coach with major peaks and valleys, and was a .500 coach from Weber State when he showed up in Pullman. Is it a coincidence that Price won 8 games his first two years at UTEP, and has now turned in 2 losing seasons the last two years? It's Price. It's what he does. Some excellent highs, poop-island lows.

When you look at the big picture, Wulff is similar to these guys, but actually better, with more experience and success at the same age when they were first hired! I'm coming around on Wulff.

Meanwhile, Sterk is in NY today for an awards dinner. Any chance that Turner Gill will swing by and say hello? Gill was just passed up for Nebraska and has been rumored by ESPN as a guy high on WSU's wish list. And he's been coaching upstate at Buffalo. It wouldn't be a stretch if they took a meeting, would it?

Also mentioned is DeWayne Walker, UCLA's DC. Walker has an unbelievable reputation as a recruiter and a guy who relates extremely well to LA's kids. He also turned a soft UCLA defense into a pretty good unit over the last year or so. His agent says he's been contacted by WSU, and as soon as Dorrell is canned, he'll be available. MAYBE. Actually there are rumors Walker could take over at UCLA, so, we'll see.

All that said? Cougfan has a good article today that's free(!), that talks about WSU needing to set their sights higher. I think they are a little underwhelmed by the SR.com's list of 7 candidates. Outside of Wulff, I couldn't agree more by whatever sources Vince has at the Spokesman. That list was pretty underwhelming. It's sort of like what an old radio show host used to preach, time and again: "When you think small time, when you talk small time, and you act small time, you WILL BE SMALL TIME!" So why not shoot high and see what happens??

Finally, the Ty-Tanic at UW might have taken on just a little too much water after their latest iceberg collision of a season. Rumors of a press conference tomorrow to oust him are making the rounds. We'll see. Hopefully we don't have to compete for a head coach with those guys. There's already a lot of jobs available, and while they are down, we really don't need them in the mix as well do we? I know we won't attract the same kinds of candidates, I mean WSU and UW are oil and water, but still, I'd rather not have them with an open spot. So, from WSU Football Blog, we ask PLEASE keep TY! Click here for more ...plus Comments

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Fantastic Seven?

So today, sources have told the Spokesman that the list is now down to seven candidates. Without further adieu, first, the obvious five:

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!
  • 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.
"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.
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