Monday, December 31, 2007
Happy New Year, Cougar Nation!
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Sunday, December 30, 2007
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
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
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
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. Read more ...plus comments
Saturday, December 22, 2007
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.
Friday, December 21, 2007
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.
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.
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?
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.
Playing in front of what kind of crowd, will better prepare your team for Pac10 League play: A or 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!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
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?? Read more ...plus comments
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
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?).
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.
Monday, December 17, 2007
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
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 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:
Read more ...plus comments
Friday, December 14, 2007
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.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
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.
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.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
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:
- 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.
- The best WSU beat guy around, Howie Stalwick, gives his recap of the presser here.
- Cougfan's Barry Bolton writes about the press conference and has some good quotes.
- 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!
- 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?Read more ...plus comments
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
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.