Rambling about the Sonics mess was something I was going to lead off with, but you know what? I'm tired of it already. Yesterday both sides fired off letters, first Ballmer and the rest of the A-team signing an April 10th deadline to get this Key Arena deal done or else their $500 MILLION dollar gift disappears. Of course the state responded in their usual, BS way, this time hoping that a non-binding letter proclaiming that they will form a committee to review the idea sometime "next year"?? Uh, no. Not going to fly. Basically the statement is if they wait until next session, there won't be anything to study. As Ballmer has said, the "moons are aligned" for this thing to happen now, but it must be fully in place by 4/10, a week before the board of governors meet to decide the Sonics request to move. Here's a direct link to the letter. These guys are beyond serious here, and there is very little grey/gray area to what their intent really is.
What I found interesting is the Dino Rossi angle. Here's a guy who barely lost to Gregoire and many to this day still claim he should have won. And he came out swinging yesterday after meeting with the A-team, convinced like the rest of the general public that this is such an overwhelmingly amazing option for all citizens of King County that they just can't possibly pass on this.....can they???
I guess either the state is playing major politics here, waiting until the 11th hour to agree and look like heroes? Either that or our elected officials are certified morons that fit the image of bloated, slow-moving government to a T. I'm not fully giving up hope, but this ship sure seems to lack not only a rudder, but it's clear now that the captain has completely frozen in her tracks.
Moving on, and yes, FOOTBALL related stuff here! Most of you know that the school has released the spring depth chart. Cougfan does a great job of running it down here.
The thing that caught my attention the most is what Wulff has been saying all along, and that is we are not good on the defensive line right now. How bad is it? Stud LB Andy Mattingly is actually moving to defensive end (gasp!). Mattingly had a fantastic run once he took over as a starter 5 games into the season, and finished the year with a remarkable 91 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss including 8 sacks, an INT, 4 pass-breakups, 4 forced fumbles and a partridge in a pear tree. I think Mattingly was sighted selling popcorn in the stands when the offense had the ball. And he's moving to defensive end? I can't say I'm all that thrilled with the idea. Mattingly has NFL linebacker size at a legit 6-4, 241 lbs. He's already rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the #11 linebacker eligible for the 2010 NFL draft, and they have him as a "rising" player.
I guess Wulff and Sears and Ball are going to do what's best for the defense, but I just hate the idea of having him not playing in space. Then again, Mattingly doesn't appear to have the top-shelf speed burst in him that the great outside linebackers have. He's listed as having a 4.74 40-time, and that's clearly too slow for the NFL. But 4.7 is sure as hell quick enough as a defensive end.
Another thing that shows you how bad the d-line is? Andy Roof, who's now back in the program, is shifting to d-tackle. Roof is generally regarded as the strongest guy on the team, and he's got a nasty edge to him, no doubt, so maybe this move is OK. Just seems unusual given he'll be a senior and there seems to be an opening at left guard, but instead they are projected to go with Andrew Roxas.
One more thing here - I think spending too much time on the pre-spring depth chart this year is a little foolish. We know that by fall, when things get serious, it's going to look a lot different. We also know that other than Broussard and Levy, we have a brand-spanking-new coaching staff. They've barely got to know this new group of players, and this will be their first hands-on experience coaching them. We don't know how everyone is going to fit into Wulff's new system. So I think the thing to pay attention to here isn't so much what the depth chart looks like now, but instead to focus on what it looks like coming OUT of spring and in particular how it looks towards the end of fall camp. I think right now there are just too many unknowns to get bent out of shape about anything!
Finally, the Quacks are on the hoops radar for Thursday. Woody commented yesterday that Lunardi is doing some back-peddling on our Cougar seed, now firmly as a 7 in Raleigh, starting at a 2nd-round match-up with the Dukies. So maybe it is more important than we thought to go out and win a couple of Pac-10 tourney games after all? That appears to be our best hope of improving that seed. The thing is, I know I've heard Lunardi say before that when he does this thing, he gives it thought about not only where teams are now, but also he tries to project where teams will be by the time the brackets are announced. So maybe he's got us pegged for a 7 no matter what? I don't know, but we'll see how it all plays out. Personally I think the 3rd place team in what is regarded as the best conference in America should be better than a 7, but I don't spend any time studying how the hell this all breaks out, and that's basically Lunardi's full-time job!
Enjoy your Tuesday. Oh yeah, if you haven't already, e-mail the governor and Frank Chopp. Give a quick call at 800-562-6000. Tell them to do the right thing and save the Sonics. It's right there in front of their big, fat, bloated faces.