So while we divert our attention away from Tony Bennett for the moment (and if you noticed, the story still isn't 100% dead, as Howie Stalwick wrote today), lo and behold the FOOTBALL team is on the 3rd week of practice already?? How did that happen? I have no idea. Maybe because coverage has been so sparse, what with the Bennett's run into Sweet-16-ness coinciding with 2/3rds of spring ball?
Whatever the reason, it's a new week and spring ball is in the home stretch. While spring has been "OK", according to some, Wulff weighs in today in the Spokesman about how important this week really is. For a quick recap, here's where we are with one week left:
- The defense is ahead of the offense. BIG-time. Proof is in the pudding, and the defense allowed only 2 TD's in 90 minutes of action last week. Both were rushing TD's, and the D racked up 4 sacks and a couple of picks.
- The QB's have been OK, but there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of separation at this point. There weren't any TD passes in the last scrimmage, and the yards and completions were pretty low across the board. (here's a full recap of the scrimmage) Rogers is still the #1, and most likely things will stay that way once spring wraps up. But there are rumors that another young QB has done pretty well, and might really make a case for the job this fall (think RS-frosh young). None other than Marshall L has looked pretty good. Who knows, maybe we'll have the first QB controversy in the Wulff era before the first game?
- This team is thin, thin, thin. Wulff has mentioned it all along, from the first couple of weeks after he took the job, to interviews prior to spring ball. That view hasn't changed in any way. Based on some hints Wulff dropped at the Seattle football dinner, we may see new recruits pressed into action immediately this year, and not necessarily by choice. I can't tell you how many times Wulff would talk about a prospect during the video clips, and then drop in "we'd like to redshirt him this year and get him to gain some weight, but..."
- Someone on the SR.com blog asked Vince today what he thought about this year's team. In a nutshell, he thought we would be OK. Check it out (*but here's the quote): "Paul Wulff is trying to change the program in his image, which would be a rebuilding job even if 50 good players were returning. His philosophy is just different than Bill Doba's. Whether it's better or not is up for others to decide, but it is different.
As for next year, the cupboard isn't all that bare with a good offensive line, strong receivers and experienced linebackers returning, along with some possible stars at other positions. But there is no depth, a new quarterback is taking over a new system and 2009? Watch out. That could be tough one as the upperclassmen move on and most of Wulff's guys will be young."
That's about it for now. You can get more from the Cougfan premium stuff, but they are the only ones that are really giving much on the football team at this point. Players are still getting to know the coaches, and still trying to learn new offensive and defensive playbooks in the process. No matter the situation, it can't be easy. The important thing to remember is that no matter how rough the edges are right now, there's still a long way to go until the opener vs. Okie State.
Moving on, some weirdness on the Sonics front. A group is going to announce at 11 AM a potential new arena option in Seattle, possibly down on the pier area across from Qwest Field and Safeco. A very strange press release was issued yesterday that the press conference would be today, the Governor knows about it, even the NBA has been briefed on it and it's been in the works for months. That is all that is known at this time. More to come on that. Otherwise, the Key Arena renovation plan seems to have hit the wall in trying to get the last $75 million needed. With the deadline just 10 days away or else the Ballmer deal evaporates, it really does appear the franchise is yet another step closer to the dust bowl.
M's notch a solid 5-2 win. Bedard struggled with his command and a wicked-tight strike zone, but he kept busting guys inside and never gave in. He battled through 5 innings and kept the damage to just a solo homer in the first inning. Not a great beginning, but still, not bad. And before you get uptight about Bedard? Don't. Just remember the Jeff Weaver/Horacio Ramirez train-wreck of starting pitching last year before you complain why he didn't throw a complete-game shutout! Personally I think opening day is beyond overrated, so it really doesn't matter. The good news is 1 game in, 1 game lead in the AL West over the Angels! Better than the other way around I guess.
Good riddance Lopez twins. You'll be taking your chest-thumping show to the NBA next year. No, we won't miss you. And speaking of the NBA, a quick glance of NBADraft.net and you realize the Pac-10 landscape could be drastically different next year. Lopez (the good one) is already rated as the #3 pick in the draft. But look at the rest - Jerryd Bayless of Arizona #4? OJ Mayo of USC #5? Russell Westbrook of UCLA #10? Kevin Love, also of UCLA, #13? Darren Collison at #14? The other Lopez at #18? Even guys like Taj Gibson of USC are listed as 2nd rounders/underclassmen. Pretty remarkable at how the Pac-10 is going to show this year.
Also does you proud to see both Weaver AND Low listed as draft picks! Weaver as a late first-rounder, Low a mid/late 2nd rounder. Nice job.