Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ropati Hits the Big Apple; Martin Stadium Updates

I guess there is a potential NFL future for 6-7, 305-lb defensive tackles. Ropati Pitoitua is the last of the WSU free agents to land in an NFL camp, as the big fella has landed with the NY Jets.

Now will he survive? Hard to say. He could be a fit in a 3-4 defensive scheme at nose tackle. We all know he has the size and has at least flashed the potential. But he's not exactly blessed with pure athleticism in that body of his. His last 40-time was a 5.27, not exactly blazing speed. But if his job is to simply take up space and try to occupy a couple of blockers, well, who knows. He's probably just a training camp body at this point.

He was always intriguing with his size, but he never seemed to put it all together. Health was the biggest thing, with those bad wheels of his, with high ankle sprains in '04, breaking his leg in '05, and missing time in '06 and '07 with knee and foot injuries. Both he and Aaron Johnson showed so much promise early in '04 as a pair of monsters inside that looked like they could be a hell of a tandem, but it just wasn't to be.

Here's what SI had to say about him:

POSITIVES: Nice-sized defensive lineman with an average game. Keeps his feet moving up the field, plays with good pad level, and wraps up when tackling. Brings down opponents on initial contact.

NEGATIVES: Lacks quickness, explosion, and speed. Rarely gets penetration, displays minimal ability as a pass-rusher, and consistently handled by a single blocker.

ANALYSIS: Pitoitua possesses the size and growth potential to be a run-stuffing lineman in a conventional system, but he does not consistently play to his numbers and shows little fire in his game.

Maybe part of Ropati's problem was that he simply played too high? It's hard to stay low when you are that tall, but as a d-tackle that stood straight up in the middle of the line, those knees were easy targets from opposing linemen. That said, when he was on the field he did produce. In his career he recorded 20 tackles-for-loss including 8.5 sacks. Not bad for a guy who only started about half the time. Good luck Ropati!

Kaddy pointed this out the other day in comments, but more weekly photos are popping up on Martin Stadium. While still very much a construction zone, it is looking better by the week, no question. That end-zone area off Stadium Way is going to look completely different this year. I can barely recognize it right now:

I also like the aesthetics of the brick and steel. It adds to the college building style throughout campus and blends in well. It's not like it has the look of some modern arena that looks out of place. The area that could be one of the best features is that courtyard area out by the track. Sterk has touted this area as one large meeting or gathering place, and it's an area that should be well utilized. There's a ton of space out there, so it could be a very underrated part of the gameday experience:

I know, it's hard to get a good "feel" from these construction pics. Some of you have seen these, but some of you haven't, so, here's some artist renderings that aren't exactly easy to find online:

With the adding of the new scoreboard and sound system on the other side of the stadium, and all of a sudden you're talking about a cool setting with much-needed upgrades right in the heart of campus! And that's just the first two phases. Phases three and four are currently in fund-raising mode, and they will be really dramatic in terms of adding seats, suites, etc. Here's the final concept from field-level:
Compare this rendering with the picture in our header for the blog, and you start to get the idea of what kind of a change we are talking about.



kaddy said...

Former Coug football player Jim Dodd passed away recently - right there in Bothell. Sounds like he was a fierce Coug to the end.

Longball said...

Thanks for the pics, Sedi. Its been hard to tell from the few artist renderings online and the progress pics of the construction just exactly what the finished product will be like. I cant wait for this all to take shape just as Wulff gets this program whipped into high gear.

Oh, and i am with you on putting away my ire for the Dawgs for an afternoon and rooting for them to take down Okie State. After losing Sampson to Oklahoma (not ALL bad in the long run), the 2002 Rose Bowl, the 85 - 29 basketball loss, then Clay-gate... i have nothing but disdain for all things from that state. forever. Its our turn to put some hurt on them for once!!!

P.S. - i am just realizing how much my rant above resembles that of a Baylor fan after we beat them in hoops this year. Going back to our narrow win in the Alamo Bowl, then the squeeker at Quest field, THEN the comeback in Waco this year... i didnt realize how much we had snatched victories from the jaws of defeat against those guys. I sympathized for sure.

Sedihawk said...

That 85-29 was one of the most humiliating WSU games ever. It was actually on TV over here and I watched a little bit of it, thinking hey, the Dick Bennett snail-ball might give them issues. What a horrible game. The worst part was seeing the okies clown about that game, waving towels, and just generally laughing at our ineptness. I would have loved to see Low, Weaver and Cowgill get another shot at those guys over the last couple of years. Oh well!

But yeah, great point. And that Rose Bowl. And stealing Kelvin! And great point on Baylor too. They must hate us deep down. Solid post of comments from you Longball, nice job.

millcreekcoug said...

Ropati is a complete douchebag.

Guy went out of his way sometimes to start shit with people.

He was the one WSU player that I hated during my years at WSU.

JMNOR55 said...

Good news for former Cougs. Reuben Mayes made the College Football HOF this past week.

Nice extension for TB. Stability counts for something. Hopefully the program in Western Washington will show some strength and we can try to be a mini-Kentucky or NC

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