Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Fodder

Top o' the morning to you. First of all, we should apologize for the delay on new content. It's been a weird week for the WSU football bloggers, from vacations to other commitments of the personal and professional variety. But we've come back out of hiding. One way or another, things will be fresh from here on out. And a huge hat tip and welcome to Longball for his excellent first-person coverage of practice. He's a good addition to the family here and we welcome him with open arms.

Just some Friday stuff to wind down the week today:

Does Michael Bumpus have a shot to make the Seahawks? I know when he first signed with them we thought hey, that could be an excellent fit, he could learn from Bobby Engram on how to be a pro, etc. But it sounds like things are going pretty well thus far. Three catches in the exhibition opener was cool, but Keith Gilbertson and Mike Holmgren have gone out of their way to talk about him, about how he's impressing and is right in that mix of the young WR's. With Engram's injury and Deion Branch likely out the first 5-6 games, the wideouts are thin. I would be happy if they just practice squad the kid this year, and then who knows, maybe next year he could find a spot on the active roster. While not blessed with blazing speed and not exactly built like T.O., still, there is a place in the league for guys like Bumpus. Good hands, well coached in college, knows how to get open and most of all, doesn't shy away from going over the middle. Keep it up Bump!

Speaking of injured WR's....what's up with our injuries right now? Losing Jeshua Anderson is a blow, not just from what he could provide in his production, but, most of all, a major legit deep threat is now out until October. Just the idea that he can run by almost every corner he would line up against this fall is an exciting proposition, but, not having him on the field means the defense has one less thing to worry about. And of course, it also means that Brandon Gibson will likely get extra attention. Not that he wasn't going to see double coverage this year anyway, but remove the home run threat from the other side? Not a good thing. But add in the hamstring strain to Daniel Blackledge, another promising talent who had an impressive spring session, and an already-inexperienced group takes a step back.

I do love the buzz on Michael Willis, and everyone who has seen him since spring ball claim he's the real deal. But will he get "white line fever" as Bill Bavasi put it when he was fired? As in, once he steps between the lines and the lights go on, will he be able to do it like he has done in practices and scrimmages? We hope so, but, it's hard to say now because we haven't seen it yet. And Benny Ward is big (6-3) and is a senior, but he hasn't done much yet either. Then again, he really hasn't had a shot with the WR's we've had on the field the last few seasons, so, who knows. He'll certainly get the opportunity now! A real wild card in this receiving mix could be Devin Frischknecht, who had a good article this week in the Times. Even coach Wulff has said that he looks like he could play on Sundays with his hands and athleticism, so, he could be a real big surprise this season. Also nice to hear Jared Karstetter showing some ability. Sure would be nice to see him redshirt and put on about 10-15 lbs of muscle, as he does look to be on the skinny side. But good hands, athletic, tall, he could be something special down the line.

QB Jeff Tuel committed to WSU last week, now up to five commits. Tuel is a 6-3 QB from Fresno who plays in a no-huddle spread offense, so, he could be a good fit. He sounds like a legit two-way threat with good good quickness, clocked at a 4.6 40 and a fast 4.13 shuttle time. He has a ways to go with his strength, benching 225 while squatting 305, but that isn't bad for a high school senior-to-be. That weight room stuff will come down the line. He's smart to boot with a 3.42 GPA / 1360 SAT. We'll see. One thing I believe Cougfan pointed out is that all five commits are of the three-star rating, some sort of first. Something like we've never had the first five commits all at least three stars? Whatever. You never want to get caught up in star-gazing or anything, and recruiting is just such a crapshoot. But all I know is that we're off to a good start to building Wulff's first full, complete class from beginning to end.

Off-topic, but Lee Pelekoudes, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?? Jarrod Washburn was claimed on waivers, and you hold out for a starting pitcher from Minnesota on their 40-man roster as well as demanding the small-market Twins pick up Washburn's $13 MILLION owed for next year? REALLY?? Wow. A chance to shed an albatross of a contract from Bavasi, the mistake that keeps on giving, and instead you take a knee? Just think how many GM's out there would do the happy dance if they could jettison $13 million from the payroll on a 34-year old pitcher who is 5-12, an ERA near 5, and the league hitting nearly .290 against. Do they really think Washburn is the answer to anything, next year or beyond?? Do they not understand how $13 million in salary can go a long way towards the rebuilding job next year, spent on a much-needed bat or two? Good job Lee, you just completely handcuffed the "real" GM who will take your spot after the season. But don't take my word for it. Check out what Dave Cameron at USS Mariner had to say:

In case you weren’t sure, today was a great reminder that we’re all rooting for the worst run organization in baseball. There’s not another franchise with worse leadership or more incompetence in positions of power. From the CEO on down, these people don’t know baseball. They don’t know how to run a baseball team, build a roster, or win baseball games.

This organization is a massive collection of failures. They pile ridiculous decisions on top of each other, only outdoing their stupidity with an arrogance that refuses to learn from their mistakes. They are the of MLB, only they refuse to go out of business.

I’m far too attached to the childhood memories I have to ever root for another team, but if the M’s screw up this offseason and don’t completely overhaul the baseball operations department, hiring somebody who actually understands baseball, I’ll spend the next few years rooting for these people to fail miserably and be embarrassed publicly.

These people don’t deserve success. They deserve to be looking for new jobs.

Fire them all.

Finally, to wrap it all up, Bud Withers column from last Sunday on the summer in Pullman? WOW. Words can't fully do it justice, but it should be required reading for WSU fans far and wide. The whole thing of wearing the purple jersey if you "dawg it" during practice is funny and all, and it's great to hear how hard everyone is working. But the biggest thing that caught my eye was the account of how the team pledged to go dry this summer, yet someone violated the agreement, and what happened afterwards. The players meeting at 6 AM to go over the whole thing, the heart-to-heart talks that led Greg Trent to tears? That is the kind of stuff that is what changing the culture of a program is all about. It isn't putting on a hat and standing at a podium and giving sound bytes to the media. It's everything ELSE that you don't see, the deep commitment to getting better on and off the field, that's what it is all about. How can you not like the new message? It will take some time, but be patient, because these growing pains will pay off.

Happy Friday, and as always, GO COUGS!


Patrick said...

I like the part that if 'you show championship effort you get to wear crimson.' A great read for all of us.

On a side note, I heard through a friend that there are shirts floating around Pullman that say "Hungry Like A Wolff" and have a picture of Coach Wolff on them.

Anybody know about this or know where we can pick up a few. :)

Sedihawk said...

I had heard something about those shirts but I cannot remember when. Some time this summer. Time to turn on the "longball" signal and get our guy in Pullman to find one!

That Withers article was an eye-opener. I know we hear "best summer EVER", pretty much every summer. But this year I am actually downing a pitcher of the crimson kool-aid.

Woody said...

I have been wondering when the Sunday article was going to be posted?

I found it a very interesting read. I appreciate the effort of the team adopting the "dry" summer. I am not going to say it is lip service, I am sure a large percentage abided by the no imbibing policy but it is Pullman in the Summer, c'mon. I at least applaud and recognize the effort/commitment.
The part I am really impressed with is the reaction to the violators, that is the point of the subject. It is not the pledge but the punishment.
So, to anyone that says ,"oh see WAZZU athletes drinking and misbehaving, they do it to." They are entirely missing the point. It is not that college kids are doing bad and stupid things, they have and always will do that. It is how the team and in this case the players react to those stupid things. With many of these college athlete in digressions, it is not so much the act and behavior, it is the look the other way cover up stuff that taints college programs. (it should be noted, by bad behavior I am not referring to rape, driving into a nursing home, repeated spousal abuse and attempted murder of a drug dealer).

The final thought from the article is the Purple jersey policy. I think this is great. Not just because I am a Coug Homer and dislike our rivals.
I have noticed in the last 8-10 years (not coincidentally since the playing fields have been leveled)the vitriol tone of the WSU/UW rivalry has been ratcheted up several notches. The threats and things that have been said to my Wife and I at Apple Cups in Husky Stadium are appalling.
I am not talking about students or young alums either. I expect drunk belligerent passion from that group, I am talking from 50-60 year old men! I am no fool, I know that Huskies have their horror stories from Pullman as well. (BTW: I have a theory on this for another time)

Back to my point. The thing I like about Wulff is he is old school in his rivalry. We need to get back to the I hate Purple/I hate Crimson type of rivalry. The welcome to McDonald's joke type of stuff. Or I am not going to let my kids go to UW stuff, even the being a Coug prepares you for disappointment. The fun but serious rivalry stuff.

Not the you are f***ing a**holes, I am going to kick your a** type of stuff. Last years Apple Cup I walked up upon 1 Coug being ganged up on and pummeled by 3-4 Huskies, in Husky Stadium! These were 30 + year old men! What is up with that. We need to get back to the old Walden/James taking innocent jabs at each other type of rivalry. Not the PC say nothing rivalry but definitely not the extreme personal hatred stuff either.
I am not saying that we have to all hold hands an get along, but 60 year old men threatening my wife and I? That is ridiculous!
Anyways, enough of my rant. I am just glad to see Wulff trying to install some of the old school rivalry techniques.

Good Luck Bump!
Go Cougs!


Anonymous said...

A bit off of this topic, but going back to the uniform thing, the wsu website blog says this about this years uniforms:

For home games, the Cougars will wear silver helmets with the script Cougar lettering. The jerseys are crimson, and the pants are silver with a three inch stripes down the side rotating crimson, white, crimson.

For away games, the Cougars will wear crimson helmets with the white Cougar head logo. The jerseys are white, and the pants are crimson with a three inch stripe rotating crimson, white, crimson.

So I guess they didn't listen to our votes. I really wish they would ditch the stripes on the pants.

atlantacoug said...

Glad you guys are back. Quick hits:
1. While I am excited about all that I read, I have to be realistic and think that new offense, plus new qb equals sloppy 1st few games. And since our first couple opponents are quality, it could get bad before it gets good.
2. Bumpus on the hawks would be a great story.
3. Hating that the OKC Thundercats get Weaver and continue to make smart moves. Now that Weaver is on squad I might still have to follow them. Hell, they might be back if Shultz wins.
4. Dislike that OKState game is at 12:30 Pm. Not enought time to get my Coug on. I like that the Players made a sobriety pledge. I have made no such promise.

ptowncoug said...

Hey I benched 225 lbs in highschool and I weighed only 150 lbs! Longball can verify this post.
If you are going on vacation next time boys, please post a message of when you will be back because I can't stand checking the site everyday and seeing Longball's week old story as the headline.
Can't give him too much of a big head!

logan said...

yeah they won't be changing uni's until next year when they switch to nike.

Longball said...

Sorry for the absence, folks. Longball accidentally got a job. Damn, did I just refer to myself in the 3rd person? You're right Ptown, it has gone to my head! I will try to track down these hungry like a wolf shirts y'all are talkin about.

Sedihawk said...

Congrats to Longball! No more weekday practices for you.

Oh, and to anonymous, regarding the home uni's. We will do a "home uni watch" soon, maybe even tomorrow or Sunday.