Sunday, September 28, 2008

LOST


These are trying times, and they will continue to be. The 2008 season is officially LOST, much like the TV show. But I have to say, we've been getting tons of opinions and insight, and to us it's all valuable. Everyone comes at this thing from a different angle, and so far the comments have been excellent. Keep it up, everyone!

That said, despite the lost feeling, I know I am going to stick it out. We've been through tough times before (98-2000, where we didn't win a Pac-10 game for a year and a half?). I can get through this.

I know Wulff is going to take his fair share of heat, and after this start the questions of whether or not he's "over his ski's" will be out there. I hate to say it, but I'm sure even the players are questioning everything at this point. Once the bad apples and locker room lawyers start to quit, then, well, it could get even WORSE. But to even suggest that it's time to punt on Wulff now? That's crazy.

Seriously, the guy needs more time. His early verbals commits are of the solid 3-star variety, and the guy's reputation is stellar among high school coaches. But even if he signs an excellent class, these guys aren't in the program yet. And even when they do show up, it will take them a couple of seasons to get stronger and figure things out before we're even going to see fruit from the recruiting class.

Besides, we threw a long contract at Wulff, not a month-to-month lease. Sterk and Floyd believed in what Wulff could do. They knew the quality of the man, and they saw a guy who won with absolutely nothing at EWU. So I don't doubt they believe they got the right guy. But they knew that this will take some time. Of course, they can't stand there at the podium during fund-raising times and say "well, we're going to stink for a while, but just wait until 2010!" Doesn't make you want to reach for the check book, does it? But I am not giving up on Wulff. I believe he's simply trying to do the best he can with Doba's leftovers, and quite honestly, Doba's incredible oversight and mistakes.

Go back and read the Seattle Times article in the spring about a program that was spiraling out of control. Go back and read some of the quotes from Wulff describing the complete lack of skill from so many players, from how to line up to how to feed themselves to how to go to class. Think about the APR and how hard we've been hit. It's not like we haven't been warned that these kinds of things were coming. Wulff didn't cook these things up as a built-in excuse for why they were going to lose football games. It's reality, like it or not.

The other thing, on Harbaugh's comment about how so many people wanted the job - I question the validity of his statement. If there's anything we know about Harbaugh so far, it's that he says a lot of things. Remember the Pete Carroll hub-bub from media day last year, where he said Carroll is telling people he wants to go to the NFL? Hmm, last check, Petey is still in LA. So take Harbaugh's words with a boulder-sized grain of salt. The way he was quoted, people built it up as though there was a line around the block filled with BCS coaches, waiting for an interview. That isn't true. We heard that we talked to June Jones and Norm Chow, plus the others mentioned in the press (Kevin Sumlin, John L Smith). But Jones wanted a lot of money to get off the island, and he got what he wanted at SMU. He's a pain in the ass anyway with some baggage to boot. And Chow didn't work out, and quite frankly, is a "lifer assistant" for a reason. So it isn't like the news rolled across the country when Doba was let go, and top coaches were like "WOW, Pullman is open?? The smallest school/market/stadium/budget in the Pac-10? I'm SO THERE!"

And look at where our recent coaches came from. Doba, promoted from within in an emergency situation that made sense in 2003, but that's about it. Price, from Weber State. Erickson, from Idaho and then Wyoming. So it's not like we strolled into the the horseshoe and stole Woody Hayes when our job was open.

At this point, I'm all about 2010, and some improvements along the way. It sounds crazy, and so much can change. But that is what I am looking towards as we go through some very painful growing pains. In 2010, Marshall will be a redshirt junior with a couple of seasons of experience. All those sophomores and frosh we are seeing on the field now will be juniors and seniors. The recruits signed this coming February will have been in the program for two full years, eating right, hitting the weight room and learning the system. Even the JC guys that Wulff is redshirting today will be at their peak. Guys like Bernard Wolfgramm and Zach Williams, will be experienced seniors by them. James Montgomery, the touted running back from Cal, will be a senior. Other kids like Jared Karstetter, Kevin Norrell, etc, all upper classmen by then. Most of all, the reprocussions of the Doba disaster will be further into the rear-view mirror, and the culture will be considerably different than it is now.

So that's it. Show us some improvement these next few years. Build towards 2010. I'm willing to wait. And if we're still a mess in 2010? Then we'll talk!

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good post, we need to stay absolutely dedicated to the progress of this program. My experience at WSU is relatively short (moved here from SEC country in '98 and became a Freshman in '00) but I can tell you that year in and year out Cougs stay loyal to the cause and this cannot change. The overall improvement that I have seen in the fanbase since those dog-days in 2k is astounding. As a student I could walk to the gates 5 minutes to kickoff and score solid seats. This was astounding to me. In Tennessee this would not have been the case at a high school football game let alone a BCS conference college program. Now we have a packed student section, more fans consistently parking their butts in the seats, and life long loyal COUGS flooding the message boards.

All programs face down years; Tennesse for instance this year, even all-mighty LSU wasn't sitting so pretty a few years back, and USC was rubbish in the 90's. What this school has been able to do in eight short years is nothing short of incredible. Keep the positive vibes coming and we will surely be rewarded with a mess of good karma in the years to come!

And GO COUGS!

Chris '04

Oklahoma Cougar said...

More time? Probably, but not if that is an excuse for another 50 point drubbing. The COACHING must get better...

Stiffmiester said...

Sedi,
At the begginning of this post I thought you had gone to the darskside. I was relived to see that you haven't given up hope. Our Dline right now os pathetic. That being said look at the verbal commits we have. Seven already and of those five are on Dside of the ball. Two MLB's, Two DE's, and a DT. Yes we have to keep them with our current performance but it shows that CPW knew we were screwed. They have the charisma as a staff to start restocking the shelf. Remember when the Seachickens hired Tim Ruskell and he started bringing up the need for Character? We cut and run from the bad apples and locker room lawyers and had some downtime. That's the NFL where money and free agency makes it a quicker turn around. In the meantime the question is while changing culture can this staff adjust their methods and schemes to what we have now? As I said in a previous post there is some sign of this in that CPW abandoned the no huddle for Loebs. My feeling is that if CPW finds his character guys, like Loebs, he will change. Otherwise he is gonna hammer his way as we drive into a wall.
Again Keep the Faith
Go Cougs.

Bill Gray said...

Sedihawk,

I respect your opinions and appreciate the depth you bring to this blog. However, on Wulff, I beg to disagree and discount your arguments on his behalf. I understand that this blog is a mouthpiece for Coug fans, and as the leader you feel the need to keep the group together. You feel like blindly following Wulff into the abyss is better than jumping off his train and watching him crucify himself and his staff alone.

Well, I personally am off the Wulff train. He's gonna have to pull a miracle in the next 18 months for me to get back on. This guy is outclassed, out manned, out gunned and is in way over his head. Kinda of reminds me of Sarah Palin in the VP slot. Way out of his league.

Sure, he may have had a chance to develop into a D1 coach, but he needed some more education and instruction from a real coach. Your arguments all seem to stem from his success at EWU. I don't care if he went 12-0 there every single year...that argument will never convince me that he was ready for D1. It's a completely different ballgame.

You also point out the things that he SAYS. Who cares what the guy says! He could be the most well-spoken orator and a great motivator (obviously he is not much of a motivator) and if you can't put up on the field, you shouldn't be a coach in a BCS program.

I'm done with Wulff. As pointed out by someone on the last post, the assistants are even worse. They don't have a clue.

Anonymous said...

I agree with u in the year of 2010. I think we will have a break out year in 2010, before that, I really don't have that much confidence.

Sedihawk said...

Hey Bill, it's cool. I understand what you are saying, and I can guarantee you are not alone today. It is now five full games in and we've been barely competitive in one (osu) or maybe two (baylor) but both of those turned into runaways. It is a complete disaster that might get even worse and I doubt they are going to be able to hold these guys together.

The only thing I will disagree with is the idea that I am blindly following Wulff into the abyss. I'm not. I simply believe that his track record is better than you think in how he was able to win like he did in the armpit of the Big Sky. His record at EWU was better than Price when he came from Weber State, but that worked out at WSU. We all have to start somewhere, and Wulff's first shot was building a successful program at EWU. The winning at a lower level can translate to success at the next level. I don't think you or anyone can dismiss his experience, even if it is in the Big Sky.

I am going to ride through it and give the guy, and the program, a chance to right itself. If it doesn't change, believe me, we will call for heads to roll. We weren't exactly kind with Doba either. We aren't blind homers here, and we always try to call it like we see it. And right now, even the optimists can see the disaster we've become. Here's hoping in 2010 we can all look back to '08 and say "remember how bad it was??"

kaddy said...

Ok - I'm off the ledge. I haven't read anything until just now. My thoughts are that we have a QB. Lobbestael is obviously inexperienced, but he has a nice arm, and you can tell he has football smarts. I say give him the reins.

Secondly, we have awful DT's, and our LB's aren't good either. Eichelbarger was getting pushed around like he weighed 175 lbs yesterday. However, even though our talent is subpar on the defensive side, we HAVE to get our players into position, which falls to the defensive coaches. How many times did the ducks waltz into the endzone, while no one was close enough to slap them on ass as they walked by? Yikes.

I believe in Wulff. It won't happen this year, and probably not next year, but he is doing it the right way, which is basicially stripping everything bare and starting over. Remember when Tiger Woods changed his swing, and everyone thought he had lost it? He practically started over, and knew he would have a year or two of subpar play (for him).

I do think that the fundraisers can use this as an opportunity, though. Drastic times need drastic measures, so you can take the angle of making sure our donor base knows how badly we need Phase III to happen. Phase 3 & 4 will help us to stay competitive in recruiting talent and bringing more money to the program. That's how we get better.

Limehouse Coug said...

I'm willing to wait a few years. I think Wulff deserves at least that for what he's been given.

There were so many points I wanted to bring up duriong the game but that would take some time. Bottom line, I was pleased with what I saw out of Lobbestael. His check-off's were great and when there wasn't anything there he didn't force it...for the most part.

It's going to be a skipping record this year though. Penalties and turnovers...penalties and turnovers.

Win or lose, my head remains high and I'll continue to wear my Coug gear 3-5 days a week like I always have.

Anonymous said...

We have the hawks takes and he is manning up to state a position in this time. But where are the rest of the blog fathers? It is like you guys have gone into hiding no doubt. I like hawk but I miss the rest of you.

Anonymous said...

i think brinkhater should change his name to wulffhater

Anonymous said...

This is the 8th head football coach hired by WSU in the past 50 years. The 4th from the Big Sky Conf.. Sweeney-Montana State, Dennis from UofI(with a 1 year stop at Wyomming , Price from Weber State and now Wulff from EWU. The other 4 were 2 assistants from high powered programs who split after 1 year each and 2 from in-house, Walden and Doba. The 3 previous from the Big sky were the 3 best in my opinion, I include Sweeney because he took over at the low point and got us back to competetive before going on to build Fresno into the place where Pat Hill became famous. So this gives me hope for the future with Wulff.

I would rather have a good coach who is surprised and over his head at WSU for the first year, but has the smarts and passion to turn it around rather than a guy who can come in and win 4-5 games a year for 5 years with no upside. Given our history with Big Sky head coaches, I choose to believe that this staff will be able to turn it around.

On the charge that the cougs just settled for Wulff rather than pay for somebody better or with a "bigger name", how has that worked out for other pac-10 teams? Stoops is in his 5th year with no winning season for over a mil per, How about Ty W?How did taking Koetter from BSU work out for ASU when he was the hot commodity?Kevin Sumlin was apparently the 2nd choice for WSU and he gave up 56 pts. to Okie State with a bowl team with 15 returning starters the next week after we played them.

How about real big names? How is Charlie working for ND? If it takes time there with top 20 ranked recruiting classes, how long should it take after 4 down years at WSU? I don't know if this staff will succeed, but I do know that 5 games is no indication if they will.

Tell any staff in College that you will take over a team with only 3 d-tackles on the roster only one of which had ever started and another one who had never played a down(Turpin), and ask them if they could control the middle against the run. They would tell you no way. If the criteria some of you are using would have used at Kansas, Mangino would have been fired after his first 3 non-competetive years and they wouldn't be enjoying the success now.

By the way in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm old and was recruited by Sweeney which may be why he's on my list as a success:)
------------

Jackie Sherrill 1st year at WSU 3-8, 3 years later he won a title at Pitt.

Dennis Erickson 1st year at WSU 3-7-1, 4 years later he won a title at Miami.

Mike Price 1st year at WSU 6-5, 2nd year 3-8.

How about we show some patience?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree with the need to change the name of "brinkhater". Why would anybody in the cougar nation hate Alex Brink, he was a good QB.
CHANGE THE NAME!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No kidding man, that's why I don't even read so-called brinkhater's post.

San Francisco Coug said...

Well said, Sedihawk. Furthermore, Wulff is a very smart coach and the college game is increasingly a place that rewards brains.

The Wulff Way is the way forward. GO COUGS!

Amazed said...

Maybe CPW and staff need to learn some lessons from Moneyball and fine their own way to build a winning team with less revenue than the bigger, richer schools.

I think they could find similar key measures in high school recruits and CC transfers and zeero in on getting those players to sing up as Cougs. (in pro baseball it is only two on base % and slugging %)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moneyball

ptowncoug said...

Hawk, I was there for the 98-00 seasons as well. Although I generally only group 98 and 99 seasons together because 2000 a great football season with a horrible kicker and some bad OT losses and stolen wins by the refs.
I was thinking back to the SC game with 6 picks. Man that was ugly. We flat out played ugly football those 2 years, but the thing was we were competitive in many of those games despite being outgunned.
I can't understand what this coaching staff is doing that we are unable to stop the run even when we know it's coming. I'm not sure how you go from a 5-7 team with 9 returning defensive starters!!! to a team that appears to have no idea how to play defense.
Someone please explain that to me.
Hopefully this is just Bennett ball and we are telling guys to buy in what we are doing or get off the boat. Maybe we have a defensive scheme that will dominate, it just hasn't been worked because guys aren't buying in but would rather free lance.

logan said...

anyone calling for Wulff's head is just dumb. Wulff saw this coming, he's not in over his head, he's not surprised. He WAS surprised when he took the job just how bad the cupboard was, and the state of the program. That was back in the winter. He knew it was going to be bad this year, he asked all Coug fans for PATIENCE! We need to give him that. I agree with the sentiment that 2010 should be a measuring stick for Wulff. Keep the faith Cougs!!

AtlantaCoug said...

unfortunatly, we are losing so badly it feels like the Basketball team a few years ago. Where when BB started in the fall, i did not (could not) watch how outclassed we were in the Pac-10. this year that is how it feels watching Football. SO I need to put my expectations into Hibernation. Focus on improving and praying for an upset or two this year. but really, the D is so bad i don't see how we can upset anyone.

bill gray said...

well said ptown. 9 defensive returning starters, and a defensive coordinator who couldn't stop an intramural flag football team. Pathetic.

KentCoug said...

Tressel worked out OK at OSU without any BCS coaching experience.

LouisianaCoug said...

First, Tressel had also won 3 straight D1AA Championships before he got to OSU. Wulff was decent at Eastern, something like 10 games over .500? But Eastern was never a D1AA powerhouse. Paul Wulff is not Jim Tressel.

Second, calling for Wulff to get fired is just ridiculous, he obviously needs to be given a fair chance.

However, I agree with what was said above, 9 returning defensive starters all of a sudden can't do anything.

But to me, its the offense. We abandoned an offensive scheme that had consistently ranked in the top of the Pac-10 for years. The guys on this current team could run that offense. We traded all that for some gimmick, no huddle mess that may/may not ever work.

I guess what I'm saying is this: if we are going to lose every game fine, but I'd rather be getting beat 63-42 than 63-14.

Rosey Rulz said...

Wulff was 53-40, 13 games over .500 at EWU, regarded as one of the most difficult places to win in FCS and certainly the worst in the Big Sky. Wulff also was 53-30 against his "like" competition, meaning non-BCS schools.

Don't compare him to Jim Tressel, not many coaches on any level are Jim Tressel. But it is beyond fair to compare him to Mike Price and Dennis Erickson, both Big Sky coaches who came to WSU.

Mike Price at Weber State: 46-44, 28-28 in-conference.
Dennis Erickson at Idaho: 32-15, 19-9 in conference, 1 conference title, 2 playoff appearances.
Paul Wulff at EWU: 53-40, 32-24 in conference. 2 conference titles, three playoff appearances, three coach of the year honors in the Big Sky.

He more than stacks up vs. the two best coaches we've had in the modern era. Definitely better than Price, but a tick under Erickson.

And what gimmick? A no-huddle, multiple offense is a gimmick? Than I guess about half the teams in college football are a gimmick? Please. His offense has led the FCS in total offense on more than one occasion. His sophomore QB last year, Matt Nichols, threw for 3700 yards and 34 TD's in '07 in winning conference offensive player of the year honors.

Wulff won coach of the year honors in the Big Sky three out of the eight years he was the head coach. He only had one losing season out of eight. That's seven WINNING seasons. Think that is a fluke or a misprint? GET OFF THE IDEA THAT HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE'S DOING AND CAN'T COACH!

Anonymous said...

Wulff doesn't know what he is doing and can't coach.