Sunday, September 28, 2008
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!
Posted by Sean Hawkins at 8:53 AM