Yep, even in these dismal times, the flag is STILL making it to Gameday. It just continues, MY OH MY!
Good for you Coug fans. The flag sighting is, once again, always a source of pride. I know it's the first thing I look for when I flip on Gameday on a Saturday morning. And thanks to Will and Stephanie Walker for the screen cap.
Moving on, we'll keep it brief. We're beat up right now, to the point that Logwone Mitz is going to likely get a lot of time at running back today, with very little behind him. Chris Ivory is out and Dwight Tardy was limited this week, so, IF we are going to see any semblance of a running game, it's going to be a lot of Mitz. Let's hope he can do more than run for a couple of yards and then fall down.
That said, I don't care if you have Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders or Adrian Peterson carrying the ball. Behind this offensive line, the holes have been few and far between. We ran for 114 yards vs. Okie State, but the passing game was so off, and the special teams killed us that day, so it was of very little consequence. But consider these rushing numbers:
57 net yards vs. Cal - LOSS
77 net yards vs. Baylor - LOSS
277 net yards vs. PSU - WIN
79 net yards vs. Oregon - LOSS
26 net yards vs. UCLA - LOSS
Pretty bad, and aside from the PSU game, which is a throwaway if you want to know the truth? This has been one of our worst string of rushing performances in recent history. Historically, when we've run the ball with some effectiveness, we've been successful. WSU is now 10-4 since the start of 2006 when we've ran for over 100 net yards in a game. You can do the math and figure out that when we sputter on the ground, in the old offense or the new one, we lose. A running game today would do wonders for the confidence of Ocho Rojo, eat up some game clock, keeping the defense off the field, etc, etc, etc. The trickle-down could go a long way towards keeping things respectible.
One more thing - for the third week in a row, we are starting the same five guys on the offensive line. From left to right, it's Lesuma, Roxas, Alfred, Danaher and Hannam. While it's still a group missing some depth, and also quite young with Lesuma the lone senior of the group, at least it's the same group for the last few weeks. You have to believe they will start to gel, at least a little bit more than they have?
The other side of the story, the defense? That's another story. Our rushing defense is bad, bad, bad, giving up over 6 yards per carry on average. We've basically been steamrolled by any team with at least an average running attack, and that's beyond worrisome for the Jerome Harrison clone we'll see today in Jacquizz Rodgers. Just hope we see the defense stay in their lanes and most of all, TACKLE WELL! There was improvement last week, just 325 total yards allowed, and they did rally to the ball on the ground, giving up exactly 100 net yards. Considering where this group was coming into last week, that's a huge improvement.
Maybe we can look to the Beaver Believers for hope. After all, they are the kings of the circling the wagons, so to speak.
When things have looked their bleakest for the Beavs, they have dug deep, come together and turned it all around. They've been 2-3 in 2006 and 2007, and both times have won out, except for a loss to USC last year. I know it's a stretch to look at them for inspiration, but they have become a program that I sure envy. I would love to see us follow in their footsteps of upgrading the facilities, then have a coach who wants to be there build layers of depth, punctuated by strong offensive and defensive lines. After all, the Beavs are one of the most successful Pac-10 programs of the 2K decade. They have passionate fans and play with a real edge at home. They are what I hope we become.
We'll have something up for the game. Until then, enjoy your Saturday, and hopefully, enjoy the game today. GO COUGS!