Hello Cougar Nation. Hope you all are having a good week.
Well, as noted on this here Blog during the campaign, Sedihawk proved once again that his reporting is leading the nation. First, it was our good friend and colleague Vince Grippi who used Sedi's comparison of Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster to Wulff in his column.
And now, it's happening at ESPN.com!?
Way to go, Uncle Sedi, you continue to be my hero!
Over the past few years, many of you have been forthright in your criticism of me for being negative about certain Cougar players and prospects. And, I want you all to know that I have heard you.
While I can not escape my past--including my shameful moniker--in this new age, I can control the future.
And, as a result, both myself and my fellow Blogfathers will do our utmost to resist the temptation of going negative. Of course, we will attempt to do so without sacrificing our collective needs to 'keep it real.' So, after this post, you will not hear more vicious smack about Coach Paul. You will also hear no more condemnations of our defense and its coaching staff. And you will hear no hateful comments about any of our players.
That all said, I am sure that we can all agree that this season is beyond lost. We also should all know by now that the only way we will depart from the 69-0 drubbings we have taken this year is to find a way to get our very vulnerable and depleted defense off of the field. And, we also sadly know that in spite of his near HEROIC leadership in trying to inspire and lead this football team, Kevin Lopina offers no relief from our current plight. He simply isn't talented enough.
Moreover, with only one year left of eligibility after this season, he offers little hope or benefit for the future of the program--particularly in what will be Wulff's pivotal and critical third year. And that's not Kevin's fault. Consequently, Kevin will NOT be bashed on this site.
What you WILL read here--in each post and wherever possible--is information about what we view to be the future of WSU Football:
With that in mind, please join us in leading the way to promote JT's ascension to the starting quarterback position through every media, personal, and university channel possible--as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to send stories about JT, including photographs and telling vignettes to our student intern, Victory Bell. VB can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Needless to day, we're looking forward to sharing your thoughts about JT with the rest of the blogosphere in the coming days and weeks....
Now, in regards to our game, no analysis is needed.
Arizona is better than Stanford in all phases of the game and is arguably as talented offensively as USC. Perhaps we'll execute better offensively than we have in the past--especially if JT plays. But, you can bet that the score will be 45-0 before Stoops calls off the Dogs. Then, you can also expect that his scrubs will score another 3 touchdowns against our humiliated defense from the early 3rd quarter on.
Thus, this Dad's Day game will be a CAL redux special:
CATS 66 Cougs 3 (Viva the start of a new streak?????!!!)
USC 41 CAL 17 Cal shows they still aren't ready for primetime.
ASU 31 Washington 27. ASU is really bad. But Washington finds a way to stay perfect thanks to pass defense that is worse than ours.
UCLA 31 Oregon State 27. Riley has never beaten UCLA. With Canfield, the streak continues.
Oregon 41 Stanford 21. No CAL defense spells return of Oregon offense. DUCK!
Happ Friday to you all, Coug Nation. First, let me say a personal congratulations to our 44th President of the United States, none other than Barack Obama. Ladies and gentlemen, regardless of your political affiliation, that was a very big deal on Tuesday night. And to watch the entire world celebrate was really amazing. Like Brinkhater told me, it was like watching the end of the Return of the Jedi, when the entire universe had a party like it was 1999 and the old regime had fallen??
But we'll see how it goes. He's got one hell of a job in front of him. But you know it's a different world when crazy Elizabeth Hasselbeck can admit on that show of cackling hens that this is actually great for the country and she's proud to be an American with President Obama.
In that same breath, let me offer a hearty congratulations to Vincent Grippi. The Cougar Nation has, in fact, spoken, and spoken loudly. He is the man, and we are truly honored to have run a clean, hard-fought campaign against our former opponent.....even if he was unaware of any sort of election, and didn't actually run any campaign whatsoever. Still, we at WSU Football Blog will work hard as we can to help heal a wounded Cougar Nation. Vince, we are at your service.
For several seasons now, they've had "the look" of being a team about to turn the corner. Yet for whatever reason, injury or otherwise, it hasn't happened. But this year looks like it is finally the YEAR they kick down the door and return to post-season play for the first time since 1998. They are loaded with talent and experience, pretty much everywhere. But nowhere is it more apparent than at QB.
It seems like Willie Tuitama has been at Arizona forever. He's kind of got that Danny Manning/Bob Garman vibe to him, you know, that college player who seems to be on his 17th year of eligibility? I still remember him bursting on the scene as a true frosh in 2005, rallying the Wildcats with a real edge to his game and offering up some major hope for the future. But so goes Willie Tuitama, so goes the Wildcats. He couldn't stay healthy in 2006, which doomed their season early. But when he did play, the team was pretty good, including big wins in Pullman and Eugene in November that year, both ranked teams at the time. But they couldn't close the deal and lost to ASU to finish the year at six wins, keeping them on the outside looking in for post-season play.
In 2007, he had a major breakthrough performance, throwing for over 3600 yards and 28 TD's. But, AZ had a lot of other problems, namely a putrid running game and a big issue with red zone offense. Their 114th-ranked running game was their Achilles heel and kept them completely out of balance. That lack of a rushing attack showed that over the long haul, you have to at some point be able to run the football.
This year has been different. Now 5-3 and one game for a sure bowl bid, they don't look like they will miss the mark this year. Arizona is averaging 36 points per game, which is impressive in itself. That's eight points better than their 2007 level of 28 points per game, but even bigger is the difference from 2006, when Arizona only averaged 16 points per game! And while the passing game is still potent, without a doubt it's their ground game that has made the biggest difference. In 2007, they averaged just 76.7 yards per game. This year? Exactly 151 yards per game. And as Paul Wulff pointed out Wednesday night, Arizona has actually logged more rushing attempts than passing attempts in 2008. This is a good, balanced football team that has the ability to gash you on the ground or beat you over the top, and that, my friends, is NOT GOOD for WSU hopes this Saturday.
On the flip side, I wonder what we will look like on offense. Are they going to keep running Lopina out there? Or is it JT's chance for more snaps when this thing gets away from us by the third quarter? I still take issue with the idea that they kept sticking with Lopina in last week's runaway, as JT only played in a limited basis early, then didn't see the field again until it was 58-0 in the 4th quarter. Not that he would have made a huge difference, but, still.....if you are going to burn the redshirt, THEN BURN IT. Roll with the kid and see what happens in a lost year.
There are still four games left on the schedule, a good chance to learn on the fly. Alex Brink took all the snaps in that last part of the 2004 season, so he was able to get a lot of the first-time yips out of his system. But the shirt has been burned, and there is no going back now.
That said, I wonder if Wulff, Sturdy and especially Levenseller are playing this thing exactly right? I mean come on, they know JT better than anyone else. Pops is on the staff for gawd sakes. It's not like he's some unknown quantity from California. They know what they have in JT, and maybe they think it's best to give him small chunks of PT now, filled with soft landings, until he's truly ready to step into the fire? I guess we'll all find out.
Bottom line - Arizona is going to move the ball at will against a WSU team still searching for answers on the defensive line and a young, beleaguered secondary trying to survive. I think the only question to me is if they can keep it under 60. Arizona is coming in off a bye week, so even though they are coming off a tough seven-point loss to USC, they should be rested, healthy and ready to go. They have tried hard to sharpen their focus, even calling a players meeting this week to not let up and blow it against WSU. In other words, I don't think we should expect Arizona to come in flat. And I also don't believe that Stoops will call off the dogs. They will take absolutely nothing for granted, and expect the pedal-to-the-metal for at least three quarters. Get ready for yards and points in bunches, and sadly, a lot more of the same for 2008. I'm going Arizona 62, WSU 6.
USC 45 CAL 14 Major muscle-flexing time for a USC team hitting their stride. A national TV audience and a chance to make an impact on the BCS stage will be too good of an opportunity for USC to open the proverbial can of whoop-ass.
Washington 19, ASU 18. Ugly score for an ugly game. Dennis Erickson has never won in Husky Stadium, and that won't change. UW gets their first win against a fading ASU team doing their best Cal-2007 impression.
Oregon State 34, UCLA 20. No letup now for the Beavs. The Rose Bowl hopes stay alive for the only team in the conference who controls their own destiny.
Oregon 26 Stanford 23. A real grinder as Stanford's power running game keeps Oregon's O off the field. But a late field goal gives Oregon the W.
HAPPY FRIDAY AND GO COUGS!