Tuesday, November 04, 2008

You Know it's Bad When Tuba Man Dies

First of all, HOORAY ELECTION DAY. Get out and do your duty as an American. We don't care who you vote for, but just vote. Speaking of votes, have you noticed the movement in our own little BS election? The Brinkhater-Sedihawk ticket has seen a surge of late, overtaking Sir Grippi and now holding on to a slim lead. Wow. Anyway, you have until 9 PM tonight, so if you haven't yet done so, vote for your favorites.

Now for some sad news. Many a Coug fan who made their way through Pioneer Square or down by Qwest or Safeco will feel a sense of loss when the P-I reports that Seattle icon Tuba Man has passed away.

Tuba Man was always cool to Cougs. I can't tell you how many times we would see him late in the evening, and he was always quick to fire up the WSU fight song on demand. It used to piss off UW fans who would walk by, but we sure loved it. And he knew the obscure songs as well, like Chicken Dance. Just a cool guy.

The worst part of the story is how he died. He was beaten repeatedly and robbed by five teenage thugs while waiting for a bus. Just a brutal, senseless attack on a guy who only loved to do what he did, and didn't bother anyone. They've captured two of the morons who did this, but let's hope they nail the three others as well. RIP Tuba Man. You will be missed.

Not much new in the way of Coug news today. But here's a question that many of us are seeing more and more of as the season progresses. Do YOU think that Coach Wulff has been "throwing his kids under the bus" just a little too much? Many comments I've read on other sites and message boards has some fans pretty upset right now in the way Wulff laments the lack of talent and character on his current team. Many feel that Wulff is blaming the current upper-classmen for how bad they are, as a way to deflect blame from himself and his staff. What do you think?

Some will claim that the job of a head coach is to take the pressure off the players and put it all on himself, something that a hall-of-famer like Mike Holmgren is famous for. You know, be the stand-up guy as the driver of the bus, so to speak, and be the one to take the heat.

But if there is one thing we have seen from Wulff, since the day he took the job? The guy is HONEST, period. There is very little dancing around, very little deception, with how he answers questions. He doesn't hide behind the rhetoric of coach-speak 101. And he hasn't been shy to talk about how surprised he has been, since day one, at the challenge that was waiting for him. Anyone remember how he talked in the spring, that players didn't even know how to properly get into a 3-point stance?? That from the beginning, they have had to literally tear these guys down to their foundation and rebuild them up with fundamentals they sorely lacked? Remember his mid-August rip job in the media about the lack of toughness, when seemingly half the team was sitting out a practice with injuries and standing around on the sidelines, not really into what's going on? How about during the first month of the season, players were still blowing off meals? Or how Mike Graise was just kicked off the team last week for missing practices??

It's just been one thing, after another, after another. I think it's honestly hard to judge right now based on where the program currently resides. So much has gone wrong, since before the season even started. But both Kevin Lopina and Romeo Pellum said after the Stanford game that players don't trust coaches or other teammates, and are simply giving up. Is that Wulff's fault? It was the same thing after the USC game, with Lopina and Andy Mattingly were on the record calling out their teammates who were quitting. He's going to call it like he sees it, and if it hurts some feelings, so be it.

This season is just such a throw-away disaster, and Wulff walked into such a mess, that it's truly not fair to judge him right now. I will continue to bang the 2010 drum (or 2011??) before we know if this is going to work out. But man, does this program need to turn the page to next year or what?? For the benefit of the current players, the seniors, the coaches, the recruits, everyone just needs to get this season in the books and look forward to their future.

That's it. ENJOY YOUR TUESDAY. Remember to vote. As always, GO COUGS!


Stiffmiester said...

reading that link to the missed meals and I didn't realize how little experience we have by the numbers. Three returning senior starters, seven junior letterman. What do have left other than upperclassman that didn't contribute under Dobes and youngsters. If they are bitch because they are being held accountable for thier actions then go away. I spent ten years in the Marine Corps and there was many times I got a good but chewing and mostly I deserved it. By that same token I also took pride in what I did and recieved recognition for a job well done. Is he too hard on his players? Hell no. These are not five year olds that don't know right from wrong. I thought that football players were tough. If there skin is too thin then they should do what coach asks and stay off his radar.

Sedihawk said...

I hear ya Stiffy. The thing about that meals article is that it was written on September 30th. That's a full month into the new season, and players were STILL skipping scholarship meals?? Wulff rails on the players not being big enough or strong enough to deal with the PAC 10, but if the player won't take responsibility, even if the program is shoved down his throat, then what else can a coach do? It's frustrating.

These times will pass. Maybe in a couple of years when things are going well, we will look back to 2008 and say "remember how bad it was?"

kaddy said...

The Spokane Cougar luncheon was held yesterday - it's a monthly thing. Wulff said that their best D-lineman right now is redshirting (Wolfgramm), their best O-lineman is redshirting (Z. Williams - next to K. Alfred), their best RB is sitting out (Montgomery), and their best CB is sitting out (Cal transfer). He also restated that he won't mortgage the future for this year, which is the right thing to do.

We will be better next year - maybe not a winner, but better.

Longball said...

As a frequent observer of fall camp this year I can tell you that this team demonstrated a conspicuous lack of toughness. There were just way, way way too many guys nursing tiny little aches and pains instead of practicing.

Longball said...

Oh and RIP tuba man, I hope your attackers get whats coming to them behind bars. They deserve every bit of it.

That guy really was a Seattle treasure. I remember many an evening walking thru seattle center and being serenaded by tuba man.

Anonymous said...

It's been kinda rough explaining to friends and family back in Tennessee that this is the "anomoly" year, and it isn't normal. Explaining that to SEC-homers is hard enough when they think the Pac10 is just another mid-major anyways.

I've said it all along that this year is the outlier, nothing to get too worked up over. Wait for next year. We have 5-6 solid redshirts that will be playing full time next season. Add to that Wulff's current recruiting class and we are shaping up well for the future.

No wonder Doba left without putting up much of a fight. You think he knew what was to come???

Chris '04
Pullman, WA

Anonymous said...

Doba - did you hear the story about when he met with Sterk and prez after the season? He said he wanted to coach next year so he could get paid. I wish that was a joke. That was the only reason he gave for wanted to stay on. That story was relayed to people at the various football dinners in February. Great guy.

Mr Longballs should create a story about what you saw in camp. I have not heard these things until today.

Keep up the excellent work here. You are the light on the horizon. Alas, I have voted for you, but the Grippi-Blanchette is still winning.

LouisianaCoug said...

I really think you should leave the SEC out of this. I am a huge Coug/Pac-10 supporter, but the SEC is in a class of its own.

That said, as someone who has been hyper-critical of Wulff to this point, I am training myself to adopt the "believe in the future/Wulff game plan" mentality.

Wulff is an honest guy, which is good. But sometimes a manager needs to know when to absorb some of the blame, even if its not his fault. He talks about pride and rebuilding the program which is great, and I am starting to believe it.

That said, Wulff is going to go down in the record books as the coach of the worst Pac-10 team in history (not Doba who had a winning record). So whether Wulff likes it or not, and as unfair as it is, his name is just as attached to this team as every player he has thrown under the bus because they weren't his guys.

Anonymous said...

I simply cannot stop scrolling down to that Jessica Alba video. You guys are gonna get me fired some day.

'03CouveCoug said...

First off, no matter what your viewpoint, here’s hoping that you all got out there and exercised your right as a citizen of this great Nation to vote and help decide the direction of your county, your state and our country.

Second, very sad news about Tuba Man. Just when I think that our society as a whole can’t sink any lower, it manages to.

On to the question of the day: Is Coach Wulff guilty of “throwing is players under the bus?” I’ve got to call horse manure to all of the folks that are saying that he has. These are men (albeit young men) that have accepted a free college education (among other things) in exchange for putting their best effort forward as football players. It’s becoming quite obvious that there are several members of the team that consistently CHOOSE to not live up to their end of the bargain. And that’s just it. They are CHOOSING to not eat right, to not put in the work necessary in the weight room, to not give their best effort on the field, regardless of the situation.

In my mind, that opens them up to criticism from the coaching staff. You can bet that when players are being called out in the media, it’s not the first time they’ve been called out by the coaching staff. No doubt the offending players have been told countless times privately that they are not getting it done and given the list of things they need to do to improve. I’m sure that there have been several team meetings where players are being told that they’re not getting it done and given the list of things they need to do to improve. If you get past those points, I have no problem with Coach Wulff answering honestly when the media poses questions about the player’s efforts.

These players need to own the situation. Granted, Coach Wulff could say that the team as a whole (including the coaching staff) needs to improve a little more often. However, at the end of the day, the coaching staff can only implore the players to do the right thing so many times and in so many ways. At some point, the players have to CHOOSE to do the right things. If they don’t want to do what they’re being told, they should just turn in their gear.

I really feel that Coach Wulff should simply bury any player on the bench that is not buying in to the system and doing what they agreed to do when they accepted their scholarship. To heck with them, play the kids that want to do things the way Coach Wulff asks. What’s another 50+ point loss when you’re at least getting the players who are the future some repetitions?

Just my two cents. Have a good evening all.

Anonymous said...

Agreed about letting the players that want to play--play. Supposedly there is a list of upperclassmen who just dont care anymore. I've heard some specific names, but i won't call them out. The scores from this year should have an asterisk next to it saying that every game is only an exhibition match for the other teams.

Hateful Coug said...

I look at the Wulff situation like he's the captain of his ship. Its a useful analogy in a lot of ways. Unfortunately Wulff stepped on the Titanic when it was about 5 feet from running into an iceberg. However, as the captain of your ship you take responsibility for everything that happens on your ship. He might have the shittiest bunch of sailors that ever sailed the PAC 10, but he still needs to take some responsibility. I'm not saying he should take responisibility for Doba steering us into an iceberg, but he needs to at least make the best of the situation, which he has not done well.

Bottom line is, we will be better (how could we not be?) next year, but this year does not have to be as bad as it has been. Wulff has to take responsibility.