Well, so much for our little “Cougs of the Decade – Defense” poll.  Have ya seen the results?

Mkristo Bruce – 2176 votes, 65.1%
Rien Long – 615 votes, 18.4%
Marcus Trufant – 198 votes, 5.9%
Will Derting – 184 votes, 5.5%
D.D. Acholonu – 168 votes, 5%

Number of Voters:  3341
First Vote:  Monday, 14 December 2009 10:26
Last Vote:  Tuesday, 22 December 2009 09:07

Seriously, 3341 votes?  And 2176 of ‘em for MKB?  We loved MKB, he’s deservedly one of the top defensive players of the decade…..but I think it’s clear we’ve been SABOTAGED!  Or is it sabo-TAAAAGE, per William Shatner?

Did anyone know William Shatner simply cannot or will not pronounce the word Sabotage correctly?  Even J.J. Abrams made fun of this fact in the Star Trek franchise reboot last summer, where the first scene you see young James T. Kirk, the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage is blaring on the car stereo. 

Anywho, yes, turns out we had at least three, maybe four people out there with different IP addresses who made it their mission to elect MKB as the best defensive Coug of the decade.  But what can you do?  I mean it’s my fault, really.  I was the one who set the poll up without setting a limit at the number of times you can vote.  Who knew the MKB army would storm the gates like that?  So I’m sorry Coug Nation, but I blew it.  I’ll take the heat. 

That said, do YOU want another poll?  This time with a one-vote, one-vote-only style poll?  If you do, cool, and we’ll put it up again tomorrow.  If not, we roll forward with whatever.  Let’s hear it.

Moving on, there was a rumor on Cougfan’s message board that ASU coach Dennis Erickson was spotted in the Spokane airport yesterday.  Of course, Coug paranoia sets in, immediately thinking he’s out there trying to poach WSU commits from Spokane like Connor Halliday, Aaron Dunn, or Jake Rodgers. 

Honestly, it’s a natural assumption.  There is already talk that ASU has been trying to sway a couple of other WSU verbals, including super-high riser Asante Cleveland from California.  But there are a few things wrong with the belief that Erickson was out to do some face time with WSU verbals.  First, it’s technically a dead period right about now, meaning coaches can’t go face-to-face with recruits.  Maybe he can pull the Neuheisel deal and talk to a recruit on the phone while waving to him through a window, who knows.  But it’s doubtful. Second, Erickson has NW ties, we all know that.  And he’s got a place in Coeur D’ Alene.  With the holidays this week, who knows, maybe he was headed out there for some down time?  Finally, there is also talk that Erickson wasn’t even there, and that he was actually still in Tempe interviewing offensive coordinator candidates!  Our favorite scribe Teddy Miller did a Q&A with him just yesterday.  So who knows, but it seems like a stretch to us. 

Speaking of Asante Cleveland, this Youtube video has been making the rounds:

Impressive, to say the least.  Already a load at 6-5, 235, but athletic enough to split out in the slot and become that matchup nightmare for any safety who tries to go one-on-one with him.  He looks like a pretty physical blocker as well.  You can understand the interest in him from Miami, who has been trying to get him out for a visit.  Cleveland already turned them down once, saying “I’m a Coug” per that Cougfan article.  But the very latest says it doesn’t appear that Miami is going to give up just yet.  The battle might just be getting underway for big CLEVE! 

Doing the math, you start to think about the tight ends they are projected to sign this February, with Dunn, Rodgers and now Cleveland?  It’s pretty remarkable, and likely the top TE “bunch” in WSU recruiting history.  However, there’s always the chance of position changes, and Cougfan has speculated that Rodgers could end up as a prototype offensive tackle.  I love that approach though – just getting the best student athletes you can, get them to signing day, and then on campus this summer, and we’ll see how it all shakes out!  This is shaping up to be one heck of a class, and you start to understand what coach Wulff has been saying since early in the fall.  They believe that this will be one of the best classes to ever come through Pullman.

Finally, so much for that FINAL COUNTDOWN on Phase III.  If you haven’t seen it, Jim Sterk did one of those AD forums, and basically said that things are looking good, but no decision will be made until January on the construction of Phase III: 

In order to encourage early purchases and provide incentive to those who commit early, we set a Dec. 18 deadline for premium seating commitments, but I want to emphasize that our staff is continuing to work on premium seating sales. This deadline date does not mark an end in the process but rather one more step in making Phase III reality.

Further in the post, Sterk said this:

Additionally, I want to stress that a decision on the start date for construction will not be made until early next year. We will not only take into account premium seating sales and commitments to date, but also donations and pledges made to the project in determining when we will begin construction.

At the time I post this message, we have nearly sold out of the suites and we are overcommitted for loge seating. We are very pleased and grateful for the high-level of interest thus far to the project and commitments made to suite and loge seating. We are still entertaining interest for suite and loge seating, as a philanthropic commitment to the project of $500,000 for a suite and $100,000 for a loge box will guarantee those seats; however, club seats are still available and it is vital that we sell these seats as well. A deposit of $300 will reserve a seat in the club area.

Did you get all that?  I don’t know if we were misinformed or misunderstood (both?), but all along our belief has been 12/18 was/is DO OR DIE.  Guess that wasn’t exactly the case.  But whatever, I mean it does sound positive, yet there is some ground to cover.  Still time to make this a reality before the board meets next month!

All for now.  Enjoy your day, and GO COUGS!