Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can Western WA Transfers Help?


I know that for many, the news that Western Washington was dropping football was met with tremendous disappointment. It's not a great story, in fact some in the know claim they were misled by the administration and are simply taking the quick-n-easy way out of this. Former QB Jason Stiles, a frequent color guy on FSN broadcasts, has helped spearhead a Save Western WA Football movement, including a website that is regularly updated on their cause, and giving people a chance to donate funds in an attempt to save the program. As of today, they have about $1 MILLION dollars pledged by alums and fans of the school, so clearly there is passion - and money - out there for Western.

I certainly hope they make it back. Having another team in-state is a good thing, D-II or whatever else, and to rip it away from Bellingham absolutely stinks. But it is what it is, in these trying economic times. Those in power at Western decided that football is gone, and it's not coming back, at least under their watch. To them, it was either drop football and save the other programs, or, save football and drop everything else.

But in the fallout of the program shutting down, some players have moved on to other schools. And with that, it looks like little ol' WSU could benefit from an all-effort Western defensive end in Casey Hamlett. In the last couple of days, there have been a few articles about Hamlett and his chance to make an impact at the PAC-10 level this season. This one in the Everett Herald, and the Evergreen had this today, about Hamlett and another Western transfer, center Michael Spears. Hamlett is a bit undersized for a D-1 defensive end, listed at 6-2, 239. But the WSU coaches are just fine with that:

"He's been going with the ones and twos (first and second-team units)," co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears said, "and has been doing a really, really good job."

Defensive line coach Malik Roberson echoed Sears' assessment. "He's got some toughness and he's extremely intelligent," Roberson said of the sophomore defensive end, who was on the GNAC All-Academic team last fall. "He's a little undersized, but those other two qualities can make up for that."

Maybe the best part? In the Herald article, Hamlett praised the winter workout program at WSU, calling it "lot more structured and more intense" than what he was used to. And the hard work and intensity of said workouts have paid off. "I feel more explosive, more powerful, more comfortable," he said. "My maxes (in lifting) have all gone up."



Sound familiar? Remember the Cougfan article that praised the bulking up of the players based on all the proper nutrition and hard work in weight room? Where "an eye-popping 33 players have packed on 10 pounds or more. And in some cases, considerably more"? It had been said all of last fall, heck, since last SPRING, that the team had to get bigger, stronger, tougher. How can we not like the news that players are actually taking to the weight programs, eating properly, and putting on the right kind of weight? Anyone that went to a game last year, especially against the likes of Okie State, Cal, Oregon, USC, you saw WITH YOUR OWN EYES that our kids just didn't pass the eye test.
Especially up front, on both sides of the ball, they were simply manhandled. Step one in trying to compete with guys who are bigger and stronger is to, well, get bigger and stronger yourself. Go back and look at the '08 schedule and results, and remember where this thing was last year. Fail to get bigger and stronger, you get 69-0, 58-0, 66-13, 66-3.....we don't need to relive '08 anymore do we? Pretty scary.

A few other things out there today. Cougfan is firing up the masses, one more time, against the UW tax grab. Turns out the senate bill that made it out of committee, SB 6116? The one with Key arena renovation included? Well, UW's effort has piggybacked onto this bill. Just read the article yourself, we can't do it justice in terms of the arguments against a $150 million dollar gift from the taxpayers.

Oh, and die-hard Sonics fans? They HATE WSU's anti-stance on this thing. HATE IT. Some of the comments from frustrated UW'ers are pretty funny though. Give it a read if you want.


I am split - completely - on this. Part of me dreams of a major renovation at Seattle Center, which right now looks worse than Riverfront Park in Spokane. I would love a city center we can be proud of in the northwest, to see the Key expand, and bring back Sonics Reloaded with Steve Ballmer's billions (and he would be the richest owner in all of pro sports btw). But is it worth it if the Huskies get $150 million dollars of King County tax money to create a $300 million dollar fortress on the lake, the most expensive NCAA renovation ever?

The thing I hate about it is this isn't Oregon State or Washington State we're talking about. This is the big, bad, rich, better-than-you Huskies. You know, the ones that constantly go out of their way to remind us of who they are? The ones with all their riches, all their excess, and they are the ones asking for a huge handout? I just hate that. Can't they just figure it out on their own? Oregon did it, Oregon State did it, we are trying to do it. Why piggy-back onto the Seattle Center renovation? They want to blame WSU fans if this fails? Fine. We will blame UW, all the same, for getting into this mess in the first place.

Next, uniforms. Where and when will we see our new Nike versions of WSU? After all, UW has done a redesign themselves, and they will unveil them this Saturday at their spring game. It would be cool if we got a surprise at our spring game, but it sounds like it might be a little later before we see them (early May perhaps?).

Finally, don't look for an Apple Cup announcement just yet. Both sides have gone into quiet mode as things get finalized. I would look to next week, at least, before an announcement is made. After all, the state legislature wraps things up this weekend. The budget cuts will be done by then, so the reasons for doing this will be crystal clear by the time the dust has settled.

That's it for today. ENJOY YOUR HUMPDAY, and GO COUGS!

13 comments:

'03CouveCoug said...

Ballmer's got more money than Paul Allen? Really?

Sedihawk said...

He actually was right there with Allen, Couve. Really. And if you added in Matt Griffin's billion-dollar net worth, Ballmer's group would have been slightly ahead of Allen.

Today, it might still be the case. If you believe Wikipedia that is. Ballmer's net worth, as of 2009 (and in today's economy) is listed at 11 billion. Allen's? 10.5 billion.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Ballmer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Allen

It's been tough lately, even on the BILLIONAIRES!

Sedihawk said...

And I meant to say John Stanton's billion-dollar net worth, not Matt Griffin. Griffin is in the ownership mix and is kind of the spokesman for them, but Stanton is the other billionaire in the mix.

ATLCoug said...

Dang. I just wish the UW part was not riding on the Seattle Center bill. It is a lose/lose for Sonic/Coug fans! But very smart of those Huskies. Rich get Richer I guess.

'03CouveCoug said...

Holy Smokes! I knew that Allen had made some bad investments (especially living in Vancouver, I get to hear all about Allen and the Blazers), but I didn't realize that his net worth had dropped that much in the last 5 years! I guess that I don't feel too bad for him, though. Ten and a half BILLION in assets is more than anyone could possibly spend in several lifetimes, I suspect.

It is too bad that the renovation of the SC could end up being tied to the mutt’s palace. Much like the Apple Cup issue, I'm resigned to giving in to a small evil in order to benefit the greater good. Just like 10 mil. over 6 years will have extreme benefit to the WSU Athletic Dept., a revitalized Seattle Center and potential anchor tenant for Key Arena is too big of a benefit for Seattle, King Co. and the State of Washington to pass up...even if it means the most lavish college stadium in the country for the mutts.

Look at it this way, if we ever get the chance to play the Apple Cup in home stadiums again, it'll be all that much sweeter to kick the purple hooches in their tax-subsidized castle!

kaddy said...

Anyone else nervous about a player from Western coming over and playing with the ones(!) and twos?

I love these underdog stories, but wow...

kaddy said...

OSU has got money problems, just like the Cougs - see this article.

Makes the Qwest deal look even more like a necessity.

http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindbeaversbeat/2009/04/de_carolis_ad_report_is_blunt.html

Sedihawk said...

You know Couve, it is staggering considering he was worth close to $20 BILLION a few years ago. A good read was done by the guys who run Blazer's edge on Allen's money "issues"...

http://www.blazersedge.com/2009/2/24/768932/paul-allen-s-money-trouble

He's taken a multi-billion dollar BATH!

Atl, no doubt man. It is wise for them to try and jump on, because they know alone they go down in flames. The biggest carrot is not only a renovation of Seattle center, but it's also the $30 million more dollars Clay Bennett has to pay if the NBA isn't here by 2013. It's like the city can't lose, either way.

And Kaddy, don't worry about the kid running with the 1's and 2's. It's April. I would worry a lot more about it in late August-early September!

'03CouveCoug said...

Sedi:
I am a frequent reader of Blazers Edge (side note: I'm disgusted with myself as a life-long Sonics fan to be cheering for the Blazers this season…my excuse is that I now live in Vancouver and I married a life-long Blazer fan). I happened to read that article awhile back and was flabbergasted that Allen has made such poor investments over the years. The pending bankruptcy of his cable conglomerate could knock him down another peg or two, as well. Almost unimaginable that even though he's squandered nearly half his fortune, he still has $10.5 billion...with a B.

Kaddy:
Agree with Sedi, it is only April. However, to play devil's advocate with that sentiment...just because the guy was with Western and probably wasn't much coming out of high school doesn't mean he hasn't blossomed into a hell of an athlete in the last two years. How many times have we Cougs seen a lightly regarded athlete suddenly morph into a freak in two short years with some maturity and some work in the weight room? Marcus Trufant and Will Derting immediately come to mind. With a strong work ethic and a "great motor" maybe this kid can be someone!

kaddy said...

See Sterk's chat today - if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, I don't know what will. I personally didn't know that the Pac-10 voted in the 60's whether or not to kick WSU out...if we don't bring in more money, that could seriously be discussed in the future. Qwest all the way, baby! (for 6 years, anyway)

'03CouveCoug said...

Kaddy:

Just saw that, too. Yikes. We can't let it get to a vote because I suspect that several teams in the Pac-10 would vote us out in a heartbeat just to rid themselves of the travel and the small TV market.

We'd better start donating, or the Pac-10 will say bye-bye WSU, hello Utah!

Sedihawk said...

Man, that's THE biggest reason we have to at least finish off phase III. But we were told by the conference several years ago to get that renovation done, or else we could be in some major trouble. And, at the time (this is like 5 or 6 years ago?), USC AND UCLA would have voted us out on the spot if a vote would have been taken. At least that was what I heard.....

When your annual budget is $14 million behind just the #9 team in the conference? And you can't get a remodel completed to bring in extra revenue for you, plus others in the conference? Seems like our spot in the conference is far from safe.

Anonymous said...

I posed a question to a friend of mine who works on the hill in Olympia and they stated that getting the Muttlake bill passed in the House will be difficult if not impossible. Hopefully that gives everyone a glimmer of hope!