Tuesday, March 31, 2009

His Failure


Greetings Cougar Nation. Hope you all are STILL hanging in there.

As you all have read by now, today Sterk came flat out and said we'll have a coach in tow in the next couple of days. So hang tight.

In the meantime, before we get a first hand update on Spring Drills from Sedi and Longball over the next couple of days, a quick post-mordem on T-Bone.

First and foremost, please know that I feel the collective pain of the Nation. I really do.

At the same time, I think its high time that we EASE off the "Kill Tony" comments and reflect seriously on what his departure signifies.

With that in mind, I think that it is important that you all believe, as I do, that all things being equal, Tony Bennett would have liked to stay at WSU. I really believe that.

But, in the end, I think he left because he didn't think he got the job done here, and because of that, I think this move was his way of rescuing his future as he envisions it.

And while I DO think that jettisoning his previous promises and commitments technically makes him a quitter, I doubt that many of you would shy away from a 1.7 mill a year "do over" if you were afraid you were losing your grip on your current job.

The reason for my suspicion that he left here "in failure" can be traced directly to his decision to NOT take his assistants (less Sanchez) with him. And with that, you can read between the lines: Guys that can judge talent and bring home the bacon get rewarded with the highest quality of salary left-overs. Those who can't, get shown the door.

The reality is that, despite bringing in two All-Staters from Oregon recently, Lodwick didn't look like he could guard a tree all year long. Meanwhile, Harthun gets caught doing his doobies impression, looks uncomfortable as a distributor, and has a J that doesn't look right despite all of his gusto in jacking it whenever able. And Fabian Boeke-Boeke-Goose and Charlie Boy look more Brian Payne than Blue Chip to put it mildly. Last I checked, that's four spots filled for the next 2-3 years on guys who can't and won't play.

In short, what we have is a TON of filled scholies without depth in the front court and without room to build depth in the backcourt at the same time that names like Few and Petino may be coming soon to a Pac-10 school near you.

And, for a guy that has sight on bright lights and the big city both for himself AND the program, that's a recipe for potential hardship if your future goals are an NBA job or a Duke type job in three to five years.

So, in essence, what we have is a guy that ran like hell from his own failure to develop the type of depth you need to be competitive year in and year out. You see it in the broken promises and platititudes, and you also see it as he runs from his loyal assistants whom he failed to properly evaluate, monitor, support, and mentor along the way.

It's really that simple.

Tony is a good guy, Nation, even if he is a flawed good guy (I can only say I'm flawed). He just didn't feel that he could accomplish what he wanted to here, and I think quietly, he would blame himself (and his assistants) for that limitation.

Now, he has a tough, tough road to climb in a tough, tough league where Dad won't be there to help him with the initial HUGE push.

As for us, the mountain is steep, but the summitt portends to be breathtaking.

So, stay on the up and up: Stay away from the negative, and lets see if we can build this thing moving forward.

And remember: Tony was leaving in three years anyway.

Now we get to see if this NEXT group of fellas can be the ones to send us on a Gonzaga like trajectory.

Go Cougs.



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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bone and the Benefactor

Greetings, Cougar Nation. Hope you all are hanging in there.

Well, this whole development is nothing short of bizarre.

First, Tony leaves. Then, we decide to NOT interview any of his assistants. And then Tony decides to not take ANY of his assistants with him.

Talk about 'servanthood'.



Sheesh.


Then, Sterk makes the statement in his press conference tonight that the search is going to be "short and sweet" or some such. And you know what that means?

Its time for the REAL bone to step forward.



Yep, out with the T-Bone, and in with the Ken Bone.



Bone will bring one heck of a W-L track record with him along with solid ties both with Sterk as well as the NW. And you know what would put the icing on the Cake?

Bring back Ben Johnson and Sanchez.

The success of this program will depend on whether or not we keep that Pac defense. With Johnson, you've got a guy that played in the Bennett system and coached it for a decade. On top of that, you have the guy with ALL of the recruiting connections we've established over the years.

So, Bone and the Benefactor + Sanchez + Bone's top assistant at PSU.

You keep all of our recruits, including Thames and the Australian kid (who will both be GREAT) as well as Capers, Thompson, and Casto.

We'll suck next year, but be dynamite in two years. And then we'll see if Bone can recruit.

Its a slam dunk. Hire bone under the condition that he keep those two assistants and we'll forget this day in no time.


Go Cougs.
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Breaking News: T-Bone Burns Cougs

T-Bone goes Cavalier today and bolts WSU for the trevails of the ACC. Ya, that makes sense.

So, what are your thoughts?

And who is the replacement?

Mark Few? Ben Johnson? Chubby Checker?

Let us know your thoughts.

And here's mine: STUPID move.

But its still a HUGE loss for us.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Photo Contest - Vote Now!


Greetings, fellow Cougies.

I've emerged from my winter slumber to find a fresh layer of snow on the ground, here in Spokane. At this rate, I won't start losing my thick winter coat of back hair until June. We don't dye our kids' Easter eggs anymore, we just scatter hard-boiled eggs around the shady spots in the yard that still have snow. This is not what I signed up for when I moved here from beautiful Renton, WA...

The deadline for season ticket renewals was Friday. Raise your hand if you didn't renew. I myself, did not. Now, I'm not throwing in the towel or anything - I'll still be there when I'm able. I just don't want to pay for five games and only be able to go to three, as the case has been the last two years with Mini McBoob playing Pop Warner. I'm not going to miss the Family Section and I'm pretty sure the Family Section won't miss me.

Unfortunately, this means one of the prizes we planned on giving away for our little photo contest (4 tickets to a 2009 game) is no longer available, so we'll have to find a substitute.

Speaking of the contest, thank you to those of you who submitted photos (and shame on you to those that did not!). While the number of submissions was not overwhelming, it was a fun way to get you guys more involved with the blog. We'll keep the photo gallery alive on the site so if you ever feel like contributing, please e-mail us at wsufootballblog@yahoo.com.

Now, some of the photos in the gallery belong to Hawk and I and we're not eligible to win. If we were, I think I would have won with this one:


I took this one from the sideline before the USC game in 2006. Ah, Pirate Girl. And yes, referee-guy, I'm staring at your girlfriend's boobs...

There were several good submissions and it was actually quite difficult to pick the finalists. Before I get to those, here's our runners-up...

This one just barely missed the cut. It's WSUFootballBlog frequent flyer and ZZU CRU founder, Michelle, with Coach Dreamy. NOTE - PER SPECIAL REQUEST, THIS PHOTO HAS BEEN REMOVED!

From pretty, to ugly. This guy lost points for drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade. If that were a Schmidt's tallboy, I'd have voted you on to the finals.


I just thought this one was pretty cool. It's taken from far enough away that you can't tell that this is the new Butch who just got back from the eye doctor and his pupils are still fully-dilated.



I've seen this picture way too many times to believe that the guy who submitted it is the actual photographer - but it's always good for a laugh. The only thing more embarrassing that a grown man wearing purple, is a grown man pissing in his pants while wearing purple.



...and now, the Finalists! The winner will be decided by YOUR votes, Loyal Readers - so please make your voice heard!

The best photo will be part of a new blog header we will unveil before the '09 season gets started. Actually a few of your photos might make it in, but the winner will for sure be a part of it.

But that's not all - the winner will receive first choice from Uncle Hooty's prize bag:

* Mark Rypien autographed football
* 2003 Holiday Bowl DVD featuring the ESPN, WSU and Texas radio broadcasts
* Marcus Trufant Autographed Rookie Card
* Mark Fields Autographed Rookie Card
* One pitcher of beer at your Pullman bar of choice - as long as it's The Sports Page or The Coug - with the WSUfootballblog gang (Here's a tip: I get very generous when I drink, so one pitcher will likely wind up being eight...).

So, first place gets their pick of one of those five prizes. 2nd place gets their pick of what's left, and so on. 5th place gets stuck with whatever is left.

And now....in no particular order.....here are your 2009 WSUfootballblog Photo Contest Finalists:



"udub Asskick"

These two Cougs swallowed their pride and donned purple and gold on Halloween, looking like two huskies after Stiffmeister and I met them in a dark alley.



"Bone the Dogs"

I haven't seen one of these shirts in a long time. Seeing two of them next to each other on the field after an Apple Cup victory is more of a rare occurrence than a Tyrone Willingham smile.



"Devard Daaauugggghhhhrling"

The beauty of this pic is not the three studs in the foreground; it's Devard Darling puking into a garbage can on the sideline right below them. Awesome.



"Mama Sledge"

Gotta love this one of rising Cougar Head-Knocker Mike Ledgerwood and his proud Mama after the Apple Cup victory. If nothing else, "Mama Sledge" wins the award for coolest nickname for a Mom.

"????"

This pic is of blog regular Stiffmeister and his crew, prior to the Apple Cup. I'm not exactly sure what the guy in front is doing but it looks to me like like he's sufficiently liquored-up to enjoy the game. Good for you!



"Li'l Cougs"

Couldn't resist the "Cute Factor" so we wind up with SIX finalists and only five prizes. These little Cougs are cute - but will they be losers? You decide.



There you have it. Voting will be open on the poll in the right-hand column of the blog from now through the end of April (April 30th to be exact).

Thanks again for all the submissions!

GO COUGS!
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

WSU Football Blog Updates


Nice, epic FAIL by those Zags? And what is a Zag exactly? Oh well. I have to agree with BH's assessment after the game, that they were soft, soft, soft. And as Nuss pointed out after watching them in Portland last week, they looked undisciplined with the basketball, as well as lacking a commitment to the defensive end. It all spelled blowout city.

Here's a question for Coug fans - did YOU find yourself rooting for Gonzaga? Or are they too much of a rival now that you root against them? And I wonder what this does to Mark Few's star? You never overreact to one game when analyzing a coach, and it is admirable with their run of NCAA appearances. But was last night an example of 1) Few's got some weaknesses, big-time, or 2) Gonzaga is a nice, competitive program who is the king of the mid-major, yet will never become the powerhouse they aspire to be?

Few's been bandied about quite a bit for the Oregon job, but of course, that job has to actually come open. We'll see.

So, we made some changes around here. First of all, you may notice the new web address. No longer limited to "blogspot.com", the new address is officially "wsufootballblog.com". Things are transitioning over this weekend, so you may see some weirdness over the next couple of days. In the meantime the regular address should work just fine.

For the new address, you can type in www.wsufootballblog.com, you can type just http://wsufootballblog.com, it doesn't really matter. You can even use the old-school wsufootball.blogspot.com, and still get here. That old blogspot.com address will always work. You will just get redirected to the new URL. But you might want to update your bookmarks or favorites or whatever.

We also cleaned up our news feed a bit. It was a little clunky and some unrelated stories were showing up, so we ditched it. Instead, we now have a WSU widget to the immediate top-right of the site. Click on the "menu" button, and you will see all the RSS feeds that are available from around the 'net. Click on the arrow buttons at the top of the widget to see the different news sections. It's cleaner and more precise to get all your WSU news. We will be adding other RSS feeds going forward, but it's entirely up to you which news feeds you want to see.

Finally, the photo contest. Yes, it's over as far as submitting photos. We will have a post shortly to show off the final five choices, and YOU will get to vote on the finalists. Should be fun?

That's it for a quick post today. Enjoy your weekend, and as always, GO COUGS!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Comments and Stuff



Happy Friday to you all. So nice to have football back isn't it? At least for a little while anyway.

I thought the picture was appropriate, based on the idea of how far the team has to go to compete up front. There is no question the offensive and defensive lines were rag-dolled most of last year, and the reasons were many - lack of size, lack of strength, too young, etc. But it does at least sound like we're seeing progress there, such as the article the other day where they ran down the new weights of several players.

And on that note, there were some great comments you have left over the last few days, and we thought it would be a good idea to highlight a few of them.

'03CouveCoug had some good thoughts on what ails the program, and what to do about it:

Alright Sedi, you asked what’s broke, and how do we fix it…so here goes. What’s broke is simple…both lines.

Until the Cougs can send out Pac-10 caliber lines, they will not win many games. It all starts up front on both sides of the ball. We need DT’s that:
1. Clog the middle and allow the linebackers to make plays when offenses run and
2. To occupy as many opposing OL’s as possible on passing plays so that the DEs and/or blitzers can tee off on the opposing QB. Remember Long, Tupai, and Williams? Or Sasa and Eaton? THAT’S why those defenses were so good!

We need DEs that:
1. Can not only pin their ears back and rush the backfield on passing downs
2. That have the strength and quickness to turn running plays back inside toward their friends. Does DD Acholonu have younger brothers or cousins?

The only way to fix this is to continue to recruit “big frame” guys with good feet that we can put weight on to become DTs and to recruit “strong motor” linebacker types that also have the frames to put on weight in order to make them ferocious DEs.

Do we already have guys like this on the team? I believe the answer is yes, we fans just need to give them time to develop. I also believe that it is slightly easier to make quick improvement on defense because playing D does not require as much precision and execution as offense and can be played with more instinct and emotion.

On the offensive line, we need more “big frame” guys that have great footwork, good agility and great smarts. Not to say that every player doesn’t need smarts, but it is my opinion that besides the QB, the o-linemen need to be the smartest guys on the field. I really think that these types of o-linemen are already on the roster. I think health and cohesion will promote a vast improvement amongst this group this year (fingers and toes crossed). Let’s just keep recruiting the TE type out of high school and make them big boys!

I think a great example of this is down the way in Corvallis. The Beavs have developed a very good program because they have the ability to throw out waves of good, if not great lineman on both sides of the ball, which they have the ability to do because of great coaching and redshirting. If we develop our lines like OSU (easier said than done) over the coming years our beloved Cougs will perennially be a team to be reckoned with.

Well said. I think we are on the same page here? I know we've been trumpeting what Oregon State has become for some time, and they are the perfect model for WSU to follow....


Except the part about CHOKING the Rose Bowl bid at home against your hated rival! OUCH. Moving on...


CalebCherry dropped in to say that WSU's future approach should be to focus a lot more on defense, ala the hoops program:

For us out here, I think if we are going to have one side of the ball dominate heads and shoulders above the other... especially in our conference, we stand a far better chance of getting to a bowl game with an offense that puts just enough points on the board and a defense that is our foundation and what keeps us competitive and turns peoples heads.

It seems like the most effective use of our time given we're still a couple years into an completely new offensive philosophy.

There shouldn't be any reason we can't supply some demand for local (even west coast) guys who only have USC (and maybe oregon?) to look to when they dream about playing some pin-your-ears-back defense.

The best way I can say it is... I'd love to have the same feeling I get when cougar basketball plays ANYONE! I know it's not out of the question that our defense will keep us in the game with literally... anyone.


Good takes. I remember Wulff saying on one of last fall's radio shows about how he learned from Mike Price the approach of stocking up on speed and athleticism on defense, and how important that was to our past successes.


It's easy to look at Price's best teams and see how even with some very productive offenses, the D was a huge factor ('92, '94', '97, '01', '02).

Chris'04 weighed in, saying the pound increase on these guys sounds good, but "FAT" isn't always a good thing....

This is GREAT news! I'm glad to see that Wulff has delivered on his promise to bulk up our guys. But, bulk does not always equal performance. Keep in mind that the Fuskies had the heaviest OLine in the Pac10 last year. Look where that got them. But I trust Wulff 100% that he is not adding bulk at the expense of strength and quickness.


Good point Chris. UW boasted about their large line, but yeah, didn't really do much for them. Funny how much hype UW's o-line had coming into 2008, but when they lost the scrambling Locker, suddenly they couldn't move or pass block worth a damn? Coincidence??

"BMels", a newcomer to comments I believe(?), had his thoughts and parallels with the WSU hoops program when the Bennett's started their program flip:

When considering the future of our Cougs, I must think back to the ways of the Bennett crew taking charge at Beasley. First years were atrocious, awful, ugly, painful, disgusting...you get the idea. And for the most part, that continued even when Tony took over and "the big three" (Weaver, Low, Cowgill) were frosh. Their sophomore year, they continued to lose but all games were close, often coming down to the last couple minutes or plays. And the next year, well, I don't need to tell anybody about our first trip to the Dance in recent memory. I honestly foresee the football team following suit and taking steps in the right direction.

No predictions but i see more competitive losses next year where we actually look like a football team with football players making football plays. We continue to grow and build, guys get bigger/faster/stronger, and team character builds. I think 2010 shows serious progress reflected in wins and losses but 2011 is the year where this year's incoming freshman have the chance to make some noise.

And there is no way Wulff has anything to worry about even potentially until after 2010 at the earliest. He's gonna get more than a fair chance to right the ship.


I know I have heard this comp a few times, as a lot of you have as well. While hoops and football are very different and, honestly, it at least appears that it is a little easier to change things in hoops more quickly than football, it is fair to compare both programs at this juncture to see if they follow the same path. Although Dick Bennett did coach at WSU for three losing seasons, and it wasn't until Tony took over in year four before they broke through to the NCAA's, well, we COULD see the improvement this year on the football field in terms of things are tightened up and the foundations are laid for future success. But I think it is difficult to compare the different sports and draw too much of a conclusion. Time will tell.

Finally, our own Hooty had this to say about the sour-face Governor during UW's loss to Purdue:

If Gregoire were green, she'd look exactly like the Grinch.




Good call.

There are some links and stuff out there as well, floating about after day one.

GRIPPI NAILS ONE TODAY with his day-one practice recap. GREAT to hear Lobbestael throwing TD's in seven-on-seven drills!

The TNT's Ryan Divish dives into the improvement expected for this spring.

And Cougfan has been blowing up the coverage. It's all premium stuff, but they are all over it.

ENJOY YOUR FRIDAY, and as always, GO COUGS!



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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Practice Questions, WSU Football Blog Style

So with spring ball upon us as of today, the optimism is there. Some great comments out of all of you the last few days, so the enthusiasm for football is still alive. They just couldn't kill it after 2-11! Now it's not overflowing with talk of "we're going to open multiple cans of whoop ass", but still, there does seem to be a good feel that things are about to get better.

Paul Wulff intimated as much yesterday in the WSU chat
. While he didn't roll out the pom-poms and lead everyone in the fight song, you could tell in his own, understated tone that he likes the direction. He really went into great detail about his feelings on these here "internets" and such:

Allen (Covington): Coach- in your opinion do Internet recruiting services help or hinder your recruiting process as a coach? There's quite the debate online and offline (see Meat Market by Feldman).
Paul Wulff: They do both.


Well OK then.

Due to the lengthy responses from coach Wulff, I'd like to warn our affiliates we'll be going over...
To repeat, warning our affiliates, we WILL BE GOING OVER our allotted time....

But back on topic, there are questions. MANY questions for this team, and what's to come. Not to TOTALLY RIP OFF Vince Grippi from yesterday....by the way, Vince, "JC Levenseller"? We love you, and you won that phony election last year...but come on man.

Anyway, here are three super-terrific questions that we thought were relevant to what needs to be addressed, cleaned up, fixed, blown up, whatever....


1) WHO IS GOING TO THROW IT??



We WANT to be thrilled with Marshall Lobbestael's potential. Seriously thrilled. And let's face it, the kid did show some major moxie in his limited time last year. Oh, he didn't go out and lead a titanic upset or anything. He had a few shining moments against Oregon, but how excited can you get over a 63-14 loss?

But in looking at Lobbestael, you almost have to just throw out the win/loss type stuff and realize all that was working against him last season. Such as a patchwork offensive line that had a different starting lineup throughout the first seven games, an ineffective running game, and an offense in general that lead the solar system in giveaways. Combine that with a massive malaise that overtook this team the first half or so games of 2008 with the flip-that-culture program running into some, uh, resistance, it is now pretty apparent that he simply wasn't going to succeed. But to Marshall's credit, he came in under said circumstances and held his own, leading the team in passer rating (103.7) and TD passes (4) in five games.

Wow, think about that for a second. A redshirt frosh QB played in just five games, and LED the team in TD passes with FOUR?? Who the?? WHAT THE?? Ryan Leaf used to have that many in one game, heck, one HALF. Mike Price is rolling over in his palatial El Paso estate (I didn't say rolling over in his grave because coach Price isn't actually dead....it's just his career that has flat-lined). But those team-leading four TD passes is a real eye-opener isn't it?

The biggest worry about Marshall is that knee.


I mean the kid did just blow that thing out on October 11th of last fall. It might feel like a long, long time ago, but that's less than six months from right now. We hear that he's made a ton of progress, enough so that he'll actually participate in seven-on-seven skeleton drills this spring. Encouraging? Absolutely. But will he REALLY be ready for game action this fall? Not only do we have to hope for a full recovery in his knee, but will this injury rob him of his ability to move effectively? He's not a Jeshua Anderson-type sprinter, but the kid could move pre-blown knee. Will he be able to do so post-injury? And how long will it take him to not only survive, but actually thrive on that knee? Mentally will he build up his confidence? I don't know what you think, but he can wear the yellow no-contact jersey all fall camp and look great doing it. We aren't really going to know until the season opener vs. Stanford. And we can be assured that the Cardinal D isn't going to take it easy on him either. He will get hit, hard, for the first time in a long time. We just won't know until that moment if he is all the way back.

So if Marshall just isn't ready, what are the other options? JT Levenseller showed some spunk. But he has thrown just 34 passes in very limited time. He was tied with Kevin Lopina for 3rd on the team in TD passes. Of course, that number is ZERO. Young Levy has good feet, and from the looks of it, his arm passes the eye test. His skill-set appears to be a good match in the Todd Sturdy offense.

I know I'm excited as can be about this kid's upside and reported intangibles from all who have been around him. But again, a bushel full of questions with him.

Finally, Kevin Lopina. What can we say? He evolved into a leader in the locker room, calling out the quitters and bad apples when things were falling down around him. For that, he gets points. And that throw to Jared Karstetter was enormous, a throw that will go down in AC history as one of the biggest plays in the series, pro-WSU style. And he is tough as can be, coming back off a fracture in his back to give it everything he had. But all that said, is it enough? How can we ignore his zero TD/11 INT ratio? Is that a starting QB in the PAC-10? You hate to be harsh on the kid, as he gave every ounce of sweat he had for this program last year. But I think many can agree that we might be best served if Lopina is the backup.

One nugget from the Paul Wulff chat yesterday is that the door is NOT closed on Lopina starting.

David California: On a recent radio show you stated there would be only one senior starting on offense in 2009. Would it be safe to assume that person is Kenny Alfred?

Paul Wulff: At the time, what I meant was there could be only up to one senior starting, the only proven senior being Kenny Alfred. But obviously, Tony Thompson has a clear shot at starting, as well as Kevin Lopina and Dwight Tardy.


Oh.

2) WHO'S GOING TO CATCH IT?

Gone is Brandon Gibson, who led the team in catches (57), yards(673) and TD's (2). All numbers down across the board when you look back at how productive a player Gibson was in his career, but given the overall state of the offense, not too shabby either. Jeshua Anderson is back, second in catches (33) and yards (305), but yeah, there's this whole track thing to think about. Hard to know exactly what he'll be able to do by this fall after missing another spring practice session this year. Can't exactly fault the kid either, I mean he's clearly special in track and field, Olympics-type special. But there is also no doubt that he's missing some valuable practice time to mesh with the updated offense, potential new QB's, etc. It is what it is.

But the youngsters, while they didn't pop with blazing numbers last year, are intriguing. Kevin Norrell played a lot as a true frosh, and while not a big physical presence, he did show some upside averaging 11.3 yards per catch. He'll get a huge chance to shine this spring/next season. Daniel Blackledge was a little beat up last year but he too showed something, and has drawn some recent praise from Wulff. And Jared Karstetter was pretty overwhelmed as being force fed into the lineup as a true frosh last year, but there are some things to be excited about with him. Like, oh, I don't know, a certain 48-yard catch in a certain game last year?


Most of all, these youngsters all got their first season out of the way. If anything, they've learned what it is like to line up across an all-conference talent like USC, Oregon or Cal rolls out every week. They shouldn't be as overwhelmed by the moment this year. But boy, they will need to step up and be ready, asap. Plenty of opportunities available!

3) WHO WILL LEAD THE DEFENSE?

Gone is the "triangle" of Greg Trent at middle linebacker, A'i Ahmu at defensive tackle, and Matt Mullennix and his 1.5 knees held together with scotch tape at defensive end. All three gave what they had, each and every week, to help shore up a porous D that gave up tons of yards per game(443+) and points per game (43.8). While the world crumbled around them, they did what they could to try and hold things together.


So who shall lead them? My money is on Louis Bland, Xavier Hicks and Andy Mattingly. Bland, of course, burst onto the scene as an undersized true frosh who slid to outside linebacker. Next thing you know, he's all-frosh with 55 tackles, nine for loss, including a couple of sacks, an INT return for a TD, and some huge knocks in the Apple Cup victory. But Bland has exuded "special" since he set foot in Pullman, and there was already talk LAST YEAR about Bland possibly being a team captain!



Xavier Hicks meanwhile has really turned it around. A big hitter with some meathead moves off the field, he appears to have taken well to the leadership of Coach Wulff. Even missing the first three games of last season didn't keep him from finishing second on the team in tackles (78) and tied for the team lead in interceptions (2). Hicks might be the best all-conference candidate of the entire defense, and the timing might be right for a huge senior year.

Finally, Mattingly. A huge 2007 season as a breakout force at linebacker with the well-documented tackles (91) and sacks (8), 2008 was a lost year. Mattingly's move to defensive end resulted in almost HALF the tackles from 2007 (44) and his sacks were trimmed from eight to just one in '08. The good news is it appears they have seen the light, and Mattingly actually moved back to strong-side linebacker the last couple of games in 2008, and sure enough, the move is now permanent with the release of this spring's depth chart. Very nice.

So that's it. The three biggest questions (with possible answers?) to this team. There are many more, of course, ones that we didn't even scratch the surface on. What do YOU think are the biggest questions facing this team? And what answers might you have to fix what's BROKE?!?

That's it for a Thursday. ENJOY YOUR DAY, and GO COUGS!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nobody Likes a Skinny Santa

"Eat Papa, eat. Nobody likes a skinny Santa."
- Mrs. Claus, 1964, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

We've all heard the line, right? Some of you youngsters might not get it, but those of you who used to stay up late for that ONE shot every December at seeing the archaic stop-motion puppets do their magic, well, you follow me. Remember the line? When Mrs. Claus is trying to fatten up Santa before the big night out? For what it's worth, that line is now OUT OF THE SHOW. No kidding. The new exchange goes like this:

Mrs. Claus: Eat, Poppa, eat.
Santa Claus: How can I eat? That silly elf song is driving me crazy.
Mrs. Claus: You're gonna disappoint the children. They expect a fat Santa.

Turns out that enough politically-correct folks decided the "nobody likes a skinny santa" was offensive? Something in regards to promoting bulimia? Really?? Very weird.

Anyway, why even bring this up? Because Cougfan has a good read today on the bulking up of the football team as they head into spring ball (and the article is free btw). WSU has released the first official roster of the spring, and it's eye-opening:
Comparing last year's roster to the spring, an eye-popping 33 players have packed on 10 pounds or more. And in some cases, considerably more.
Remember Tyson Pencer, the hulking giant straight outta BC? He showed up at 6-7, 230 a couple of years ago. Today? Try 6-7, 297! I know they've been banging pots and pans about getting these guys to belly up at the training table, several trays filled with food, but wow, thanks for participating Tyson. Other big names include Xavier Hicks from 196 to 211, Bernard Wolfgramm from 264 (that seems pretty light?) to 288 (that's more like it!), and even James Montgomery went from 192 to 202. Check out that link from Cougfan for more, because there are a whole list of names who are definitely larger than last year. And given where these guys were in 2008, this is very, very, VERY welcome news!

Also some position changes here and there, but the big/obvious one is Andy Mattingly is officially a linebacker again! HOORAY position switches! And Andy Mattingly is right where he belongs.


Let's hope to Mr. Mattingly, 2008's position switch is a distant memory. Get back to chasing QB's, drilling running backs, and flattening WR's who decide to venture into #45's area. Most of all, MAKE THE MOST OF THAT SENIOR YEAR! He still has a chance to turn it all around!

Also, the WSU Official site will post the first depth chart of 2009, sometime today. Be sure to check it out, as there are likely to be a few surprises (there always are a few?).

Some other things floating around as well on the eve of spring camp....

Paul Wulff will be in a chat today at WSUcougars.com. Check out the details here. I know some of you have participated in these things in the past, and to be honest, they were a little dry/boring? However this one should be pretty interesting as we are likely to get a ton of updates on various key players for the hopes of 2009.

There's a new PAC-10 commissioner, and his name is Larry Scott, former head of the Women's Tennis Association(WTA). OK. Not much reaction here. I guess he did a good job with women's tennis.


Let's hope the PAC-10 search committee did their homework, and most of all, that he's worlds better than Tom Hansen. Here's to better bowls, better TV deals, better EVERYTHING with Larry Scott!

Finally, Cougfan (again) has a good read on the UW stadium tax grab bonanza. Greg Witter does it again. I can't do it justice, so please, give it a look. It's pretty amazing what is going on there, and clearly there is concern among WSU nation that this thing might sneak through.

That's it for a busy Wednesday. ENJOY YOUR DAY, and GO COUGS!


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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reason For Hope?


So spring ball is set to begin Thursday, and everyone appears excited to wash the feeling of '08 right off their dirty, smelly bodies. And for good reason. But it's a new season, with new faces, and the hope of all hopes that the ugliness of last year is just that - left to linger where it belongs.

But ask yourself this....have you prepared yourself for the idea that what happened last year just MIGHT carry over into 2009? What if we see this team talk of change and overall improvement all spring and throughout fall camp, then gets drilled by the usual round of injuries, a few suspensions, and they still haven't figured out how to win? What if they get blown out to open the season vs. Stanford? Even though last season was a three-month extended scene of crawling through a tunnel of sewage, what if THEY NEVER GOT OUTTA SHAWSHANK??

Look, last year was tough on everyone - fans, alums, bloggers, your general ticket-buying public. I don't need to tell you that. It is hard to imagine a worse season, in terms of blowouts, poor health, and just some lousy football that is so painful to relive that we won't even bother....unless of course you are Ty Willingham.....but I digress. But seriously, how accepting will you be if you have to witness frustrating losses, week after week, in 2009? Are you "out" as a Coug fan, ready to start up firewulff.com, tear up your season tickets and rail against it all on this here site? Or will you ride out the storm, hoping coach Wulff can navigate this thing home and turn the program into another Oregon State?

Not to get all GLOOM here. I mean hey, it's SPRING! The thaw is officially upon us. It's light until after 7 PM. MLB's opening day is just a few weeks away. And every college football program in America is undefeated right now. There IS always hope!

So to get us started for spring, here's three new faces to be excited about for 2009, WSU Football Blog style...OK, actually four new faces to get excited about, two of which are playing the same position....but you get the idea. And we'll look at other things this week, but this is a good place to start.


EXCITED ABOUT NEW FACES

It was said repeatedly for much of 2008 - especially towards the end of the year - and that is there is talent here that isn't even playing, and according to coach Wulff, "We will be instantly be a better football team the moment the 2008 season ends." But is he right?

Well, yes, probably. There are some big-time new faces who will be on the field this year, faces we have only heard about. But keep your eyes open and ears perked this spring for running back James Montgomery, offensive tackle Zach Williams, and D-linemen Bernard Wolfgramm and Josh Luapo.

1) First of all, Montgomery. A fabulously talented young back with moves and speed, Montgomery is a big-time talent. With injuries and other issues haunting Chris Ivory, and Dwight Tardy a solid-if-unspectacular ball carrier lacking that extra burst of speed, Montgomery's skills should be a delightful fit into OC Todd Sturdy's offense.

Montgomery, you may remember, was once the subject of a heated recruiting battle between UW and Cal, where the kid ultimately chose Berkeley. But there were rumors back in the day that Montgomery actually liked WSU quite a bit.


Montgomery played in every one of Cal's games as a frosh in 2007, and even in limited time, still averaged almost five yards per carry (4.8). The future looked bright, but also crowded in Cal's talented backfield. Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen ring a bell? Those two form the young two-headed running back monster for Cal and they aren't leaving anytime soon. Combined with some personal issues, Montgomery made the move to Pullman. After practicing and sitting out all of last year, he's finally ready to make his mark. Don't be surprised if he works his way to the top of the depth chart by the end of spring or at the latest, the conclusion of fall camp.

2) Zack Williams (or "Zach", or even Zachary) has been impressing folks since his first practice in Pullman. While not a prototype NFL-type tackle, he does have decent size at 6-4, 300. Regarded by many who've spied him as the most talented lineman in the program, he was often mentioned as also being the best one on the team...and that was LAST YEAR, just as a scout team guy during his redshirt season.


Given the upcoming full spring and fall practice sessions where he will now "run with the ones", he should slide right into the vacated left tackle spot from the departed big fella/quote machine, Vaughn Lesuma. A redshirt junior, Williams will start and should be a fixture on the line for his few seasons of eligibility.

3) Finally, Wolfgramm and Luapo might be the two biggest keys to any hope of an '09 turnaround. Recall a season ago - if you dare - and what do you remember from the Cougar D? Not good, is it? Obviously the conference-worst turnover margin had smething to do with the weekly thrashings. However, I don't know about you, but the ease in which opposing offenses waltzed up and down the field on a weekly basis was alarming at best, absolutely BRUTAL at worst. The Cal game or Oregon game, I mean turnovers or not, either team could have skipped the whole huddle thing and simply yelled "OK, WE ARE RUNNING IT AGAIN!" And there was absolutely nothing the defense could do about it.

Now things did get a little better later in the season, once the switch to the 3-4 defense was complete, combined with a return to health from Toby Turpin, a welcome playmaker at nose tackle. But I even go back to the Okie State game and watching big Matt Eichelberger getting his 320 lbs driven 5 yards off the ball repeatedly, and you knew that was going to be a long, long season!

Adding Bernard Wolfgamm and Josh Luapo, both JC transfers who have some girth and ability behind them, will go a long way to shoring up the defensive front. Wolfgamm is the smaller of the two, coming in at 6-3, 275, but he's regarded as a real playmaker up front. Look for him to slide between tackle and end, depending on the scheme or situation. But Wolfgramm will be on the field as much as possible.


Meanwhile Luapo is more of your traditional tackle in the run-stuffing mode, at 6-0, close to 300. He just enrolled in January, so he has a lot of road to cover in a short period of time. But one could expect he will either start at one tackle in the 4-3, or be a huge part of the rotation in the 3-4 to keep the bodies fresh up front.

Keep your eyes and ears open for how these guys do this spring. Their performances could be the difference between a huge step towards respectability....or a huge step towards the hot seat for coach Wulff.

Oh yeah, and thanks for the Facebook friend stuff. Some of you have become friends, and that's cool. You are welcome to sign on, as we will keep the Facebook site updated every time a post hits here on the blog. Plus some other stuff as the season approaches. Check out the Facebook "badge" on the right sidebar for a link to our page.

Enjoy your Tuesday, and as always, GO COUGS!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Turn That Frown Upside Down!

This should get a lot of play in the next few days.....but this is supposedly a reaction to yet another Venoy Overton foul from yesterday's UW loss to Pur-Dont. Oh, poor Governor. State deficit got you down Christine? And I know she's a Husky and all, but still, nice to see the Gov support her local NCAA teams in postseason play. Notice the neutralish-looking purple/light blue sweater which says UW, but at least hints at a possibility of Gonzaga?

Quick, anyone know if she went to Denver to see our Cougs last year in the first round??....No??

And that's her daughter on the left. I'm not exactly sure what she is trying to do.

"Look, no ring on this finger!"
"YOU KNOW WHO MY MOM IS?? DO YOU!?! BRING THAT SH*T TO ME YO!"
"Get your THUGS UP!?"
"Mom, WHY ISN'T LOCKER PLAYING??"
"See how swollen my hand is from texting all game?? YEAH BOYYYYEEEEE!!"

How sad that the refs decided the game by not actually allowing the good, clean Venoy to play his game. You know, the Venoy who grabs, trips, and tries to start fights when things aren't going so well (see: ASU loss, Pac-10 tourney).



So in other words, you de-thug Venoy by actually calling him for fouls that he commits, and he's just another angry, frustrated young player who puts up a goose egg in 16 frustrating minutes? Got it...




Also a little ironic to see the Governor sitting in the palatial Rose Garden. You know, the big-time arena in the city in what is supposed to the "little brother" to big, bad Seattle? The city that has figured out how to keep and support their NBA club? The city where they have an anchor tenant producing 41 nights a year of 17,000 money-spending basketball fans? Not such a bad thing is it? Maybe she'll retreat back to Oly with her tail between her legs and yell down the hall "hey Chopp, you know, maybe we should make sure the Key thing gets done?" Nah.

Moving on, Cougfan had a good article about where the high school talent is coming from these days. Namely, NOT Washington. Sure, we're excited about the kids who are coming to WSU next year. But the state produced just 19 D-1 football players who received full scholarships in this year's signing class, just 13 of them headed for BCS schools. But Texas and Florida combined? Try an amazing 698! That's right, SIX HUNDRED AND NINETY EIGHT players from Texas and Florida signed to play D-1 football. That is unbelievable.

But as Cougfan points out, it's not just WA where the numbers are lacking. Oregon produced just 10 D-1 players, and Idaho had only eight. California helped pick up the west coast slack with 220 D-1 players, 114 of which signed with BCS schools.

I guess the reasons are many. Population density being a big one.

As of July 2007, over 55% of the country lives in the eastern part of the United States, or east of the Mississippi. And the warm-weather states like Texas, Cali, Florida, they just keep producing big-time talent.

Kind of makes you wonder if the idea of "winning the state of Washington" in recruiting battles is really all that important after all?



I mean sure, there are some key players that come out of this state every year who go on to do great things on the football field. And it makes for good headlines in the local rags when your school gets a commitment from a kid you have actually heard of. But don't you need to simply focus on where the talent actually resides, instead of chest-bump over getting local kids who will struggle mightily against the USC's of the world?

I guess the key for our WSU perspective is to do what we can in-state, but continue to hit California, harder than ever. I think that is what we generally hear as well, that coach Wulff and company are all over that state. The key is going to be to figure out how to intercept kids from going to the Oregon schools. You talk about their rise coupled with the demise of the Washington schools, it's not too hard to figure out what has happened.

That's all for now. ENJOY YOUR SUNDAY, and GO COUGS!
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Friday, March 20, 2009

How U Doin'?

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So how's the bracket after day one? I have to admit I did pretty well - as in 16-for-16 - but so did about a billion other people. While there were some real interesting contests early, kind of a "chalk" first day though, sans the needle-moving upsets? WKU over Illinois was your usual 12-tops-5 deal, but that wasn't all that surprising was it? A lot of people I talked to in the office had that as their 12-5 special, so there you go. But alas, as is usually the case, I'll probably take a bath today (meaning: I'll lose HUGE!).

But hey, at least I'm up BIG on Barack Obama! He only rolled out an 11-5 day one score. What's odd is that Barry hates the PAC-10, even though his bro-in-law coaches in the conference?


Out of the six PAC-10 teams, Obama didn't have a single one advancing out of the first weekend. I guess he was close with the UCLA-VCU game that was awfully tight, but still, where's the love for the west coast? Even Obama has an east coast bias?

So, we made the move to the next millennium....finally. Yep, we joined Facebook. Well, at least I joined Facebook as I really don't know what I'm doing. I tried to join it for our site but instead it's just my own name. But I will update it constantly with blog-related stuff, so check it out if you want. Our little Facebook "badge" is now over on the right sidebar of the site, next to our "followers" section, below the archive. ALL ARE WELCOME!

Speaking of the new millennium, we were invited to join Twitter. But I don't know. I mean Twitter is kind of cool if you want to see what a celebrity is up to, right? But honestly, who really cares about what regular Joe's are up to on a moment-by-moment basis?

10:30 AM - Thirsty. Time to refill the water bottle.
12 Noon - Lunch time. Turkey? Tuna? PB&J? SURPRISE ME!
2 PM - Time for a snack.
4 PM - Traffic sucks today.

THAT is interesting? Maybe if I was Sean "P-Diddy" Combs it is. But Twitter isn't for nobodies like me/us (and please, no offense if you do Twitter!).

Finally, in case you were wondering, we ARE winding down the photo contest. Look for a post in the next few days outlining what we are doing next. And thanks for all your entries! We got quite a few good ones, so coming up with the finalists was difficult. And please, even though we aren't technically doing the contest right now, feel free to share. We have decided just to keep the photo album going forever, so if you have some great pics, please feel free to forward them on and we'll put them right in. It's a cool little personal touch and I have received a lot of great feedback on them. Keep it up.

That's it for a Friday. ENJOY YOUR DAY, enjoy March Madness, and as always, GO COUGS!



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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wulff Speaks, Plus Other Stuff


Can it really be, a WSU FOOTBALL story!? Wow. But it's true. And hard to believe they are going to tee it up in just over a week? Also true. Spring ball is nearly upon us, ready to roll on March 26th, and the first round of media is starting to hit cyberspace. Paul Wulff spoke to ESPN's best college writer on the planet, Ted Miller, and gave some pretty good answers to some pressing questions, including the fact that Wulff isn't exactly "phased" by the arrival of the Twitter King, Steve Sarkisian?:

Did things feel any different in recruiting when Washington hired Steve Sarkisian?

PW: Not really. Everything was pretty much the same. Anytime you have a coaching change, a staff change, there's always that new energy and hope. Any school you are recruiting against, regardless of the team, when there's a new staff there's always renewed energy for a little while. But I think that all slows down after a year or so. There was obviously a breath of fresh air on their side of it, no question.


There's some other good stuff here, including Wulff singling out some players who have had a pretty good off-season. And oh yeah, Marshall Lobbestael is not only going to participate in 7-on-7's, but he's already been reinstated from the whole puke-in-a-McDonalds-bag-gate thing...



Meanwhile, the UW Husky Stadium money grab is starting to look pretty real. Even though some media outlets are downplaying the reality of it happening, I don't know if that's necessarily the case. Others who follow this stuff and read deeply into the comments of these state reps believe this thing has a chance. A bill in the Senate has been released, called SB6116. This bill has some language pertaining to the county's ability to tax for things like "stadiums" and "arenas", but it doesn't specifically say Husky Stadium or Key Arena by name. However you get the drift. Basically the word is if this bill passes the gaze of house speaker Frank Chopp, well, then UW is going to pull this thing off.

Our friend "Stiffmiester" asked last night in comments, but it's a very good question - how do the WSU faithful feel about this? Maybe there is a bigger picture angle here, that if they DO in fact toss some tax money UW's way, that President Floyd and Jim Sterk will be running up the steps in Oly, with future renovation plans under their arms, "shovel ready" and all that? Maybe in a way, we lose...but we could also win? And if it greases the skids for a Seattle Center renovation, which includes a Key Arena remodel in an area that so desperately needs not only a renovation but also an anchor tenant that can deliver 15,000 fans for at least 41 nights a year? See where I'm going with this? YES, it would suck if UW gets their $300 million dollar facelift. But if it means WSU can now ask for the same thing with a straight face? And Sonics 2.0 rise from the ashes, under the umbrella of Steve Ballmer?? Hmmm, maybe it's not so bad after all....

Oh, Darth Vader. He's at it again. This time, just being a total smart-ass:



So, the Madness BEGINS today! Who ya got? I don't know about you, but I have a feeling about Gonzaga this year. This seems to me like it's their best team in forever, maybe since their Elite 8 team so many years ago? They seem to have it all, including a bum ankle on Ty Lawson, Carolina's amazing point guard who makes that engine run. Don't forget, Gonzaga took down Carolina in NYC two years ago. Granted, the characters are different for both teams than they were back then, but that upset was with a healthy Josh Heytvelt causing all sorts of problems vs. Psycho T Hansborough.



We shall see. My Final Four was a little odd, but I've got Louisville and Memphis on one side, while yep, Gonzaga, and Pitt on the other side. Louisville cuts down the nets on Championship Monday.

But what do I know?? Nothing. :)

Finally, have you heard the Casey Casem prank call? Howard Stern's guys did a call where they took some sound clips of him and had him call a Chinese restaurant. Check it out:



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



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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A-Rod Finally Finds Biggest Fan

After last night's disappointment, it would be easy to go all "WE SUCK" and stuff. But nah. Not today. Instead I am going to just appreciate the effort for these guys keeping it going when the season was unraveling after the OSU loss. Instead of folding the tent, they came out swinging and gave us a reason to care over the last few weeks. No medals for 7th, sure, but it sure could have gone the other way in a hurry. So for that, I am grateful these guys gave what they had instead of quitting when so many others would have easily laid down.

And thanks to the seniors who helped build this thing. The showed up in Pullman with nothing but hope that things will get better and they could be part of something special in building a program. After 3 straight years of postseason play, I couldn't be more appreciative of what they gave to the Bennett's and most of all, to the fans. We officially have a hoops program now, and without their efforts, we wouldn't be where we are today.

We'll leave the 08-09 season wrap-up to BH for the grade-A analysis. But I will say that at least to me, we are who we thought we were. Basically a near 500 team, capable of beating - or losing to - pretty much anyone.

But today....well....it's officially WEIRD with A-Rod, isn't it? I mean a lot of people have played kissy-face with the mirror.....right? No? Well, anyway, the pic sure shows that A-Rod has finally found his biggest fan. He has been staring a back at him his entire life.

The rest of the pics, including some very, uh, "suggestive" photos, can be found here.

http://Men.style.com/details/features/landing?id=content_8397

WEIRD.

Enjoy your humpday, and GO COUGS!
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Winner, Winner....

Chicken Dinner..



Or so we will say at about 10:30 tonight.

Greetings Cougar Nation and the new love of my life, Michele.

Unfortunately, I have NO TIME today for the in depth, non-analysis that I provide for you all on a routine basis.

That said, despite my earlier sentiment to the contrary, we're going to win tonight. The reasons, though short here, are pretty basic:

1) We bother people.

The thing that was talked about A LOT the last two years is how dog gone tough we are as a tournament team. The reason: the Pac defense is just a nightmare if you haven't seen it before. And, as we have seen, #1 seeds like Pittsburgh this year and UNC last year, have a difficult time figuring out how to score against us (you can add all of the non-conference yuck fests we've put on teams the last three years right here as well).

To be sure, St. Marys has the shooters to do a Vandy job on us and just light the place up tonight. But, as talented as they are in some respects, this SM team is just not as good as Vandy two years ago, Oregon of years past, or CAL this year. And as good as Patty Boy is, most point guards aren't as good when they can't get out in the open floor. And, unless we put up another UCLA brick job, we're going to frustrate the holy hell out of them tonight.

Remember in our losses this year, both Baylor, the Zags, as well as our Pac-10 foes had seen us and prepared for us before. Ditto LSU via Trent Johnson. And given how unseasoned we were early, remember we nearly even with Pitt with 5:00 left.

So keep in mind that not only have the Gaels not played us before, they've had a whopping TWO DAYS to prepare.

Its not enough time.

2) Let Down City

St Mary's is going to be mad. Real mad. But, have you ever tried to take your anger out on somebody you can't beat up or who doesn't play the anger game? IF you have, you know that trying to do so doesn't relieve anger or frustration, it builds it.

Unless we fall down 20-4 to start this game (which we won't), St. Mary's is going to get more and more frustrated as the game goes on. Dare I say "Bank on it."

3) Free Throw Shooting

Besides brother Klay who has done a bit of a clank job from the line lately, everyone else is shooting free throws well. Included in that mix is brother Casto who seems to have found his touch. We're going to lead late, so we're going to get fouled late. So, we're going to have to make our free throws. We will. And we'll win.

That's all I've got for now. Onward to South Carolina.

Cougs 61 St. Mary 52



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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wanna Get Screwed?



Sure seems like the message that the NCAA sent St. Mary's today.

First, they leave them waiting at the alter of the Big Dance. Then, they stick them with a game against a WSU team that would have been dangerous in the NCAA's. For them, the match-up is a big stinkin "Yuck."

As Vince and company already have posted, the Gaels lost ONE game at home this year--to the Zags by two.

So, they're tough.

That said, when bubble teams have their bubble's burst on Selection Sunday, their motivation to move on often goes with it--and they often TANK first round NIT games.

However, St. Mary's matches up VERY well with us (and vice versa) so it should be a heck of a game.

That said, if we advance, does South Carolina or San Diego State scare you?

They sure don't scare me.

Simply put: win on Tuesday and I think we're heading to New York.

Lets go get em.

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NIT Time

Thanks to SC's miracle run, we are headed to the NIT.

The bid is TOTALLY locked up now that Arizona is in the Big Dance.

BH's prediction: Round 1 at either St. Marys or San Diego State.

Meanwhile, the draw is HORRIBLE for the UW who I don't think will make it out of the first weekend.

CAL who I penciled in to KILL Michigan State will face Memphis in Game 2 and will LOSE.

Out of all the teams, AZ has the best chance to make it to the second weekend.

Finally,

Gonzaga's draw is GREAT. Look for a total THRILLER between them and UNC in the Sweet 16.

We'll be back later once the match-up is announced..


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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hawks Punt Peterson, Nab Redding



After a down season where he had a mere five sacks, and then refusing to take a pay-cut, Julian Peterson is gone. He'll be hauling the hot tub full of ladies back to DETROIT, the winless wonders of the midwest. Even though it's FREEZING out there in the winter, well, something tells me you won't have too much trouble keeping warm....Good luck JP.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Cory Redding comes to Seattle. Redding was a tough player at Texas, and then played well early in Detroit, enough to get a 7-year, $49 million dollar deal from the Lions. But injuries slowed him down last year, making him suddenly available. Here's a good scouting report on him from Detroit. He did have eight sacks a couple of seasons ago, which is pretty impressive from the defensive tackle spot.


Overall I'd say it's a good match. Peterson gets to go back to his roots, after all he did play at Michigan State and has family back east. Meanwhile Redding walks into a situation where he will be part of the tackle rotation immediately, with Brandon Mebane and newly-signed Colin Cole. Major upgrades inside for the Hawks.

You also have to wonder what this means for draft day and the #4 pick. Many people are now saying that Aaron Curry, the linebacker from Wake Forest, might be the top player in the draft. There was an article on Friday about Curry and whether or not Seattle would be interested. Suddenly the Hawks have a need, don't they? He sure looks big-time.



He can even have #59! We'll see though. A lot of the mock drafts don't see him making it to the #4 spot. Fingers crossed!


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Friday, March 13, 2009

Bellotti Steps Aside

It is breaking all over, but if you haven't heard, Mike Bellotti is stepping down as head coach of Oregon. He will take over as AD on 7/1. It was announced recently that this was going to happen, and Chip Kelly would be taking over sooner rather than later. But I have to admit to being surprised it is happening now? Anyway, it is Chip Kelly's show now. HOORAY spread offense!

So, naturally the question is, how much does this change the landscape in the NW? Were talented recruits spurning UW & WSU for Oregon because of the mustache(or no mustache?) and sunglasses? Or is Oregon Football, brought to you by NIKE, such an overpowering factor that this really isn't a big deal to where Chip Kelly, Chip from My Three Sons or Steve Kelley could walk around the sidelines in a headset and lead them to a bowl game??

Whatever happens, the spread is here to stay in our corner of the world. And like Oregon or hate them (which is likely if you are reading this), even I can admit that when that offense is clicking, it is a sight to behold. Remember how suffocating the Beaver D was last year against our Cougs in Corvallis? Go watch what the Ducks did to them last year with the Big Daddy on the line. It is impressive, and here to stay. Who knows....maybe, JUST MAYBE, we will actually see more than 50% of our own spread guru's playbook this fall with Todd Sturdy? PLEASE??

Oh, and Ernie Kent might want to stay close to the phone.....as BH texted me moments ago, a new AD and their new hoops building might want a new face for the program? After a 2-win Pac-10 season, it might be last call for old Ernie.

So, why the picture of Mike Price?? Well, for one I can't stand Bellotti. That much is obvious. But also because the Bellotti "path" is EXACTLY what Saint Mike should have followed at WSU! It's not hard to look back to the early part of the decade with such promise, strong recruiting, etc, and wonder what could have been had he not been tempted by Alabama. And it is a lot easier to get to Coeur D' Alene from Pullman compared to El Paso. See, EVERYONE could have won here!

Not that I have lost faith in the direction under Wulff - I haven't - but it will always be something to think about how these last six seasons might have gone had Mike stayed the course. Oh well.

ENJOY the rest of your day, and GO COUGS!



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