Happy back-at-it Monday Cougs, and here's hoping you enjoyed another sunny weekend around the great NW.
Our own Victory Bell snapped the above photo of the new Martin Stadium renovation before the scrimmage on Saturday. According to Victory, the pics that we've all seen, hey, while they are nice and all that? They don't do the thing justice. Up close and personal it is apparently MASSIVE, and a lot of Cougs making the trek to Pullman for the home opener vs. EWU will be awfully surprised at what they see.
This is a good shot floating around on Facebook of what things look like off of Stadium Way, and you can clearly see how times, they-are-a-changin':
Anyway, so the Cougs held the first big scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday (have you heard??), and it sounds like things went pretty well for the passing offense. Read on for some impressions from Victory Bell, plus the usual round-up of morning links...
First, some rambling notes from Victory Bell's iPhone, taken during the action, in dot-dot-dot style....
Connor Halliday started under center, Marcus Mason taking first unit RB reps....Casey Locker and Tyree Toomer started at safety....new kicker Michael Bowlin smacked 45 harder right down middle with 10 yards to spare.....Gabe Marks makes catch on a ball no higher than a Zack Williams snap, from Halliday, in triple coverage!....Halliday drops beautiful ball on Post Route to Isiah Myers for TD.....Oh, and Chester Sua hits HARD.
Meanwhile, where is Tuel?? Oh there he is.....and he immediately finds Bobby Ratliff from 20+ out on a out route for TD, secondary looked lost.....Haven't seen Logan Mayes and Travis Long on the field at same time yet?.....Rickey Galvin goes in motion from slot, Tuel snaps and literally throws the ball down in to Galvin's hands for 4 yards, no handoff.....Clearly can tell a similar play to what Oregon runs with their slot guy.....Defense shows blitz a lot.....Darryl Monroe looks thinner than last spring game (2011)......
Next, Tuel hits Marquess Wilson from 35 out on post pattern for TD and (unfortunately) Damante Horton looks lost.....Andrew Furney misses FG to the left from about 35 yards.....I see a lot of unknown names running with second unit defense?.....
Moving on, Gabe Marks 80+ yard catch streaking down north sideline and Hallday hits him in perfect stride for score....but defense still doesn't look so good (uh-oh?).....Halliday scrambles to his left and hits Theron West who goes to sideline then cuts up field to gain 30 yards.....Remember what I said about the defense looking like poop??.....Halliday sails a corner fade route wide from 10 yard line. Intended for Ratliff, I think?.....Halliday then throws to Marquess W in end zone but Deon Ford the newbie in the secondary breaks it up.....Halliday then tosses perfect corner fade, Marquess looks up at last second and snags TD, cornerback draws hankie in the process, touchdown Cougs!
Finally, Bowlin has 35 yard FG (or was it a super-long PAT?) from left hash blocked. Gino Simone is the holder today, not sure of it was his fault or what.....Gilbertson in at QB. Sails pass wide intended for Max Hersey, but solid coverage by Horton.....Gilby then throws picture perfect 10 yard out to Mansell Simmons, who, by the way, is a freak of nature!.....Gilby hits Mansell Simmons again with another beautiful ball on the post for 20+ yards.....Blair Bomber with his second dropped ball on a great throw from Gilby.....TD catch! Max Hersey from Gilby.....And still absolutely no ground game whatsoever. Against this defense?? Yikes!.....And the DL has barely been the backfield today, again, not a good thing.
And here are some notes from "Ambush184", who posted these comments on Saturday night (Thanks Ambush!):
Great day for golf and football. Golf was quite nice, football was just as good.
To start with, if I were choosing a starting QB based on today, Halliday would get the nod. Tuel looked "off". He wasn't sharp to start with. The offense looked much better than the defense to start with, but the D came on later in the scrimmage. Allison is the real deal. He's fast and has a nose for the ball. He made several plays and nearly had a pick. The D line stiffened up too. Mayes looked good overall, especially when he put his hand down on the end. Travis long was just Travis Long, doing what he does best.
On offense, God help everyone's secondary. Wilson, Marks, RG5 just to name a few all looked good. Marks especially, for a Frosh he's amazing. REALLY fast. Runs good routes. I really liked Galvin in the slot. He showed some moves, and blocked pretty well when called on. Several long completions and a bunch of short-to-medium routes. The running game needs some work, but even at that they showed some moves. Theron West looked okay.
I think it was Conncepcion who was hitting some crazy long punts?...with hang time. He out-kicked the coverage a couple of times, again with hang time. And Furney has some competition in Michael Bowlin. Bowlin hit several long FG's, one at least 50 yds.
Overall there are some really positive signs. It was a fun afternoon.
I talked with Keith Lincoln for a few minutes before everything started. He says he'll be happy with 4 wins. Not sure where he sees that. When I told him I thought 5-6 was do-able, and 7 is a possibility, he looked at me as if I were nuts. Hope he's the one who's nuts.
Thanks again to Ambush and Victory Bell for their recaps!
In links, Cougfan's Joe Doyle weighs in with his takes here. As you can probably predict, the story of the day is the offense, with eight TD's on the afternoon. Doyle has a great rundown of the the guys running with the starters, if you can read much into it this early? And he has a good rundown of the injuries, which still seem to be piling up a bit. Cougfan also has a free photo gallery from Saturday, which you can see here.
Christian Caple kills it with his notebook from the scrimmage. Caple runs it all down for you, including stats from Saturday as well as four videos from the day that was.
Finally, Howie Stalwick writes about the QB play, among other tidbits from Saturday.
That's it for this morning. Enjoy your Monday, and as always, GO COUGS!
Sounds like some promising players and DEPTH - which is nice to hear. I read Jim Moore's article on cougfan basically ripping Coach Sark and was curious about your opinion. While he has a .500 record, it was obviously a huge improvement from 2008. The 2009 upset of #3 USC and near upset of LSU two weeks before vaulted him to the 'pedestal' that a lot of us Husky Homers put him on. I struggle to understand some of the vilification from the wazzu (and Cal...another story) fan base, but I have a theory/hope/wish.
If you guys can come into the CLink and upset Oregon, you will know exactly what the UW fan base is feeling right now. A sort of postponed-optimism, if you will. Beating a top-5 opponent on the national stage...it's just huge for a program. I hope you guys get to experience it this year. Heck, if an unproven Sark can do it in Year 1, I bet a seasoned pro like Leach can do it as well.
@UWJasonUW I just think Sark hasn't done enough to become the greatest coach in Huskies history (which is what it sounds like from some of you). The guy could go 0-12 the next 3 years and you'll hate him... so why prop him up so quickly?
Another example, at a much worse school, is Robb Akey at Idaho. The 1st year, Idahoans (and retarded Coug fans calling for him to replace Wulff) were proclaiming him to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. How's he looking these days?
Leach, in my mind, is a different animal because he's already proven. He's done this before, so we all expect him to do it again.
@Soze Hardly best coach ever. But he's won games that give us promise: USC 2009, USC 2010, Nebraska 2010, 3-0 vs Cal, 3-0 vs wsu.
Gil Dobie (58-0-3...seriously), Jim Lambright, Jim Owens, Slick Rick, Don James, all WAY better.
Leach right now is better than Sark, no question. But I think the ceiling for Sark at UW is higher than Leach at wsu. Would be interested to hear your opinion on that.
(Note: I'm currently at Magnolia Village Pub doing a work fantasy draft in a Titans Locker jersey...if you haven't thrown up your lunch yet...)
Lambright as a head coach oversaw UW's decline from dominance. They went from consistent winner and ruler of the northwest under James to just one of the four under Lambright. But to hear the loudmouth squawk you'd think the Huskies were still pre-eminent. (And mouthing off after losing is what caused Oregon and OSU--not just Wazzu--to really start hating UW).
Giving Lambright that kind of credit for greatness is the same as saying that Bill Doba is one of the Cougar coaching greats. Well, heck he beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl! And he was a great D coordinator before that! No, Doba is not one of the greatest. He took what Price already had and managed them to one more big Bowl before sending the program into a tailspin.
Tell me, Geoff. If Lambright was so great, why did they fire him? Just a question.
If I say Sark is better than those two you will point to his .500 record (like Moore's stupid article). If I say Sark is worse you ridicule as well.
Ah, the life of a troll.
I apologize for not helping out. Never made it to the scrimmage. Was at my nephew's birthday in Clarkston and work completely blew up on me on Saturday and have been out of the office dealing with a client issue until just now. Good to be back.
Huge thanks to Victory Bell and Ambush! I love reading this stuff. Gets me geeked for the start of the season, which is just over 2 weeks away!
Holy crap I'm worried about our defense! I guess the trick is to score 60 points a game, and then we'll be okay.
Question: I've looked around and found nothing, but has anyone heard rumors about an open house for the new press box/suite area? I'd love to have a look around the place, but the ticket prices are beyond what I can handle.
Great choice of the opening picture. Really gives a good sense of the size of the place. To access my seats last year, I walked down the stairs just immediately north of the north side of the press box. Now, I'll have to walk under the new structure to get to those stairs! Freaky.
Really excited about this season. Thanks for the write-up.
60 points would definately win some games. I think this defense may surprise a lot of us. As Eric Ortell said in the video, these guys have a chip on their sholder, and they have something to prove. Tuel even said they were disguising their formations and confusing the offense. I can see some really high scoring games. Keep in mind though I think we will be a quick strike offense which will have our defense on the field extended time. I think there are a lot of teams that may try to slow things down a bit to wear out our D. That said, look for our guys to figure out how to stuff a run and hold the other guys to a first down or two and then stop 'em. Lots to look forward to. I'm getting excited, especially since I saw what they can do at the scrimmage.
This very blog was tweeting on Saturday about liquor will soon be available at the Coug. I am surprised there was no mention of that in this post.
Is anyone else annoyed by the "Halliday>Tuel" undercurrent that already seems to be brewing. What is it about presumed back-ups that makes people love them more than the starter? I think we're in good hands either way, but I'll be troubled if the Halliday clamoring begins at any sign of Tuel struggling. #TeamTuel
Tuel started kinda slow Saturday. He really picked up though and obviously had a good day. I based what I said on how each looked from the start. We'll be in very good shape with either of them under/behind center. Tuel SHOULD get the nod because of his total game experience. I don't think he'll do it, but CML could sub either for the other anywhere during the game, the first team seem comfortable with both. Wouldn't that confuse some defenses
@Huddy In a word, yes.
One more thing. When you read the recaps from the links, you'll understand why I'm not a beat writer. Thanks for including my recap Sean.
Two things real quick...
1). Martin Stadium is so much more impressive in person than in pictures &
2). GET TICKETS AND SEE IT FOR YOURSELF WHILE YOU WATCH COUGAR FOOTBALL!!!
The srimmage Saturday afternoon was just plain fun to watch. The lads are in much better physical condition than any time in recent memory. There are VERY few bellys out there. The guys just look like athletes now and they are playing like it. It's been a long time since I've seen as much team speed as I saw Saturday. I have no idea how many wins we'll actually have this year, but every game will be exciting.
BTW when you come to Pullman, come to the Field House and join the South Sound Cougar Club group for pre-game fun. We'll be right across from the broadcast stage. You'll see the sign. Till then,