Happy Thursday to you, Followers! Hope you are having a great week!
Today marks the penultimate episode of our world-wide hit mini-series, “Three Questions.”
(And it also marks the start of fall training camp!!!!!!!!)
In the event that you missed a previous installment in the series, you can find previous episodes below by using the WSUFB blog’s special “On Demand” feature....
Cuz, That’s the way we roll doe…
June 14th: Brock Huard
June 21st: Bob Condotta
June 28th: Ted Miller
July 5th: Howie Stalwick
July 12th: Cindy Brunson
July 19th: Brian Floyd
July 26th: Doug Haller
Aug. 2nd: Bruce Feldman
Aug. 9th: Christian Caple
Today’s penultimate episode reaches deep into the cosmos, as we spend a few moments with one of the true superstars of College Football journalism and media today. So, please join me dear followers, in welcoming Mr. Bruce Feldman to Cougar Nation (read on).
Followers, those of you who have been with this blog for a while know that I am total mess once College Football season starts every year.
I mean, as soon as camp opens, I find myself spending WAY too much time surfing the interwebs for any college football news that I can find. And for several years, today’s specil guest star has representated my favorite national landing spot...
You see, Bruce Feldman was one of THE first College Football writers for the Mothership/Mothership magazine back in the day. And truly, if you ever wanted to know ANYTHING about the ins and outs of any major college program, all you had to do was check out Bruce’s work.
For instance, while other notables (I won’t mention names here, but I just might be making reference to a guy whose initials are I.M.) might pen a nice special feature here or there, Bruce would always go WAY inside the inner workings of a college football program to give you a much truer sense of what was really going on. In particular, I always really liked his earlier work and story-telling regarding the Miami Hurricanes.
Anyhow, Bruce served the mothership for nearly 15 years until such time that he started doing a book with a burgeoning celebrity coach named Mike Leach.
And truly, from that point on, nothing was ever the same.
Once the Adam James story broke, Feldman informed the ESPN brass that the James version of events didn’t hold a lot of water. And sadly, instead of using inside source material from their greatest college football writer, ESPN promptly pulled the plug on Bruce’s media credentials and essentially shut him down. And with that, Bruce’s near 17 year tenure at ESPN was over….
Personally, I didn’t think much of ESPN’s move in relation to Bruce, because I had bought hook-line-and-sinker into Michael Wilbon’s diatribe that Leach was at fault in the whole James debacle. And so, while I had thought the world of Bruce and his writing, I figured that his dismissal from ESPN was simply the result of a reporter who got a little too close to a source that went a bit too rogue for corporate comfort.
But man was I wrong.
Thankfully, the thousands of idiots out there like me got the opportunity to read what REALLY happened in Bruce’s best-selling effort (along with Coach Leach) “Swing Your Sword.”
And thankfully for us Cougars, the book is coming out in paperback, with a rumored add or two about Leach’s hire at THE Washington State University. So, I guess little Sutra and I are going to have to read the whole thing again in the next month or so (insert heavy sarcastic sigh )…
Anyhow, when you’re not reading Bruce’s work with Mike Leach, you can catch his regular columns and mailbag over at cbsportsline.com as well as on Twitter.
And let me tell you, if you haven’t checked out his work lately, you will not be disappointed. The man literally knows everything about everything that is college football!
In addition, if you follow Bruce on Twitter, you already have a sneak peek into the man’s considerable character. Meaning: Bruce is always the first to congratulate his colleagues and competitors on new jobs and contracts, and the first to re-tweet stories by his colleague/competitors whenever they offer readers insight into the college football landscape.
And with respect to this blog—not to mention our BFF’s over at Cougcenter—the man has been a total, total gem. I mean, while some cyber-stars in the media represent the types of guys that you’d like to have beer with, Bruce represents more than that…In fact, he’s the type of guy whose intellect, character, and generosity makes you want him as a neighbor as well as a friend.
Hang Tight There, Bruce, I'm Comin' Over Real Soon.......
And so, it was more than terrific for as at this here blog that Bruce decided to sit down with Victory Bell several weeks back….
..for this week’s episode of Three Questions.
Victory Bell: Those who follow you on Twitter or on CBSsports know that you cover College Football in all parts of the country. What are the primary ways that you gain information/source material about each team and program? Is it through watching film, tireless reading, interviews and site visits with coaches and players? All of the above?
Bruce Feldman: It's all of the above. I'd say the biggest "resource" I feel like I can provide readers/viewers is the access I have to coaches and sources of what I've asked about and heard about. Over the past dozen years or so, I've worked hard to cultivate sources. I feel like if you talk to enough people, you can gain good insight into things. I've learned from covering the sport closely that, in many cases, the only people who know exactly what is going on, are the ones inside the staff room whether it comes down to why a certain program wasn't interested in a kid or who was really at fault on a certain play. Having watched film with coaches and being inside many programs, has been a huge benefit to me, and hopefully to my readers and viewers.
Victory Bell: WSU and Texas Tech fans know you as the scribe who co-penned “Swing Your Sword” with Mike Leach. Based on your history with and knowledge of Mike Leach, what aspect of his personality and/or coaching acumen do you think will be the most important to a turn-around at WSU?
Bruce Feldman: I think it's probably two big things: The first is, as you can see from the stats, he as good an offensive coach as there is in the country. It doesn't matter who his QB is, his teams are always among the most prolific in college football. The main reasons for that are that he's knows EXACTLY what he's doing when it comes to installing an offense and honing it at practice but also because he's a brilliant play-caller. He doesn't get caught up in emotion in the heat of the game.
The other key point is his total faith in his system. The guy has never had a losing season as a coach and I think his personality takes over the program to the point where regardless of how down WSU has been in the past four years, it feels like a completely different regime. Everything now has changed for the Cougars and that mindset is vital for a program trying to learn how to win games.
Victory Bell: Many of our readers expect WSU to make a bowl game this year. Based on your knowledge of Mike Leach, the WSU roster, the Pac-12, and so forth, what would you consider to be a “surprising” season for WSU this year?
Bruce Feldman: After spending a week inside the program, I've seen they have a very good QB and a deep group of receivers and a staff that also is on the same page. Leach has enough pieces to work with to turn this into a bowl team right now. I expect at least six wins. If some of the newcomers on D, especially in the front seven, are ready to contribute, I think they have a shot to win eight games. Given Leach's ability to lead an offense, it wouldn't surprise me to see a program that won nine games in the past four seasons, win eight. If they win more than eight this season, given a shaky O-line and underwhelming D, that, though, would surprise me.
So, there you have it—another tremendous episode of Three Questions. Extra, extra, extra, EXTRA special thanks to Bruce Feldman for gracing these humble pages. Hopefully, we’ll have the type of season that will provide opportunities for Bruce to offer more insight into our Cougars (The Oregon game, maybe??)
Join us next week when Christian Caple of the Spokesman will join us for the final, training camp episode of Three Questions. We’ll be back soon for a re-cap of the first day of training camp.
All for now. Go Cougs
I'll take 6 wins or sure. It wouldn't surprise me to much to see as many as 8. This year though, the stars will have to align just right. SUTRA, THAT'S YOUR JOB, GET BUSY!!
Great Interview! Bruce is at the top of his game. The sports authority, BSPN, didn't have a clue and wasted a brilliant resource. I am glad that Bruce landed on his feet. There was no doubt he would!
Great read. Thx Bruce for setting up some expectations for this season. I am of the same ilk, but would be surprised at 8 wins.