Happy July Cougs! As the calendar flips to a new month, we here at WSU Football Blog hope all is well for this week of the 4th (and I truly hope you aren't sitting in front of the computer reading this, and instead you are on some beach checking it out on your smart phone?). What's great about July is that hey, the summer is just starting up....but college football is coming! You have EA Sports releasing NCAA Football 13 in a couple of weeks, and that is always something to remind you that football is coming as you get your gaming geek on. Then you have Pac-12 media day towards the end of the month, July 24th to be exact. Next thing you know, we're in to fall camps in August and BOOM, it's here!
The latest pic from Martin Stadium from a sunny morning in Pullman today, and as you can see the scaffolding is coming down. If you squint hard enough, you can barely see the "Washington State University" lettering across the facing. But LucasCoug emailed me this photo of the lettering last night, and you can clearly see part of it here:
Hmm, does it look like there is a bit of a gap between the "T" and the "A" in "STATE"? They might need to move that "A" over to the left a little bit, or move the "S" and the "T" to the right? And the white lettering looks clean, but it is a little hard to see. Maybe it'll turn out to be crimson lettering? Or maybe the lettering will be illuminated crimson by backlighting of some kind? I sure can't wait to see how Martin Stadium looks this September once all the signage and colors and CRIMSON ENDZONES and everything else are updated and ready to go for 2012, but looking at the new section of the stadium, there defintely seems to be a need for some color. Splash it up a bit!
Speaking of stadium renovations and all that, there was an interesting article last week from Rivals.com and recruiting. But instead of some type of opinion piece or an interview with a few recruits here and there, instead they decided to roll out an anonymous survey of questions for 80 of the top recruits in the country, asking them a full range of questions from specifics about coaches to general things about the recruiting process. You can check out the article here, and it is definitely worth reading.
One question in particular caught my attention, and it was this one:
Who means more when you're making your college decision - a school's head coach or your potential position coach?
The answers among many questions were somewhat surprising, but this one I think caught me off-guard a little bit....
The answer from the survey?:
Position coach: 79 percent
Head coach: 21 percent
The buzz: This one was a landslide. Almost four-fifths of the respondents said the assistant who coaches their particular position meant more to them than a school's head coach. And they pretty much all gave the same reason.
"He's the one I'm going to be spending the most time with, compared to the head coach," one player said.
They pointed out that their position coach potentially could have a greater impact on their careers both on and off the field.
"That's who you're going to be with the most, that's who you're going to talk to, who's going to be your leader and your father [figure]," one player said.
One of the biggest things you hear about Coach Leach and the so-called "fit" in Pullman was about his ability to recruit. Some of the things heard here and there from his days at Texas Tech was that, well, he was an interesting guy but maybe not a full-blown dazzler in the living room? That while other coaches might show up in a suit and tie, Leach may roll into a living room in jeans and a team pullover-hoodie and do magic tricks. That's just his style and who he is, and it is unlikely he is going to change.
But does that really even matter? That act might turn off some kids and families who want the salesman giving them the full-blown pitch, but Leach and his "This is who I am" approach would work just fine with the kids he wants to sign. And it's hard to argue against his results in Texas, where he might not have beaten the Longhorns and Sooners in the living room a whole lot but he found a way to hang with them on the field.
What's interesting to me was to see nearly 4 out of 5 recruits say that the position coach meant more than the school's head coach. That doesn't really fit in the national perspective that I had of the head coach and the recruiting impact they might have, directly in the process. Of course it matters who your head coach is, as he is the face of your program and schools pay big bucks for them to walk the sideline and promote your school.
And the different media outlets will praise a coach for landing recruits, and/or KILL them if they fall short. But I don't know, I mean I knew that the position coaches are important in the whole thing and they have more hands-on time with players than any other coach on the staff, head coach included. But the image of recruiting is that it is all about the head man, and that if they sign a good class the coach gets the hype, and if they sign an "eh" type class, the message boards/commentors claim "Our head coach can't recruit!"
But it's clear that while the buck stops with the head man, no doubt his coaching staff and their ability to recruit will directly impact what kind of success - or failure - the head man will really be down the line!
Some other surprises from the article:
What's the most overrated factor that some recruits consider when they're picking a college?
Winning tradition: 19 votes
Jerseys/uniforms/school colors: 9
And this was interesting to say the least:
History apparently doesn't matter all that much to many of these prospects.
"You can go off the past, but you're not the past," one player said. "You're the future."
These guys also have short memories.
When one player talked about people "living in the past" about particular schools, he didn't refer to Notre Dame, Florida State or any other renowned programs that haven't contended for a national title in more than a decade. He referred to teams that had won titles much more recently.
So thinking about the last few years, like '04 or '07 or '08, is now living in the past!? Well considering how down the Cougs have been, this is actually a good thing on the recruiting trail. Please, pay no attention to the 9-40 record these last 4 years. It's all in the past, right? But wow, I know the whole saying of "Live in the past, stay in the past", but who wants to live way back in 2007!?
But I guess this kind of shows how all those wins from a decade or more ago don't really matter much beyond the alums. The bowl trophies and rings and all that might look good in a trophy case, or in your media guide. But schools who thump their chests and pop their jerseys over what happened a long time ago might be good for talkin' TRASH on message boards and posting comments on blogs, but it is basically meaningless in trying to land talent!
Anyway, the whole Rivals article was eye-opening on your perceptions on recruiting. I know I was suprised by some of it, and I highly recommend it.
Finally, Mike Leach was on with Furness on Friday. It's a decent listen, as Leach touches on Mike Price, the new playoff system, etc. Check it out here.
All for now. Enjoy your holiday week Monday, and as always, GO COUGS!