"If I Can Change and Yous Can Change, Everybody Can Change"
"Except For Huddy. He likes riding out gimmicks too much."
Good morning and Happy Hump Day, Cougs! As the great debate rages on about SekopeGate and as Lucas begins his unusual quest to provide content that you, the reader, might actually find helpful with his position previews, I'm here as I am every Wednesday to do.....whatever it is that I do. Looking at the ol' (hypothetical) advent calendar, I see that the Crimson and Gray game is now just seven weeks away. As such, I am required by gimmick to give you a list of seven things (I've gotta say, it was wildly clever to start doing something that requires less and less work the longer I do it). This week, I've come up with seven changes the Cougs must make this season in order to fulfill our bowl attending dreams. The only way you will ever come to know what those seven things are is to click on the jump. So do that.
As we all know by now, one big change was made that should go a long way to improve some of the deficiencies of season's past with that whole Mike Leach thing, but we also know that there were numerous problems that contributed the absurd number of losses the last few seasons. Without further ado, here are seven improvements WSU football must make over the course of Spring and Fall camps to get to the magical six win mark next season. If any steps have already been taken to mitigate those problems, I'll try to address those as well.
1. Protect. The. Quarterback.
Everybody assumes that once the Air Raid takes flight on the Palouse, a magical switch will be flipped that cures all ails in the Cougar passing game. That's all well and good only if the men spearheading the attack are actually able to remain upright and not continue the trend of suffering absurd injuries. Mike Leach's passing attack should in theory take care of some of this in and of itself with the idea being that the quarterback will get the ball out of his hands quickly. What happens if his first read isn't there, though? If the offensive line still stinks, Tuel or Halliday could potentially find themselves more vulnerable since they'll be dropping back to pass something like 600 times a game. Whoever finds their way to the starting offensive line will have to step their games up in a big way. The groundwork starts in a couple week as the line starts learning the fancy new "let's stand really far apart system" while the qb's begin their work of learning how to get the ball out of their hands and into the playmakers' in a hurry.
2. Cover Somebody
I very much like Nolan Washington, Daniel Simmons, Damante Horton, Tracy Clark and Spencer Waseem. Unfortunately the reasons I like them are things like, "He looks cool" or "He was really funny on that Three's Company bit with Gino and Jeff" or "Dreads are neato". I'd much rather like them for reasons like, "He's all-conference" or "Never gets beat deep". I believe the talent is sufficient, but consistency has been non-existent. It'll be interesting to see how Mike Breske decides to use these guys, but one thing we do know is that these are the guys he's rolling with. There is no help coming in the form of a new recruit at the cornerback position in the fall.
3. Let's Not Do That Whole Let The Other Team Start At The 35 Yard Line Every Position Thing Anymore, Mmmk?
The Cougs (and every other college football team) have already gotten a little help in this regard as the NCAA has elected to move kickoffs from the 30 yard line to the 35. Based on past performance, this won't appear to help Andrew Furney in the touchback department since his kicks seemed to generally land somewhere around the 10 yard line. To compound this issue, the kickoff coverage went from out-of-nowhere excellent in 2010 to just-as-out-of-nowhere-right-back-to-completely-pathetic in 2011. Let's assume that the Cougs will spend more time kicking off this year. Opponents cannot be handed a field position advantage on a regular basis. Hopefully Mike Bowlin can kick a football 65 yards off a tee with some frequency.
4. Butts in Seats
This one is on us, Cougar Nation! The direct correlation between a lot of fans at games making a bunch of noise for the home team and said home team winning ball games is debatable, but it can't hurt, right? It seems that Bill Moos has already made big strides in energizing the fanbase, but the proof will be in the pudding when there are more fans dressed in Crimson and Gray on Saturdays than fans disguised as gray bleachers. It starts at Joe Albi. If nothing else, you can have a beer with your favorite WSU Football Blogger...and me too!
5. Don't Poop The Bed
If you watched the Oregon State and Cal games last year, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's hard to say what can be done to make a bunch of 18-21 year old kids not no-show, but hopefully Leachisms like Midnight Maneuvers and the vaunted Sand Pit are productive exercises in increasing mental toughness and not just exercises in making players think the coach is a meany head.
6. Attack on Defense
Too many times during the Paul Wulff era, watching the Cougar defense was like watching a slow painful death. Not that I've ever watched a slow painful death, but it sure seemed like it anyway. If opponents were so inclined, they could often dink and dunk their way down the field with minimal resistance from the dudes in Crimson or Gray or White. If we're gonna go down, I'd rather see us go down swingin'. By all accounts, it sounds like Mike Breske's defense will look to take the fight to offenses more than what we've been accustomed to. We probably won't get the full picture during Spring Ball, but we'll start to get a better idea of what the new defense will look like and perhaps more importantly what a defense with an identity looks like.
7. Stop Smoking Weed
I mean, seriously.
Good analisys Huddy. Since Leach was hired, there have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200 new or renewed member to the Cougar Athletic Foundation. That's people who give a minimum of $50.00/year. I know also new season ticket applications have gone way up. There is currently a big push to increase annual giving. I'm a member of the South Sound Cougar club, and we have two teams of 7 each calling asking for donations. All those donations go to scholarships.
Where am I going with this? Obviously, JOIN THE COUGAR ATHLETIC FOUNDATION!!!!!!!!
Right now we cover less than 1/3rd of the needed funds for scholarships. Every other school in the PAC-12 covers theirs. It takes on average, $22K to give a student athlete a scholarship at WSU. It doesn't take a math major or rocket scientist to see that it takes a lot of donors @ $50 to support one athlete. All contributions are very welcome and if you want to donate more, potentially a lot more, then thank-you. You can also invite a friend and fellow Coug to join. It will mean the difference between mediocrity and championships.
How about put some butts in the Beasley seats, eh?
Has Ken Bone left the building, yet?
(Have the Cougs made a free throw in the second half yet?)
Regarding #4: Moos may have energized the fan base, but we haven't won any games yet. When Wulff was fired, Moos talked about lack of "butts in the seats." Never did he mention the pathetic product on the field, the total lack of competitive football. I 'm surprised the attendance and donation falloff weren't even worse. To tell the fans "it's your responsibility to buy club seats, loge boxes and premium seats so that THEN we can raise our expectations " is madness. The fan support has been good. I just think all but the hard-core fans gave up after 8 years of mediocre to pathetic football.
You have a point but, You have to remember that he said this after he hired Mike Leach. He showed us he is serious about having a successful program, Now we need to do our part.
@GrantCountyCoug Absolutely nailed it brother (sister?)!!
@LucasNurmi If nobody minds i would like to add to my post earlier. When Bill Moos delivered his post Wulff Dismissal speech and gave the line about the apathetic fan base and the line about admitting we are a door mat and getting left in the dust.
I let out a "PREACH ON PIMP DADDY MOOS" in a voice that sounded like ROB ZOMBIES back when he was in White Zombie.
You see Mr. Moos is really putting his you know whats on the chopping block by convincing the board of regents that this will be good for the university. This is taking alot of work on his part. If the fans don't respond than this would be very bad for him and the program. Who knows we might end up taking a spot in the Mountain West. Soooooo......I will put in a little work by becoming a new season ticket holder and showing up to the games....even the one in Seattle.
Thank you Bill Moos and President Floyd.
Anyone know the % of touchbacks in NCAA? Everyone rags on Furney, but I swear to God that most of the kicks are returned anyways. 90% of collegiate kickers can't kick it 65-70+ yards into the endzone for touchbacks.
I would almost replace #2 with a pass rush. I really think we have competent corners and lock down types are a rare find, but almost any secondary looks bad when there is no pass rush. I can't even remember what its like to root for a D that gets after the opposing QB. The past 4 years our QBs have had 2 broken necks, a blown knee, a dislocated knee cap, broken collar bone, compartment syndrome and a lacerated liver. I think at the very least owe our opponents a couple sacks in return. At this point, I'd even take a roughing the passer penalty.
Nice post as always, Huddy. What would Humpday be like without you?
Regarding the meat and potatoes, well, as my old Grandpappy Bill Doba once said, "Its not the X's and O's, its the Jimmies and Joes."
When Leach was hired, I thought to me-self, "Well, our D-Line is suspect, as is our secondary, but man do we have a talented core of Linebackers returning--so man would a 3-4 be GREAT."
Now with Mizell and SK gone and my main man D. Monroe still on the shelf, its "Well, our D-Line might get some depth come fall camp, our LBs sure are green, and how about that Deone Buchanon kid in the defensive backfield?"
In short, as much as I LOVE the idea of what Breske might bring as the first real DC we've had since Doba left, I am outright fearful of what we're going to look like against BYU and beyond.
Can your reassure me on any of this, Huddy? Can you? Can you?
I predict that you will see Casey Locker or Tyree Toomer move a little closer to the ball a nd play some linebacker.
Of course I can! The season doesn't start for six months. I can say we're going to be totally awesome and win 8 games! Everything eill be fine by the time fall rolls around. Every single person on the team will have improved significantly and the Air Raid wil light up scoreboards immediately while our collection of defensive Jimmies and Joes somehow pull off the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" thing.