"The scout team is that way"
Good morning and Happy Hump Day, Cougs! After an advent calendar, Midnight Maneuvers, a few weeks, several practices, a few scrimmages, a tailgate party, a dead car and a new car, Spring Football 2012 is officially over. We learned a few things about Mike Leach and the rest of his coaching staff. We got to know a little bit about what the depth chart will look like when fall camp opens later this year. And most importantly, we got to drink some beer and watch Cougar football on a beautiful day in Spokane. So what does it all mean? It's hard to say. Spring football took on a bigger air of importance this year with our new, famous coach implementing a new, famous offense along with the rest of his staff imparting their wisdom on our impressionable young Cougs. I'll take a position-by-position view at how things are looking as we head out of Spring and inch slowly along to the fall when the real games happen. This week, I'll check out the offense. First, click on "Read More", or on the link that shows the comments, or on the title of the article. You know, whatever.
"Aww schucks." "No, Aww shucks, you."
Projected depth chart post-spring (PDCPS) - QB1: Jeff Tuel, QB2: Connor Halliday, QB3: David Gilbertson, QB4: Cody Clements
Due to his pesky liver problem (laceration, not alcohol related) which was compounded by a hit early in camp, Connor Halliday never really had a chance to pose a threat to Jeff Tuel's starting spot as many had expected. After what to me seemed like a bit of a slow start, Tuel put a stranglehold on his spot, ripping up the #1 defense (or what was left of it) in the Crimson and Gray game to head into the fall as the undisputed leader of the team. He'll need to stay sharp in fall camp, of course, but the talk of a quarterback competition is quieted for now.
Biggest surprise: I'd have to say David Gilbertson earns the title here. There were several moments where Lucas and I looked at each other at Joe Albi and said, "Gilbertson looks pretty good, don't he?" You'll have to forgive our post tailgate party bad grammar, but the sentiment is what matters. David, son of Keith looked poised and made some tough throws. Will he ever start a game for the Cougs? Probably not, but I wouldn't be completely horrified if he had to; just a little bit horrified.
PDCPS - Rickey Galvin and Carl Winston (1 and 1A), Leon Brooks, Marcus Mason, Teondray Caldwell (the rest)
I didn't read anything about RG5 that totally jumped off the page at me this spring, but I'm still of the belief that he's poised for a monster season. I also still love Winston's role to spell him and come in as The Little Bowling Ball That Could. His "Should I try to go around this guy? Naaaah, through him seems better" style should be an interest combination with the open space that the Air Raid combines. He should have the opportunity to run over some DBs this year (and no, not the Ed Hardy shirt kind. I mean defensive backs).
Biggest surprise: The coaching staff absolutely loves Leon Brooks and he couldn't help but rip off 40 yard runs seemingly every practice. We've heard this story to a certain degree before, but it's never amounted to much in the way of production on Saturdays, unless of course you count coming in a few times a game to fair catch as production. In that case, dude has produced big time.
Marquess Wilson, best scout teamer in America
PDCPS - Ummmm....it's hard to say. There are something like a bazillion receivers available and that will all be rotated in to catch a whole bunch of passes
Just for kicks, let's say the first guys on the field will be Marquess Wilson (duh) on one side with one of the Williamses on the other (Kristoff or Dominique) with Bobby Ratliff and Andrei Lintz in the slot. After that, the pu pu platter of Simone, Bomber, Eaddy, Myers, Dockery, Bontemps and Loftus will come in and get theirs. Throw a few more guys in the mix this August and holy crap! I'm willing to concede the title of best receiving corps in the conference to USC based on their top 2, but after that, it's gotta be Wazzu.
Biggest surprise: We've got co-winners at the receiver position with the Andrei Lintz ascension to potentially dominant slot receiver and the arrival of a walk-on transfer from Hawaii named Drew Loftus. I like to think I follow WSU football pretty darn closely, but I've gotta admit I'd never heard of Loftus until practices started. I still couldn't pick him out of a line-up, but that's OK because I can't imagine a situation in which I'd ever have to.
PDCPS - I think the starters will look something like this: LT - John Fullington, LG - Dan Spitz, C - Elliot Bosch, RG - Wade Jacobson, RT - Rico Forbes. If you were to put an entire second unit together, it would probably be: LT - Sam Jones (maybe?), LG - Zach Johnson, C - Matt Goetz, RG - Chas Sampson (maybe?), RT - Jake Rodgers
I don't feel great about having question marks in the mix when we're only listing a two deep, but there are some real unknowns in the mix when it comes to guys like Sam Jones, Niu Sale and Alex Mitchell. There's also Gunnar Eklund, Taylor Meighen and Denzell Dotson among others to sprinkle in some depth. It's hardly a proven unit, but there are certainly a bunch of guys available, so that's good? I guess?
In honor of the recently completed draft, let's close the book on the offense Mel Kiper, Jr. style:
When you look at a team like Washington State, you're lookin' at a team where you look out there and you see a lot of weapons. You look at a Marquess Wilson and a Dominique Williams and you see big time playmaking ability.You'd like to look out there and see a little more effort, but you look at the production and the production is there.You look in the slot and you look at a Bobby Ratliff who is Mr. Reliable and you look at an Andrei Lintz and you're lookin' at a guy with incredible physical tools. Then you look at a Jeff Tuel. You look at his injury history and it's not good, but you look at a Mike Leach offense and you expect a big year from Tuel. If you look out there and you're looking for an area of concern, it'd have to be the offensive line. You look at a John Fullington as a guy with NFL potential, but after that, you look at a lot of guys who really need to step up.
I'll be back, next Hump Day with a similar look at the new Mike Breske defense. Until then...
Calling out General Stiffmeister:
Didn't you say after the Tri-Cities Gala that Leach was thinking about Sam Jones on the Defensive Line? Just checking since the most recent Caple thing also indicated that Jones was slated for the O, which was his original position...
Wait, the 2nd best WR corp in the Pac-12 but it's made up of WAC talent?!
(And no, I'm not going to let this die until people STOP saying that Wulff recruited WAC talent)
@Soze I think what people are saying is that the WR talent Wulff recruited into our program is WHACK. Just sayin'.
@Soze Wulff did recruit WAC talent. Thats why we have been beaten like a WAC team against our conference opponents for the past 4 years. Nothing you say will ever change this.
By the way, Price never did well in recruiting, but when you go back and watch tape of dudes like Kevin McKenzie--man were those dudes FAST!
And above all, that's what I like about many of the kids Wulff brought in--we got much, much faster...and for WSU it ALWAYS HAS TO START WITH SPEED!
If I hear one more time about the Okie State game I'm going to puke. It was ONE game. If memory serves (I don't have a press book, and NO I'm not going to download it) it was at the end of Bennett's first year that we lost by 1 to #1 Stanford (and should have won the game). The best move ever in WSU athletics was hiring Dick Bennett. The single worst move was freaking Terrell and whoever the freaking AD was allowing Marv Harshman to leave to go to the UW.
1) The 2008 team was not 3rd and 4th string players. And I am uninformed? Do you watch Cougar football?
2) The 2008 USC game was a complete disgrace. Wulff gave up the second the game started. Better yet, he didn't even try. That was clear to anyone with a functioning set of eyes and functioning brain that watched the game.
3) He absolutely gave up in the 2011 Apple Cup. Punting when you are down 3 scores in the 4th quarter? That is the exact definition of quitting.
With that said, I'm done talking about this.
I now see just how blind and uninformed you are GO. You're comparing a team of 3rd and 4th string players CPW inherited to a team of with a history of domination. WTF? Give credit where credit is due! Wulff probably wasn't going to have any team running for the roses every year, or even every other year, but he could, and did recruit. HE NEVER QUIT!!! Neither did the team. I was at those games, and I never once saw the team quit. They were outplayed by a large margin, but they NEVER QUIT! Give it a rest already, and move on.
I'm sorry, Geoff and bpcog54 make us Wulff-haters look very bad. This are some simply irrational attacks going on. BTW: 69-0 wasn't quitting, it wasn't even trying. You can't quit if you don't even show up to try!
As I said before, PW failed because he tried to implement his "RS all frosh" plan when we clearly needed guys who could play right away.
As to recruiting, guys like Wilson, Tuel, Long, Buccanon, (williams twins) are special. Clearly we have had glaring issues at recruiting DL. But this WAC mumbo jumbo talk would have been appropriate in the first 2 years and maybe year 3 as some of these guys matured, but there was clearly a difference last yr in the play and talent level displayed. Even as an anti-Wulff guy I saw that. Quit with the WAC crap. If this team doesn't win 6 games I am going to be steamed! If you don't see or think that, you are of the mentality that Moos is trying to do away with.
@bpcoug54 I give up.
I just thank god every day that we hired Mike Leach so he'll take these shitty WAC players to a bowl game.
Wasn't Mike Prices' recruits a bunch of one star nobodies? Yet, they still found a way to win. I think the majority of our success this year will be through Leach's creativity with the X's and O's. However, to consider our team down and out because of our recruiting history is just ignorant. Also, if you didn't see evidence of a 6 win team last year, then you need glasses.
Soze, have you paid attention to the offers we have given and the commits we have gotten, under Wulff ? We have beaten out the likes of New Mexico, Idaho, Sac State, Montana, CUSA schools, ; basically NO Pac12 schools . Above , you listed 20 players who you are :"grateful" for. Fine, I'll give you Tuel, Long, Buchanon (although he had a dreadful 2011 year), and Wilson. That's 4 players out of 100. Of the others listed: any all-conference? all-freshman? Players who would start for any other Pac12 team? We have richly deserved our rankings of last in Pac12 recruiting. That's why we suck on the field.
Be honest everyone. If Wulff had started winning with Doba's players, who would have gotten the credit? I say Wulff. Did Graham get the credit when Dick Bennett almost immediately transformed his players into some semblance of a BKB team? No. Where is the evidence that Wulff could have gotten 6 wins in 2012, when he never got more than 4? None. I look at last year's team and see 2 wins. Beating ISU and UNLV was meaningless. We were lucky to beat Colorado. 6 wins out of this 2012 team with a very weak OL and DL would be a big success for Leach.
As far as talent goes, I think our squad is has a lot of untapped talent. Luckily, we have the Gordan Bombay of college coaches. Leach has a natural talent for developing OK players into Great players. With that in mind, I will hold judgement until after fall camp. For now, I'm still a firm believer that this talented group of players will take us to a bowl game next year. I'm also pretty sure that a year from now, G.O. will still be trolling the boards asking for PW's head.
@GeoffONeil Say what you want about Wulff's recruiting, but I'm thankful for: Jeff Tuel, Marquess Wilson, Carl Winston, Travis Long, Deone Buchanan, Rahmel Dockery, Sekope Kaufusi, C.J Mizell (I mean, he did have that suplex), John Fullington, Rickey Galvin, Connor Halliday, Andrei Lintz, Nolan Washington, Casey Locker, Marcus Mason, Jake Rodgers' hair, Darryl Monroe, Eric Oertel, Toni Pole, Tana Prichard, Chester Su'a, Cody Clements, Austin Apodaca, Dominique Williams and Kristoff Williams
@Soze No, I am saying Mike Leach is going to at least try. He isn't going to give up before the game even starts. He isn't going to lay down like Wulff did that day. That act alone should have gotten him fired. Easily one of the most embarrassing days in the history of WSU football, and it was perpetrated by an alum no less.
And Wulff recruited plenty of terrible players and people. Half of the 08 and 09 classes aren't even around anymore.
@GeoffONeil Holy shit, really!? So, you are saying that Mike Leach is going to coach that 2008 WSU team (god bless them) to a competitive game against a team of NFL players on a college football field? You are high as a kite, my friend.
Did CPW succeed at his job? No.
Did he deserve to be fired? From a W's and L's perspective, yes.
Did he recruit shitty players? Hell no.
This comment is a perfect illustration of the kind of vitriolic hatred that infects the wulff haters. Its just irrational nonsense. There is nobody in and around the program that doesn't think this staff was working their tails off. They deserve criticism for blowing the OSU game and the Apple Cup, nobody should be satisfied with those efforts, but this whole quitter thing is just total nonsense.
@Longball @Sutra @Soze Sure they will win a couple of Pac 12 games, they did that last year. They might even win 4 conference games. That means that Wulff recruited mediocre talent. If they go even 5-4 in conference next year, I'll happily eat my crow, but I'm not holding my breath.
And for the record, Moos brought in a guy who felt could excite the fanbase and win over the long term, not just someone he felt could win now.
@GeoffONeil @Sutra @Soze As i stated in my comment, Moos thinks we are ready to win now, he brought in a guy he thinks can make it happen. In other words, we have the players... now. This team is going to win Pac-12 games with the talent Paul Wulff recruited. that is going to happen, and you are going to need to adjust your "bare cupboard" argument when it does.
Also, WAC teams get blown out by 3-9 BCS conference teams, just like happened to us.
I'm willing to admit Wulff improved the team, But going from historically awful to bad is nothing to brag about. And if Bill Moos disagreed, he wouldn't have fired him. So please don't try and spin a guy getting canned into "Moos knows how well Wulff recruited."
I don't care about winning "Star" battles, what I care about is not having gaps on our roster that allow a transfer from Western Washington to walk onto our team and see significant playing time. Leach should and will recruit at about the same level as Price did, which is light years better than how well Wulff was able to recruit.
First of all, no duh, Mike Leach gets more kids around the country to answer the phone than Paul Wulff does. Thats (one of many reasons) why we pay him 4 times as much. Not sure who was arguing about that.
We can trade examples of whether last years team was competitive or not all day, like I would say... Lots of WAC teams go into Autzen with their backup QB and outgain the Ducks. Uh huh, right. Im long past the point of expecting the hardened Wulff haters to admit that significant and hard fought gains were made between 2008 and 2011. Apparently there is no difference between the team that took the field in 2008-09 and what we saw this year. Got it. But I can tell you this, Bill Moos himself disagrees with you. We have the kids to win now, Mike LEach knew it when he took the job. those kids were recruited by Paul Wulff and since nobody answers the phone when he calls, he had to look in less known places for kids who were undervalued for whatever reason. he was doing that pretty damn well.
And for the record, Mike Leach isn't exactly a magnet for tons of four star talent historically. he is going to have a similar diamond in the rough recruiting philosophy, but with some much higher notoriety to work with. If you are expecting us to start winning the "star" battle against UW you will be dissapointed.
@GeoffONeil @Longball @Sutra @Soze Let's not forget that the old staff also recruited a pretty good stable of quarterbacks including a guy that Athlon deemed third best in the conference. The talent pool is lacking at spots no doubt (particularly in the trenches), but to say it is lacking across the board is probably overstating it. The truth surely lies somewhere in the middle between "Wulff left no talent" and "We have several guys with all-conference talent". Sticking just to the offense, I'd say that at QB, WR and RB we're at least at an average Pac 12 level and along the line, we're substandard right now.
@Longball @Sutra @Soze We didn't have a farm left to sell though, Wulff had already given it away. We fired incompetent coaches who shied away from recruiting with our peers and literally gave up in multiple games so that we could bring in a staff that knows what it is doing and isn't afraid of the challenges this situation presents.
The difference was noticed almost immediately when Leach signed guys that Wulff couldn't even get to answer the phone (or didn't bother to call).
As for the assistant coach, he was probably playing the role of overly critical, but he isn't wrong about a lack of talent across the board on this team. We beat two terrible teams in conference last year, that is it. We also got blown out by quite a few conference teams, including one that won 3 games all year.
@GeoffONeil @Sutra @Soze I'll tell you right now, 4 wins this year would be nothing short of a total face plant for this staff. We didn't just sell the farm to bring in a group of coaches who can barely duplicate the results of the last staff. Im pretty sure that ASU, Oregon, UTah, UCLA, Colorado don't feel like they played against a WAC team last year.
I also keep hearing about this particular "cougar assistant" who was apparently making sure everyone within ear shot at these Night with Cougar Football events knew that they didn't have any good players on this team. Sounds like the kind of expectations Mike LEach is real fond of. Sure hope for his sake he's renting and not buying like most of the Coug assistants cause he is not in line with what his boss is preachin.
@Sutra @Longball @Soze And further, all you have to do is look at the schools we have been competing with for the past 4-5 years for recruits to confirm that we were in fact recruiting WAC talent. Wulff was not some magician who could unearth an entire football roster of BCS level players that no one else could find. Hence 9-40.
I can't believe this is actually still a debate.
@GeoffONeil Hard to believe the 2nd best WR corps in the Pac-12 is "WAC talent."
That Mel Kiper analysis made my head hurt. It was either that or the three cups of joe that I have slammed this morning!