Hello Followers. Hope your election week is off to a good start.
Well, with the news that Marquess Wilson has quit the WSU Football team, all hell seems to have broken loose in and around Cougar Nation.
In fact, judging just by both my Facebook Page as well as my inbox, Cougar Nation seems divided evenly onto either side of Rusty's (pictured above) klassic kiester.
So, in an effort to call a spade a spade, I put together two and a half thoughts. For more on that, read on.
Followers, news of Wilson's departure follows most of the debate that divides us nationally. On one hand, we have the "player apologists" who think that there are other forms of motivation that work for today's kids more than the Bobby Knight "My way or the highway" approach. Of course, on the other side of the ledger (e.g. Crack) are the " Leach Defenders." Their point: When a 2-6 team shows up flat and gets their doors blown off, there is only one remedy: Separate the kids who want to be there from the kids who are content to just let the whole thing play out. And, as we are all well aware, that "Aw Shucks, we'll try harder next time" approach gets your teeth kicked in on most Saturday afternoons/evenings.
So, while it is tempting to take a side and just go off until we all go to blows, I thought I'd just split the middle and call a spade a spade. And it goes like this:
1) If this team beats UCLA on Saturday, then all of this is chatter becomes Moot in a hurry. So, the smart money suggests that we should just all sit back, suck our thumbs, watch the election, and see what happens on what figures to be a very cold Saturday night game in November.
2) If this team gets blown out on Saturday, then the situation will truly become what it appears to be right now: A dire one.
And at that point, it really doesn't do any good to point fingers, other than to signal the direction that is needed going forward. And truly, that direction is determined COMPLETELY by Moos' bottom line. And that bottom line is money.
You see, the calculus in firing Wulff and hiring Leach was more than just wins and losses. It was about putting butts in the seats (e.g. "adding the sizzle to the steak.") And while I don't think that Moos was clueless about this team's talent level, he clearly figured that if we were going to lose over the next few years, we were going to do so in grand fashion. Namely, he had to figure that the L's were going to be of the 49-46 variety---not the 49-6 kind we witnessed on Saturday.
Unfortunately, and as we've all seen at various points of each game throughout the year, our team is woefully undertalented, particularly on the offensive line. And while effort can certainly cure some of those ills, we all know that effort is only part of the calculus of winning. And since Leach is still recruiting RS candidates along the offensive line (e.g. 2 star kids that are really big), one can only surmise that while help may be coming, that help is a long way from realizing its potential.
So, as well look forward, we can all say that --barring two wins in the stretch run, plus Tuel returning--that this team will be the universal pick to finish last in the Pac-12 North again next year. And probably, the year after that as well.
And for that reason, Mr. Moos has to be looking squarely at his pocket book and wondering where he goes from here. Does he have enough confidence that Leach will be able to bring in the O-Linemen needed to make the Air Raid go? Will Leach be able to bring in those type of JC recruits in time to salvage his reputation and quiet the "Craig James was right" critique that is getting louder and louder on message boards and booster club meetings? Will the facility enhancements be enough to see us through another 4 year rebuild--and more importantly--will the fans and boosters continue to support the program with $$ in the form of attendance and donations?
Of course, none of those questions can be answered by any of us right now. So, in light of that basic fact, perhaps we can all agreee that this is NOT the season that anyone predicted (and those of you who say who you did--you're lying if you thought that we weren't going to be able to score). And above all, perhaps we can all agree that this current predicament was unfathomable and/or unimaginable to Moos just 10 short weeks ago.
But, now that we're here, there's only one thing to do: Hope that our kids rally around their coach, themselves, and/or their school this Saturday and/or the rest of the season. Cuz truly, the alternative is pretty dark, painful, and fully representative of the final destination on Rusty's vertical divide.
So, lets just all hope for the best, shall we?
All for now. Go Cougs.
Clearly we have issues, mostly that we are talent-short. And yes that last game did lack effort.
I'm just concerned that we are not dealing with these issues in a very professional way. Rants, name calling and being borderline abusive are not what successful programs are doing. It's sort of like dial-up internet.
I'm going to go ahead and be real unpopular here. Suprised? With MW leaving that makes 18 scholarship players who have left for various reasons, that's 24% of our 75 scholarship limit. Now, kids don't walk from a team when they've "bought in" to what the coaches are doing. This is jusy sad, sad, even more sad. I know people are still prasing CML as the second coming of Christ, and Swing Your Sword is the next book of the Bible, but that's not what this season or program were to be about. It was about bringing in a big time coach to take this team to a bowl this year, not destroy it. And I was really hoping for that. I was saving up money and vacation time to go hog wild some place this year for a bowl, I mean were talking hookers and blow the whole way! (should have gone to the UNLV game, I know, I know) But that's not reality.
Here's reality: Our team is in shambles. Our program is in shambles. People are throwing vitriolic hate at our players, especially MW today for leaving. And our players do not deserve this callous attitude toward them like they are surfs or servants to do our bidding. They're students, not employees. We are looking at a four or five year rebuilding program. And we stand as a nation divided.
And here's where I'm really gonna piss people off: I BLAME MIKE LEACH. It's his fault for this. Blame the kids if you want, but he's supposed to be the adult in the room and he's throwing temper tantrums when he doesn't win and calling our players zombies, cowards, walking dead, whatever. And here's another piece of reality, and one I don't like to admit - Leach is here to stay.
I am so utterly depressed. Team, if your reading, beat UCLA this weekend. We really need something to feel good about.
GO COUGS! - Fuck Mike Leach.
@ErikAnderson Ya you need to move out of your parents basement. Ask kramer what he thought of the talent Wulf had at WSU when he brought in as a consultant? The point being to win this argument you put a person in the positon to attacking our own team like a husky and the way you go after Leach there I might accuse you as much. However, I doubt erik you ever ran an organization or were in charge of recruiting or retaining young men because if you had there is only so much you can do when they have the choice to leave or participate.
@ErikAnderson I appreciate the fact that he doesn't piss on our shoes and tell us it's raining. He's a straight shooter, and I think he's guilty of giving us a completely honest assessment of our team, something we haven't been given in a long, long time.
He takes responsibility for it at every press conference I've watched. And secondly, he has not once bemoaned the talent the previous coaching staff recruited.
All this news just makes me more anxious to see the game this weekend against UCLA. On one hand, I can see an inspired performance where the guys rally around each other, play hard and make it a competitive, high-effort game which was obviously lacking against the Utes. On the flip side, I can see a totally flat performance and UCLA beating us by 30+ points, which I would have to think is just going to ratchet up the talk about the state of this program even more and lead to a ton of questioning about what exactly Leach is doing.
We all need to realize that Leach is gonna be around for awhile unless he pulls a Marquess and quits. We paid big money to get him and need to see this thing through. Whether we think Wulff got shafted and was the right guy for the job (count me in that group), we have made a enormous financial commitment to Leach that we are going to have stick with. Maybe Leach needs a few classes of his guys to get this thing turned around (not totally convinced by that mantra but thing it could have some substance depending on what kind of talent he can recruit). Everyone is really down on the state of the program right now, as they should be, but a hard-fought game on Saturday could do a lot for what many people think of WSU football right now.
The worst thing about all of this, I truly believe that you need former players to care about a program to build sustained success. The former players are the ones that put their blood, sweat and tears into the program and are the most likely to financially give over the regular joe blow fans. However, we now have had 5 years of bad football and 9 years without a bowl (those that 4 years of Doba don't look to bad aye?)
We have had lack of continuity at HC position, and I just keep wondering when will this merry go around end. I donate my own money and volunteer my time to raise money for Coug athletics and things like these just hurt. You hate to see good kids quit. I understand that maybe he is soft, but he is just a kid and kids do stupid things utilizing emotion rather than rational thought process to make decisions.
When will this end???????????????????????????? I am truly tired of it.
@ptowncoug3012 It will end when we stop blaming the head coach. Leach is the guy, the players come and go. Let them. If Marquess quits, someone needs to step up and fill his shoes.
I'm glad to see that everyone seems to be on the same side of the "crack" on this blog. Hopefully the team is supporting Leach as well. Who knows what's really going on behind the scene though...
@LACoug for what its worth, I would say >90% of the reactions I've seen on social media are supportive of Leach
I'm behind Leach 110%. I am a big MQW fan, but think he really regressed this season. MQW pretty much exemplifies what the Cougs have been about the past few years: loads of potential and nothing more. The kid is blessed with talent, but instead of working as hard as he should have been working, he up and left practice. I was certain he'd be a first round pick come season's end (as did many NFL scouts I'm sure). A quarter of the way through, MQW probably played his way out of the first day of the draft...at this point, I can't see him getting drafted at all.
I really feel for this young man, because he really does seem like he was very solid as a person. I actually sat next his folks at the OSU game, and they were really good folks.
I hope he can be convinced to tuck his tail between his legs, and go back to the team. If he doesn't he stands to lose possibly millions of dollars. I really wish Brandon Gibson would pick up the phone and give MQW a call, just to show support. Gibson played his tail off, and it's paying dividends for him on Sundays...clearly he had what it takes to succeed.
I totally get what Coach Leach is referring to when he refers to "corpses" and "zombies"...for a fanbase that gets riled up as ours, our players are really not carrying that passion on the field. This season particularly, the Coug nation really stepped up and did its part by opening up checkbooks and showing up to games. I firmly believe 2014 is when we will finally hit pay dirt on our investments. If we stuck with Paul Wulff and his way of doing things, I think we would probably have delayed the inevitable and seen his firing around that exact time.
This news really, really, really sucks.
IMHO, this isn't even about siding with anyone. Every player should show up ready to earn the #1 spot each practice, day in, day out. Wilson obviously never heard the Rocky Balboa or "I Am a Champion" speech. It doesn't matter who the coach is, or how hard they are pushing you. You either put out or get out. Quitting and winning are both mental decisions. It you put out upfront, you get rewarded in the end, and that's not what Wilson has been doing. You want to know of an exemplary player on this team who has? Travis Long. And it's heart breaking to see how passionate he is about this team and its success. Despite the numbers Wilson has put up, this team is better off without him.
Clean house Leach, do what you need to do. Whoever thinks he has crossed the line or gone too far then maybe Football isn't the right sport for you, maybe you should get into field hockey or something like that.
Wilson is a premadonna more interested in looking at Mel Kiper's weekly draft stock rater vs getting himself ready to play. Other then us adding another name to our paltry stable of NFL caliber talent he is worthless t this program unless he adjusts his attitude (which isn't very likely so have fun in the CFL kid.)
As a 20 year Coug and one that has watched probably every game through the good and the bad this pains me to say. We might be the worst program in D-1. I am not talking team, I am talking all up program. Sure some have excuses like Duke or Indiana cause they make no secret about what they care about, hoops. WSU doesn't have that excuse, we are a football school plain and simple.
Two decades ago (ugh that is so long) there was a similar program out there, Oregon State. They were a decade long dog of the conference. They would swap in coaches, change uniforms, adopt new slogans, but would still lose every single week. Well what changed, they got a coach in there who threw everything out the window, ripped all the losing out from its roots and look where they are. Bowl teams who can consistently compete.
Im with Leach. We're talking about a group of guys whos BEST RECORD was 4-8. Clearly something has to change, whether it is group mentality or just getting new athletes. Its hard to watch the change though, over the past few years we have come to love a few of these guys (Long, Wilson, Tuel, etc).
@CPtheCoug Which is twice as many wins are they're going to get this year. I'd make a small wager more than they'll get next year.
Marquis Wilson has been a problem wtih Leach since spring ball. This is nothing new, we just believed he had changed his attitude. It ticks me off to no end that Wilson can't buck it up and play. If this is the way he approaches things, he'll do nothing at next the next level.
However, Leach is right at the end of the day. Marquis Wilson has dropped countless balls this year and had underplayed to his potential. Just becasue your below average play is better the above average for other players doesn't mean you are entitled to a spot on the team. Everyone plays hard as a team, everyone puts equal effort. Jeff Tuel who has been arguably treated much worse than Wilson has handled things completely different and should be a the model. Leach didn't get lucky for 10 season at Texas Tech and those saying he should go or James was right are off their rocker in fantasy land.
@AdamNiehenke No only will he do nothing at the next level, he shouldn't even MAKE IT to the next level. His career should end here. I hope everyone who is watching him realizes that unless he is coddled he won't cooperate, and even then, he just does the minimum to get by. I wouldn't want this guy on my team. I DON'T want him on this team. Forget his numbers, he doesn't deserve all of the credit he has earned.
@NavyCoug Navy and Adam,
You should at the bare minimum if you are choosing to bash a young man at least state all of the facts. Marquess Wilson also played and received a concussion this year on a really nasty hit. Don't forget the speed he had on a Colorado touchdown that none of the rest of our receivers would have been able to complete.
Don't ignore that something is really going wrong with this team and although we all appreciate all that Travis Long does he reportedly has come very close to decking Leach and several of his assistants.
I for one, hope and pray that Marquess Wilson has all the success in the future including in pro ball. The young man doesn't deserve the vitriol you have stated above.
Injuries aside, MW hasn't put forth the effort on the field when it counts...during games. He's dropped balls that were delivered in his hands. I don't know how much you've watched him this year, but from my seats, his performance and effort are VERY sub-par.
He can't control what CML does, but he can control what he does, and he quit instead of putting out the effort. He is a very sepcial talent. The problem is he's trying to get by with that alone. I'm sad to see him go, but I think it may be best for the team if not for him. At best, he'll be a free agent come draft time.
@NavyCoug @wrichstrom Blaming the season's fortunes on Marquess Wilson is absolutely ridiculous. And it is equally ludicrous to suggest that the school's all-time leading receiver--and one of the most prolific in the history of the conference--hasn't earned his success.
COME ONE PEOPLE, GET A GRIP!!!
It is, however, reasonable to question Marquess' grit and maturity, and it is also reasonable to question the motivational tactics employed by the coaches around him.
Unfortunately, because none of us are privy to those dynamics, we can only GUESS. Final point: Greg Poppovich has been notorious for making his star player, Tim Duncan, THE EXAMPLE in practice and during time outs. Tim has always accepted being yelled at as part of his role as team leader. And to that, I say "good for him." At the same time, I am beyond open to the possibility that while such a Duncan-like posture might be ideal, maybe its a bit too much to expect that out of everyone?
@wrichstrom I don't have any respect for quitters. Life gets tough. If you wanna be great, you have to be willing to earn it every week. Marquess has talent. He squanders it because he fails to try hard and put forth the effort asked of him. My comments are not vitriolic, they are the truth. If he put out like the guys Leach actually praises, I bet we'd be seeing different scores this season, to say the least.
Well said. You should try being a guru sometime. That said, when I saw Keith Lincoln at the late summer scrimmage, he told me we would win 4 games. I thought he was crazy at the time. I could see at least 6 and possibly 7 or 8 if everything fell into place. It now looks as if Mr. Lincoln was optimistic.
I hope the "Leach" players do rally around their coach and come out Saturday night and kick ass. I don't see a real chance for a win since we simply don't have the horses at this point. The good thing is there is not quit in the team as a whole. They've made some dumb mistakes this year, but they havn't quit.