Happy Monday Cougs, as we kick off another week. Lots to get to, not enough time to do it, so let's go.....
So we decided to run with another podcast last night, which you can catch here. It was a little bit of a "skeleton" crew, as it was Sutra, Longball and myself driving the bus. I'm not sure what we accomplished last night, other than we all kind of realize we're strugga-LING a bit right now? Anyway, check it out here.
NOTE - if you can't get it to play in your browser for some reason, you can always click here
WSU Football Blog Ballot - Week 3
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||--|
|4||Florida St. Seminoles||2|
|7||West Virginia Mountaineers||1|
|8||South Carolina Gamecocks||2|
|12||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||9|
|15||Ohio St. Buckeyes||-3|
|16||Kansas St. Wildcats||--|
|17||TCU Horned Frogs||-2|
|22||Michigan St. Spartans||-13|
|23||Mississippi St. Bulldogs||--|
|25||Boise St. Broncos||--|
|Dropouts: Virginia Tech Hokies, BYU Cougars, Tennessee Volunteers|
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »
Pretty impressed with the Pac-12 right now. Even with Cal losing at Columbus, they had the Buckeyes on the ropes and that game was in doubt. But of everything I saw this weekend, I have to say how stunned I was with how strong Stanford looked vs. USC! That second half especially, that Stanford defense was one of the most aggressive, angry, NASTY defenses that I've seen in a while. Everyone talked about how good they would be on defense this year coming in to the season, but that a lot of people were also saying they were "down" on Stanford for various reasons, but primarily on offense (no Andrew Luck, two starting linemen to the NFL, not great at WR). But to see them playing at that level against a team like USC was just incredibly impressive. Matt Barkley was under fire the whole second half, and there were many times where he was still trying to get into his drop after 5-7 steps and he had to get out of there. He was absolutely harassed and under duress the whole game. And they just punished USC's skill guys every time they caught the ball.
But overall, Arizona and UCLA still look strong, and even ASU gave it everything they had but coming up short vs. Missouri. Now, WSU and UW were both embarrassed against better teams on the road, so we didn't exactly hold up our end of the ship. And Colorado is an absolute train wreck right now. But now that the non-conference slate is pretty much over, a big time hat tip to the Pac-12 in general, because this first month has been a strong statement to the rest of the country. It's looking like a really good conference this year!
Meanwhile, the WSU QB situation continues to percolate. Christian Caple's latest has news from last night's practice that saw Jeff Tuel get some reps with the 1's. And per Caple, he looked pretty normal other than the knee brace. It's going to be an interesting week if they keep splitting up the reps like this in practice, and I have a feeling we may not be quite clear who will be behind center this Saturday until, well, this Saturday.
But there has already been a ton of debate in just one week about Tuel, Connor Halliday, and what to do at the QB spot. There are good points that have been made on both sides of the so-called argument, and it is a tough debate right now. My own personal belief has been that I was feeling very patient with Tuel and wanted him to get at least through the Colorado game, then make the call. But his knee injury seemed to have changed things a bit. How serious is the injury? We really don't know, but if he's in there taking reps with the one's again it can't be that bad.
But part of me is concerned with not just how the offense is sputtering at times right now, but the QB's have taken some big shots already three games in. What's going to happen when they line up against Oregon? If we see Tuel holding the ball too long for example, how in the world is he going to survive? This whole offense is designed to get that thing out of there as quickly as possible, but often times there is little pass protection back there beyond the front five linemen. If he's holding and/or hesitating with a knee that has already forced him to miss one game this year, and the O-line struggles to protect the QB, what's going to happen when Oregon pins their ears back and is flying around in a couple of weeks? I just hope we see a nice step forward this week vs. Colorado, no matter who is out there pulling the trigger.
And finally, if you want to debate the QB situation, go for it. But there have been a couple of really good things that came from Cougcenter lately, about the QB's and the offense in general. But this article from Brian Floyd regarding the QB's is just about the best perspective one should have right now. Per Floyd:
"The desire to pit one against another is strange to me. I like Tuel and want to see him succeed. I like Halliday and think he has an incredibly bright future, and also want him to succeed. Those aren't mutually exclusive. And there's no real need to create this battle royale -- two quarterbacks enter, one will leave beaten and broken, relegated to calling in signals."
You know, I think part of the QB stuff from the last week or so is just the nature of what is available to fans in these times that we live. Twitter is the 140-character blast of what you are thinking at that very moment, and there seem to be more and more people who aren't able to reel in the emotions before pounding out their immediate thoughts on the smart phone. When it's not a massive contest to try and be the funniest guy in the room, others are instantly reacting to whatever is put in front of them without much of a filter, and it's out there immediately for public consumption. It's the raw emotion of being a fan, but instead of saying it out loud at a game or a party, it's blasted out to twitter feeds. But this isn't breaking news or anything, I mean just go back and look at what some people have been tweeting during games and you get the idea. And it isn't just Twitter. The same goes for message board comments during games, or comments on open thread blog posts, etc. It's like we've got all these options to express what we are thinking at that very moment, and we do it all backwards now by speaking before thinking!?
But whatever. It's social media and it's not going to change. It's only easier and easier to express thoughts and opinions on the cusp of emotion. The reality is that we always had these opinions as fans, it just wasn't this easy as it is today to share them. So maybe this isn't that big of a QB controversy after all, and back in the old days there wouldn't be a whole lot to it because we didn't have the outlets that we do today? But there are so many ways for all of us to vent, that these types of situations now blow up because everyone can now weigh in with the opinion of the moment.
But I'm with Brian Floyd - let's give it time and see what happens. We are three games in to a brand new offense, and the growing pains have been extremely evident to anyone who has been paying attention. This is a young team too, just seven senior starters from last week's depth chart. Things could start to drastically improve now that these guys have game reps under their belts in the Leach offense and the Mike Breske defense. And these coaches have a track record of success. They are the ones sitting in the team meetings, studying game film and dissecting practice reps. They are really getting to know their players now that they have some game reps, and the players are getting to know these coaches a lot better now that they've "gone to battle" together, know what I mean? But the coaches are now understanding what they have and what they need to work on a hell of a lot better than me, you, or anyone else on the outside. So let's see what happens and not make final judgements based on what we've seen so far, for we still have NINE GAMES left in this season to see what we've got!
All for now. GO COUGS!