1) Bud Nameck asked about injuries. Wulff said that other than Chima Nwachukwu's ankle injury, that was really it in terms of players who were hurt during the Notre Dame game and are considered doubtful for this week. Wulff said "Chima is definitely doubtful for this week", so, looks like another setback to a starter in the secondary. They didn't discuss who would replace Chima as the starter at strong safety, but glancing at this week's depth chart, it appears Kyle McCartney is the primary backup. But according to Grippi, it sounds like Jay Matthews would move over there from his normal backup free safety spot. I guess we'll see on Saturday.
2) Nameck brought up the offensive line struggles vs. Notre Dame. Wulff said that "they were rusty" and that "Tyson Pencer, BJ Guerra and Zach Williams were all a little off" and "overall, the offensive line just didn't play well. We need to do a much better job of protecting the quarterback. We ARE CAPABLE in playing so much better, and we will play better on the offensive line."
I can't help but agree with much of what Howie Stalwick has to say. After all, he's got first-hand access to everything that's going on, the "source material" if you will. He has witnessed more than any of us in the blogosphere care to see, all the fall camp practices and such, and so he has some weight behind his assessment of where things are right now. While Stalwick harps on the usual can't-win-without-talent argument, one that I wholeheartedly agree with, well, the coaches don't exactly come off completely clean here either:
Do Wulff and his assistants get a free pass for the disastrous results of the past two years? Of course not. Last year, they tried to force-feed too much too soon on confused and frustrated players. This season, they refused to play Jeff Tuel — the best quarterback on the team, without question, from the first day of fall camp to the last — until the fourth game.
Yeah, yeah, we know — they wanted to redshirt Tuel, a true freshman. Well, they stayed with that plan for two whole games (although Tuel did not play for another week after that).
Sorry, but Tuel did not magically improve while carrying a clipboard the first two games. Nor did early starters Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael suddenly take drastic steps backward.See, there's blame to go around, above and beyond just the lack of talent. Wulff has admitted earlier this summer that perhaps they tried to throw too much, too soon at players who just weren't ready for it in 2008. But I seem to recall they threw out the no-huddle completely by the end of the first month of the season, so I guess they did at least try to "dumb things down" a bit?
Anyway, just how much can be laid at the feet of the coaches is obviously debatable. A great coach doesn't make a player suddenly run faster or jump higher or even lift more weight, although all reports are that the current strength program is absolutely fantastic in terms of packing on the beef. But anyone can look at the collection of talent Pete Carroll has managed to amass in his time at SC and realize that talent matters a helluva lot! Or you can go look at the programs that have been putting players in the NFL draft the last several years.
Think it's any coincidence USC has had SIXTY players drafted into the NFL the last 10 years, tops in the conference? Or how about our 0-fer friends in Montlake, with ZERO draftees the last two years? Think that lack of talent that can play on Sundays had anything to do with 0-12 last year? For what it's worth, UW is 9th in the conference with just 19 players picked the last 10 years.....but can you guess who's last? This one's a layup. Yep, WSU. 17 players the last 10 years taken in the draft, just six taken on the first day. And the only first round pick? Marcus Trufant, 2003. That's it folks.
Happy Monday Cougs. Big thanks to our friend Lucas, who made the trip down to San Antonio to check this Halloween game out vs. the Irish. Lucas was cool enough to provide the following recap to the blog! Note....check out the picture above. Look at the very lop-left, to the last seat in the whole place. It's hard to tell from this picture, but yep, it's a Coug in a #17 jersey, sleeping one off. I'm sure none of you have EVER been there before??
Here you go. Enjoy the recap, and GO COUGS!
SeanHawk reached out to me yesterday to get a first hand experience of the weekend. So it started with a 10am flight from Seattle to Austin on Thursday morning, and the flight was full of Cougar Fans. If you ever make the trip to San Antonio and hate to take connecting flights, it was well worth my parent's extra couple hundred dollars to fly to Austin and make the hour drive; I was planning to go regardless, but when the Old Man decided to make the trip, it made things way more flexible on the old bank account.
So the whole River Walk experience was unbelievable. Think Bourbon Street, but 2 million times cleaner. Think Mill Ave in Tempe minus the oodles of bleach blonde jail bait. And whatever you do, don't think of University Ave on Muttlake! Tons of cool little bars and restaurants, set about 50 feet below street level, with cool man made river that goes between it. Things got a little crazy after a few Hurricanes at the World Famous Pat O'Brien's! Then we wandered to Dick's Last Resort where apparently after I went home for the night, The Old Ball Coach Jim Walden stood up on a table and lead a bunch of drunk Cougs in singing the fight song.
Saturday started with some Bloody Mary's and some more River Walking; oh, and did I mention there is no Open Container Law on the Walk?
Moving on, we finally made our way to the Alumni Association Pre Funk at Sunset Station. For a measly $45 each you could wait in 30 minute lines to get the 2 beer limit. Good thing it was all you can drink and the "bartenders" could be bought. Butch, President Floyd, the cheerleaders and Jim Sterk all made cameos. There was also a guy rocking Tom Tuttle jersey. I must say, it was pretty fricking sweet to see 5000 Cougs doing what we do best, getting down!
The Alamo Dome itself is huuuuuge, think Kingdome, but way bigger; oh and there were no ceiling tiles that fell. So as the game started and we got to our seats, I bet I was asked by at least 10 different UND "fans" why so many people traveled to watch a crappy football team. Man I got sick of that question, but I just told them that is what we do. It was fun to point out which idiots didn't actually go to Notre Dame.
Hello Followers. Hope you’ve had a nice weekend.
I know that I, for one, really enjoyed the extra hour of rest.
In fact, I slept so well, I ALMOST forgot that we had a game last night.
I don't know which was worse, to be honest - the defensive line that was getting blown off the ball so badly, with holes that seemed five to ten yards wide? Or the offensive line that just couldn't establish any kind of running game early nor give young Tuel time to pass, early on when it mattered? Take your pick, either side of the fence was pretty bad.
And on top of all that, a familiar refrain - lack of speed is beyond obvious now. When Notre Dame's backup tight end is running down Chima Nwachukwu from behind, when he's 15 yards behind him when Chima grabbed the blocked extra point? Wow. They just don't have wheels, really anywhere, defensively. In the old days, we used to be smaller than your average defense, but we always had "cats" who could fly around, make plays and most of all, could RUN with almost any offense out there. Quickness and speed was everywhere, from defensive ends to linebacker to the secondary. Those days are long, long gone.
In the "small wins" department, things that we try to hang our hat on right now because we quite honestly cannot compete otherwise? Nice to see Jared Karstetter's two TD catches, but those were his only two catches on the game. Can't complain about touchdowns, but you know the kid has ability. They need to find a way to get him involved beyond just throwing fades into the end-zone.
Dwight Tardy and Logwone Mitz had some decent moments, running the ball with some pop at times. But their chances to shine were far and few between, and non-existent early on.
Who knows what the answer is to all this. Keep recruiting BCS athletes who can come in and compete for immediate playing time, I guess that's one thing they'll keep doing. Otherwise, we wait and hope that all this youth can develop into something to be reckoned with.
That's it for now. Happy Halloween, and GO COUGS.
I think Robb Akey made it clear that the former staff isn't thrilled with some of the things that have come out since Doba's departure in that article in the Times earlier this month. But what can you do? Pretend the program wasn't falling apart at the end of Doba's tenure? Ignore the APR problems, the arrests, the recruiting problems, etc? It is what it is, pure and simple.
That's it for now. We will be back later, after the game, as well as tomorrow. ENJOY THE NBC BROADCAST today, in what will be the closest thing to a bowl-game feel that we've had since '03. GO COUGS!
Happy Hallows Eve Coug Nation! Time for another Football Friday. Here we go:
Hello Followers. Hope you are having a great week.
Well, if you remember back to the Hot Days of August, I gave you the games that I thought we could compete in. I also gave you the games where we have no chance. And, if you remember, I coined the whole thing “hope” or “nope.”
And so, for the fifth time this year, this Saturday brings about a game that I put in the “Hope” column. So, the main question driving this Halloween Edition of Football Friday is as follows: “Was Sutra trickin’ or was he treatin’?”
Wanna know? Then read on...no comments
Want to know even MORE about Notre Dame on Saturday? Continue on....
I heard from Sutra today, and he openly asked why, exactly, would they not televise the WSU - Arizona game? They heard you my friend, loud and clear, as Fox Sports College and FSN Northwest have picked that sucker up. Ok, so it's Fox College Sports. Not sure if we will get a big check outta that one? As Bud Withers wrote on Wednesday, just because you are ON THE TV doesn't exactly mean you get a big fancy check, know what I mean?
That said, I really wonder if there still might be a money-making opportunity here for WSU. OK, so the networks don't like us. Fair enough, I mean 3-17 the last year-plus in a small media market doesn't exactly scream RATINGS, does it? But at the very least, I wonder what would it take to get all the Pac-10 games streamed online? Other schools have done this, even Oregon up here in the northwest have made some home games available on "DuckVision" or whatever they call it (more like YuckVision). I know I'd pay $10 or so to have the game stream on my PC screen, at least if there was no other alternative to see it. If you've been to a WSU home game lately, you know that they show basically the entire game on the big screen, utilizing the in-stadium cameras. Why not stream that feed with the radio broadcast over the top of the video? Oh, I'm sure there are many bells-n-whistles and bright, shiny objects that prevent this from happening. And the logistics are far too complex for my simple mind in understanding the difficulty in pulling something like this off......but still, doesn't it at least seem like the technology not only exists, but is already in place to make it happen?
Speaking of video, another week, another TV show, chalk full of on-the-field highlights from the Cal game. I also included some of the better sound bytes from coach Wulff's talk with Jen Mueller.
Check it out after your standard "read more".....
And here is what Keith had to say about the state of the Notre Dame program, Charlie Weis and his ongoing job security rumors, some key players to watch we might not be familiar with, and of course, a prediction. Check it out after the read more.....