Feed / Fri, 19 Apr 2013 23:04:22 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.1 (obRSS 1.8.11) /images/ Feed / Can't Make it to Joe Albi? Hang Out Here! /2013-articles/april/can-t-make-it-to-joe-albi-hang-out-here.html Some of you may be have wondered where I’ve been, most of you probably have not. Anyway, I am just a few winks removed from my deeeeeeeeep sports hibernation that occurs every year after the NCAA tournament wraps up.

For some people its flowers or groundhogs or birds that signal the return of Spring, but for me its baseball, the Masters and Spring football. This week Spokane is getting the full-Moos treatment as the WSU Athletic Department paints the town Crimson with lots of events all culminating in Saturday’s Crimson and Gray scrimmage at Joe Albi Stadium. Last year Amieable and I were lucky enough to make the trek to Spokane for the big game, but we aren’t so lucky this year. That means I will be available to man the ole blog tomorrow. So if you are stuck far away from the action like we are, just grab your favorite cold beverage and join me here where we’ll live blog the sights and sounds delivered to us via Pac-12 Net from Joe Albi (Unless you’re a Direct TV customer, that is).

 

Coverage: 2:00 pm PT on Pac-12 Net


GO COUGS!

 

 

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2013-04-20T03:01:01+00:00 /2013-articles/april/can-t-make-it-to-joe-albi-hang-out-here.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Links 'n Stuff Edition /2013-articles/april/wazzu-morning-drip-links-n-stuff-edition.html http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net/photos/large/756288830.jpg

Hooray April Baseball.

Happy Humpday Cougs, as we hit the mid-point of the week and barrel towards another weekend.  Of course, we hope all is well in your corner of the world.

So those M's, yeesh.  They were buried by the best AAAA-level team in baseball history last night, as the Astros hung up 16 runs on Brandon Maurer and Kameron Low, among others.  But hey, they fought their way back in front of a few friends and family as shown above, and wow, they scored 9 runs (most this season in a single game!).  But who cares, right?  It's early April still, it's a LOOOOONNNNNG season ahead and well, these things happen.

Crazy how bad the attendance was last night though.  Just an announced crowd of 10K, a record low at the Safe, somewhere in there?  It's not like the AAAA-stros are much of a draw (see what I did there?), and on a Tuesday night in April it would be surprising if they approached 15K last night.  And that picture isn't exactly fair, I mean the game was long over by the time it was tweeted out by Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.  But I do believe the M's will draw better this year, simply because they will score more runs after an historically anemic offense the last few years.  Adding Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales will only help over the long haul (especially as the so-called young "core" of Ackley-Smoak-Montero continue to slog their way through the start of the season).  Once the kids get out of school and the weather warms up, with those moved in fences and all that I'm sure things will pick up.

Baseball attendance this early isn't just a problem here however.  Even in places like Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in NY, fans have been quick to bail out if things don't look promising:

http://cdn4.faniq.com/images/photos/photo_medium/44/file-22775444-445/Blog-Photo--Poor-attendance-as-Yankees-drop-Home-Opener-to-Red-Sox.jpg

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2012/0920/ny_e_citifield_b1_576.jpg

I don't know, maybe it's just my spotty/selective(?) memory, but I don't recall seeing fans bail so quickly compared to years past?  

It was kind of interesting, but I was talking to my brother-in-law on Easter and the topic of UW's stadium renovation came up (full disclosure:  he's a big Husky booster).  Anyway, he said that some of the things he's heard around Montlake is that the biggest thing even they face in selling tickets in Seattle is the 50-inch TV screen in so many homes nowadawys.  With the Pac-12 network showing every game on TV, it really has become an easy thing to "opt out" of, all things considered.  Would you rather stay home with friends and watch the game in crystal-clear HIGH DEF, while paying grocery store prices on food, use your own bathroom, no costs for parking, etc?  And hey, if the game turns out to be a stinker, you can always change the channel to something else or even just turn it off and do other things!  But I was surprised that even in big-city Seattle and the new Husky Stadium and all that, even they have to fight against the ease of TV and all that it brings for fans to still be part of it without, you know, being there.  

Of course, I'm not the first one to even suggest that attendance can be a problem.  But college football is a little different animal.  You only have a handful of home dates every year to deal with, and it's always an excellent chance to catch up with friends and make an event out of the whole thing.  It's not like MLB with 81 home games, or even the NBA with 40+ in the friendly confines.  I would fully expect that UW will fill that thing up next year, and if our Cougs can get off to a decent start, we'll see decent turnouts in Pullman as well.  

But whatever.  It's SPRING FOOTBALL season, after all.  On to the links!

Caple brings it with a couple of posts, one with a full recap of Spring Ball Day 9 and another with a feature on Rahmel Dockery.  Both are great reads, so I would highly encourage you to check them out.  Personally I was surprised at how close Dockery was to hanging it up in Pullman, but I am certainly encouraged by the positive reviews of his play at corner so far this spring.

On a national scale, Phil Steele has released what he calls the AP "Top 26", as he starts to really get serious about looking ahead towards 2013.  No, this isn't Steele's own Top-25 rankings, only what he projects that the AP will say once that poll comes out.  And no, the Cougs aren't ranked (shocking), but 5 Pac-12 teams made the cut :

USC - 25
UCLA - 23
Oregon St - 21
Stanford - 4
Oregon - 3

Maybe a little surprised at how high Stanford is rated, but they do have a lot coming back next year (15 starters, plus they have the QB figured out in Kevin Hogan).  I also expected UW to be there, at least in the 20's, with a lot of returning starters and a favorable schedule.  And I guess we'll see on Oregon?

Finally, Athlon's came out with what they call the top 50 QB's of the BCS era.  Or, basically the top 50 QB's since 1998.  The top 10:

10. Kellen Moore (Boise State)
9. Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)
8. Chris Weinke (Florida State)
7. AJ McCarron (Alabama)
6. Michael Vick (Virigina Tech)
5. Robert Griffin III (Baylor)
4. Andrew Luck (Stanford)
3. Matt Leinart (Southern Cal)
2. Tim Tebow (Florida)
1. Vince Young (Texas)

I guess it's hard to argue with most of those names.  Personally the HOMER-Coug in me was hoping to see Jason Gesser on the list of the top 50, I mean the guy did win a bunch of games as the starter (most in school history) and was co-Pac-10 player of the year in 2002 with Carson Palmer.  For his career he threw for over 8800 yards and 70 TD's, certainly good enough for the top-50?  Then again, they rated the Heisman winner in Palmer as #51, and he threw for more yards and TD's than Gesser while winning the most coveted trophy in the sport!  So who knows.

That's it for now.  Enjoy your Humpday, and of course, GO COUGS! 

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2013-04-10T10:17:28+00:00 /2013-articles/april/wazzu-morning-drip-links-n-stuff-edition.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - One Shining Moment Edition /2013-articles/april/wazzu-morning-drip-one-shining-moment-edition.html http://i.imgur.com/c3AQLqY.jpg

Happy Tuesday Cougs, and here at blog we hope all is well with you and yours.  

So in what I can only call a fun, interesting game from start to finish, The Louisville Cardinals won it all last night, and in the process handed us the office pool championship!  That's right, even with picking just 1 team out of the Final Four in what is likely one of the worst-ever brackets to actually win, well, anything, Louisville's victory brought it home for us.  Yay Cardinals.  But I couldn't help but sit back and be riveted at the action last night.  I actually thought Michigan was going to win this thing, and man did they play well early on.  But Louisville kept hanging in there, and then made that huge run to end the first half and build serious "MO" to close out the half, and you knew it was going to be a barnburner the rest of the way!

What was really interesting was to see how, for the first time in this tournament, late in the game Michigan looked gassed?  Maybe it was just my imagination but it looked like they were wearing out down the stretch, that all that defensive pressure that Louisville threw at them all game finally started to take it's toll.  Watching Trey Burke at the free throw lane just struggling to catch his breath, you wondered how much he had left in the tank.  But that's just my completely uneducated look at things, I mean I know next to zip, zero, ZILCH about college hoops.  For those of you hoops junkies out there, did my eyes deceive me or was Michigan truly wearing out down the stretch?

And one cool moment to see Kevin Ware cut down the net at the end.  That broken leg will go down on the same level as Joe Theismann, I mean it's going to be something people will always remember from this tourney.  But it was really cool to see him get a piece of that thing after all he went through to help get the team to that point.  

One SHINING MOMENT Y'ALL!

One other thing for the hoops guys - can someone tell me why, exactly, more teams don't employ the Syracuse zone defense??  I am still amazed that Michigan figured out a way to beat them, and I guess big #4 in the middle, McGary, had to be special to beat 'Cuse.  But I watch that defensive scheme and was so amazed by what I saw out of them this year, and left thinking "Why doesn't a team like, oh, I don't know, WSU, employ something like that?"  Is it just too tough to coach and too intricate to learn the ins-and-outs unless you hire someone straight out of Boeheim's coaching tree to figure it out?  Or does it simply rely too much on great athleticism to cover all that ground?  Because I don't know about you, but watching that zone defense, I was just blown away at how hard it looked to just get a clean look at the hoop!  When you make teams work that hard to get good looks, you know that wears teams down as the game goes on and frustration starts to set in?  Anyway, as a hoops know-nothing, I'm hoping someone can fill me in/educate me/whatever.

On to the links....

As most of you are likely aware, the WSU spring game is next weekend (April 20th).  And none other than Howie Stalwick has a nice look at Spokane Week for WSU.  Per Howie, WSU is hoping for 15K at the spring game this year, up from something north of 10K last year?  

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ArCBa4UCAAAV-YQ.jpg:large

15K might be a little optimistic, coming off a 3-9 season and the scent seems, I don't know, somewhat "off" on the new coach smell?  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of Spokane Week and all that comes with it.  And isn't it pretty clear that Bill Moos and company continue to sharpen their focus on the Spokane market?  It is just 80 miles away and a few hundred thousand people call the Inland Empire their home.  But the event itself is well done for the whole week, and the game itself is free admission and it's pretty "kid friendly" from what we experienced the last couple of years at the spring game.  I guess we'll see how it all plays out, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were right around that 15K number when it's all said and done.

Unfortunately yours truly won't be in attendance this year (I know, I know).  Call me bandwagon or whatever you want, but we have other commitments on the 20th as my oldest son has a Lacrosse game AND he's in the school play this year (What????).  I am not sure of any of the other blogfathers will be there (Huddy?  Longball?  SUTRA??) but I hope it's a great experience for all of you.  I know I'll be DVR'ing it off the Pac-12 network and I do look forward to seeing what's up for this year.

Finally, a huge tip o' the hat towards former Supersonic great Gary Payton.  Yesterday was a huge day, as the Glove was officially announced as a Hall of Famer!  

http://nesncom.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/gary-payton.jpg?w=400&h=225

I know that many in the NBA hated GP and the whole trash-talking act that got under the skin of various opponents around the league.  But GP brought it, night in and night out, and to this day has been a big proponent of bringing the NBA back to Seattle.  Here's hoping this fall there is a special moment where #20's jersey is hung from the rafters of the old barn known as Key Arena.

All for now.  Enjoy your Tuesday, and of course, GO COUGS!

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2013-04-09T10:07:15+00:00 /2013-articles/april/wazzu-morning-drip-one-shining-moment-edition.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Championship Monday Edition /2014-articles/april/wazzu-morning-drip-championship-monday-edition.html http://i.imgur.com/U9wsBd9.jpg

Happy Monday Cougs, and as always we hope that things are good with you and yours.  We've been awfully quiet of late, for reasons we won't exactly go over right now.  But today is a new day and an opportunity to get something up on the blog, so, here we are.

Can't help but love this time of year, even though there is no actual football GAMES to take in?  But it's a season of true change around the country, where basketball is winding down and baseball is in the air.  It's lighter until almost 8 PM, the morning jog is now done in the sunlight (who knew??), and it's just a great time to renew hope in many things as winter fades to memory. 

And I LOVE Championship Monday!  Even though I'm not as big on the NCAA hoops tourney as I used to be back in the day, it is still cool to watch a new champion win the title and get geared up for One Shining Moment and all that.  I don't know who ya got tonight, but if Louisville wins it, we win our little bracket contest!!  (Ok, only 9 people entered my wife's contest at work and one of those entries didn't, well, even fill out their bracket!  But hey, we have some kind of rooting interest tonight anyway.  If Louisville wins, we win).

I was lucky enough to take in a Final Four a long time ago, when the old Kingdome hosted the event in the mid-90's.  My friends and I sat in the 200 level and watched UCLA take down Corliss Williamson's Razorbacks in a thrilling final, as the Bruins celebrated a national title.

 

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3260/3712218956_4b6d1365e3_z.jpg

Where have you gone, Toby Bailey?

That was the Final Four where Okie State's "Big Country" shattered a backboard during the Final Four practice session on the Friday before the semifinals, which set the Kingdome crowd abuzz....

http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/280994.jpg?v=1&c=ViewImages&k=2&d=17A4AD9FDB9CF1934A2752006EF5F0ED9239E1B67A867F5B284831B75F48EF45

Good times.  Anyway, while I didn't really have a "dog in the fight" watching UCLA-Arkansas get it on, it was a cool thing to watch an NCAA title game play out in person.  I was lucky enough to go to the 1998 Rose Bowl, so I guess you could say we all saw Michigan win a national championship by capping an unbeaten season that year and get the mythical national title in football?  But it was cool to see UCLA win it and watch the Bruins fans celebrate a real championship won, you know, on the court??  Hopefully college football gets this playoff thing figured out once and for all, and the new system produces that kind of excitement that has been pretty exclusive to the hardwood.  

On to the morning links-n-such.....

Christian Caple's has the latest after Saturday's practice-that-was-going-to-be-a-scrimmage-and-then-wasn't, including some sobering news on the depth on the D-line.  It sounds like said D-line, a position filled with optimism for next season, is banged up a bit right now.  Per Caple, Iaone Gauta is on crutches with a brace on his leg, and the same goes for Toni Pole.  Wonderful.

Also interesting to take from Caple's article is that Daryl Paulo, once an inside linebacker, is now playing nose tackle!?!  I like the idea of quickness and athleticism up front, but wow, 6-2 and 270 playing nose seems to be a bit of a stretch.  Maybe on 3rd downs and/or obvious passing downs it could make sense, and Paulo might be nice for those kind of situations.  But it doesn't sound like an ideal scenario on obvious running plays, as at 270 he just might not have enough "junk in the trunk" for nose tackle, know what I mean?

http://media.scout.com/media/image/116/1168133.jpg

Caple has many more notes-n-videos-such from Saturday as well, which you can see here.

Moving on, Brian Floyd at Cougcenter just KILLED IT with his post from Saturday's action.  Floyd weighs in on the injuries, as well as some other observations on some of the players out there healthy and practicing this spring.  Good work Floyd.

Finally, Coug Nation gives a huge thumbs-up towards Jason Hanson, who retired from the NFL over the weekend.  Hanson has been kicking for so long that he was actually kicking when I was a STUDENT fergawdsakes(wtf!??!).  How the hell he made it this far in the league is amazing, but a huge hat tip Hanson's way for a fantastic NFL career.  

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_wsYM5eATgTg/SXXiLimrucI/AAAAAAAABK8/lQw5LSP8Aa4/s1600/JasonHanson_UCLA.jpg

I still remember watching Hanson nail 60-yarders during warmups back in his college days, sometimes even setting up for field goal attempts on the opponents side of the field while they were stretching out.  It was pretty cool to have a kicker THAT good.  And I will never forget the 1989 Dad's Day USC loss for many reasons (18-17 to Todd Marinovich's last second heroics, the eerie silence after the game where you could hear the USC players talking and celebrating on their sideline, even from the student side of the field).  But one thing that stands out was that after USC made the 2-pt conversion and WSU took possession of the ball on the ensuing kickoff, with just a few seconds left?  Mike Price sent Hanson out on the field for what looked like a 90-yard field goal attempt!!  It looked ridiculous to see a kicker marking off his steps on like his own 20-yard line(!), but just for a second you thought "why not??".  But Price then called timeout and came to his senses and called the hail Mary instead, I mean as great as Hanson was, an attempt from that far out would have probably bounced on the 15-20 yard line?  

Believe it or not, there is some HORRIBLE video from that terrible game, but if you fast forward to about the 4:30 mark of the clip you can see Hanson on the field (and announcers are like....really??).

Anywho, we salute you Jason Hanson!

All for now.  Enjoy your Championship Monday, and of course, GO COUGS!

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2013-04-08T10:28:58+00:00 /2014-articles/april/wazzu-morning-drip-championship-monday-edition.html
Losing Your Lunch: Civic Duty Edition /2013-articles/march/losing-your-lunch-civic-duty-edition.html

Hello, Followers!  Hope you’re having one heckuva week.

As for me, well, as fate would have it my spring break just went before it even came.  I mean, just when I thought that I might catch a break from writing and reading papers et al., something called “civic duty” reared its ugly head.

And by civic duty, I’m talking not talking about helping old people cross the street. 

I’m talking about CIVIC DUTY here….Meaning: I’m on jury duty for the whole stinking week!!!!

So, while my mind melts away sitting in a court room listening to a case that I can’t talk to anyone about, I thought to myself, “Man, wouldn’t it be great to parlay this wonderful experience into a random blog post?”  And as I sat down today to eat lunch, the two Baliffs outside the jury room provided the needed inspiration for such a post.   

And that inspiration focused on that “one thing” that these dudes couldn’t get enough of...

Softball.  For more on that, read on.

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Followers, given that this is a “losing your lunch” post, I don’t have time to get into all of what those guys were talking about.  But after hearing them talk for 30 minutes about everything from gloves, bats, hats, sliding pads, cups, chew, and batting cages, I started to realize that even though they were PRETENDING to be “real softball guys,” they actually were a couple of posers—aka “Fake Softball Guys.” 

So, in light of the fact that spring has sprung nearly in every American community save the North East, I thought I’d give you all a few pointers for how you can make the jump toward becoming that full-on, true-blue enchilada, REAL SOFTBALL GUY.

 1) Batting gloves.  Real Softball guy knows that he has potential to knock one out every time at the plate.  And toward that end, batting gloves really communicate a level of seriousness not shown by most amateurs.  But simply having one pair of batting gloves is NOT sufficient for becoming Real Softball Guy.  So, you need to have a couple pair--one for the hands--the other for the back pocket.

2) Knee Paraphernalia.  One of the chief attributes of Real Softball Guy are the "war scars" he has to show for his consistently overzealous efforts on the diamond.  And so, even if he's avoided injury in the past, it is usually helpful for him to communicate his ability to overcome injuries that would typically cripple mortal man, especially Fake Softball Guy. For that reason, it’s pretty much necessary to man up with a couple ACL-protecting knee braces. The other option?  Double knee pads. 

It's simply a must.  

 3) Clap and point.  Real softball guy is always aware of his uncanny resemblance to most Major League Baseball players.  So, whether you beat out a hot grounder to short, double to the gap, or knock one out of the park, be sure to clap your hands a couple of times and point toward the dugout following every plate appearance. I personally appreciate the “double clap then-point-toward-the-sky” move following a jack or even a double down the line…

Also, if you're really good, you'll give a quick "that one was for you, honey" nod toward the babes in the stands.

But that’s just me……

4)  Ump Banter.  Fake softball guy will argue incessantly with the umpire following every call.  REAL softball guy will converse with the ump throughout the game as if they are best friends.  Then, when a call is blown, they follow up with a "Geez, I don't know about that one, Darrell" type approach. Again, the key is to keep it all super professional--as in Major League Professional.

5) Long Toss.  Fake softball guy will warm up by playing catch with a buddy at close proximity—hoping to save himself from a muscle pull or the all-too-common hip flexor.  REAL softball guy will warm up before he gets to the park, so his initial throwing can take the form of long-toss.   So, if you’re trying to become real softball guy, your first few throws really need to be at least 50 yards from your partner, and ideally you’ll throw those balls as hard as you possibly can.

6) Eye Black—Especially if its raining.  Need I say more?

7) Nickname.  If you’re hoping to become Real Softball Guy, you’ll need one.  So, when you meet your teammates each year, you should introduce yourself with something along the lines of "Hi, I'm David, but my friends call me Shredder."

 

From there, a few references to yourself in the third person should really cement your status.  So, comments like, "Shredder is thirsty" or "Shredder's feeling good" or "Here comes 'the' Shredder" need to become mainstay in the dugout.

I'm sure that there are others to be added to the list, but the clock has just struck twenty and once again, I’ve lost my lunch.  Enjoy the rest of your day while I head back to the courtroom.

All for now.  Go Cougs!

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2013-03-26T18:55:15+00:00 /2013-articles/march/losing-your-lunch-civic-duty-edition.html
Spring Roster - Updated Weights, MIA's and More /2013-articles/march/spring-roster-updated-weights-mia-s-and-more.html

 So, THERE's the beef.

Thanks to our friends at Cougfan I have been perusing the Spring Football Roster and, of course, there is a lot to talk about. A few familliar names are no longer with us such as Brandon Golden (transfer), Justin Clayton (injuries) and Kalil Pettaway (concussions), and there are a few startling weight gains/losses. Most notably Conner Hallady lost, yes LOST 6 lbs. Probably just making sure he has that super model career to fall back on if this football thing doesn't work out. Meanwhile the offensive line which will be bolstered by a bunch of guys leaving their red shirt year behind has made some impressive looking weight gains. It wasn't too long ago that the only chance you had to see over 300 lbs sprinting accross the Rogers Field turf was during a 3 legged race. Others that stood out to me: Kristoff Williams, Destiny Vaeao, Taylot Taliulu... all made some impressive gains. Take a gander and tell us what you think.

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2013-03-21T02:47:45+00:00 /2013-articles/march/spring-roster-updated-weights-mia-s-and-more.html
Boning for Columbine /2012-articles/boning-for-columbine.html

Hello Followers.  Long time no see.  Hope you all are doing great.

As for me, well, the seas have parted just enough for me to fire up a quick post.

So, for a few quick thoughts about Ken Bone and Cougar Basketball on the eve of the NCAA tournament, read on.

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Followers, when our Cougies completed an improbable home sweep of the LA schools a few weeks, I thought that Ken Bone had saved his job.  I mean, our boys looked disciplined, they actually executed an offense (one that looked TERRIFIC), and most importantly, they looked like they were fighting for their coach.

But then last week happened.  Mind you, at the time, I was pretty satisfied with our play against Washington in Pac-12 tournament—particularly the way we fought back from 19 down.

However, as last week headed into this past weekend, my optimism started to fade again.

The reason?  As I watched several other Pac-12 tournament games (as well as the Big East, Big Ten, MWC, and ACC), it became increasingly apparent that we don’t match up talent wise with teams that are either in, or contending for, the NCAA tournament.  And so, when you add to that the fact that Ken Bone is not a very good bench coach (although he game preps pretty darn well), well, you have the recipe for a hoops program that just isn’t very good.

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It’s been written here before that AD’s typically like to pull the trigger when the existing roster is young and talented enough for the new coach to facilitate a quick turnaround.  And certainly, when you consider that Woolridge, Lacy, & Dexter are only sophomores, Shelton is a junior, and Junior is a freshman, well, we’ve got a lot coming back.   In fact, our team is still young enough that a good case could be made that we might be better suited to just “hang on” with Bone for another year, since we figure to have a lot returning in 2014-2015 as well.  And that doesn’t even factor in the salary savings that our Athletic Department could really, really use right now.

At the same time, Moos made it very clear upon his hire that he is not going to tolerate being a doormat.  

And when you consider that Bone has finished dead last in conference 2 out of his 4 years, has never finished in the upper division, and has never won a conference tournament game, well, that just doesn’t fit the mold of a program that’s trying to re-brand itself as a winner—or at least one that wins periodically.   What’s more, while it may be tempting to make a change prior to Lacy and Wooldrige’s senior campaigns, our past season with Mike Leach shows how precarious those first transition years can be. 

So, when you factor in yesterday’s evasive Q&A about Bone’s future, it’s pretty clear that the trigger is going to be pulled by Moos sometimes in the next few days.  And so, here are my top two choices for our next coach.

 

 Ernie Kent.  His record speaks for itself.  Led Oregon to multiple NCAA appearances, conference tournament titles, and two Elite Eight appearances.  Importantly, Mr. Kent is African American, and we need to hire minority coaches.  And, his last group of touted recruits—Hairston and Porter—both heralded from Detroit.  And if you buy into the idea that building a winner at WSU requires an ability to recruit unconventionally, well, Kent fits the mold.  I think it’s gonna happen.  I really do.

Greg Marshall, Wichita State.  Just signed a new deal last year that pays him about 1 million per.   But, as we all saw with the SHELLACKING the “other WSU” put on us a few years ago in the NIT semis, well, the guy can flat out coach.  Great bench coach, recruits depth and versatility (a lot like VCU), and develops teams that are disciplined and that share the ball.  This guy is probably way out of our league, but if you’re looking for a guy to come in and win, Marshall would do it.  He actually reminds me a lot of my favorite Pac-12 coach, Mr. Sean Miller.

That’s all the time I got for today.  Hope you all enjoy the first weekend of the NCAA tournament!

All for now.  Go Cougs.

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2013-03-19T15:39:47+00:00 /2012-articles/boning-for-columbine.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Mixed Bag Edition /2013-articles/march/wazzu-morning-drip-mixed-bag-edition.html http://www.pastapadre.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/harvinhawks.jpg

Happy Humpday Cougs, as we hope all is well with you and yours.  Tonight the Coug hoopsters take on UW in Vegas, as the strip comes alive with Coug fans walkin' around, checkin' stuff out.  Of course, the last time Cougs were in Vegas, well, we kind of made ourselves at home?

http://cdn3.mocksession.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2012-September-14-21-11-29.jpg

something something something GO COUGS!

Anyway, lots of stuff floating around and not much time, so, here we go.....

The Seahawks shocked pretty much everyone when they added Percy Harvin to the box of toys for the offense.  As shown above in the Madden screenshot, Harvin will sport #11 for the Hawks, as of course #12 is OFF LIMITS in Seattle.  Sure, as Danny O'Neill puts it in the Seattle Times, Harvin has been a pain in the ass in the past.  Is he high-risk?  Absolutely.  But is he also high-REWARD?  Of course.  

http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/2013/03/12/2020543128.jpg

Everyone is all smiles on press conference day, that much we can expect.  And Harvin was just rewarded for his "petulant" behavior in his last days in Minnesota with a six year, $67 million dollar deal (but those are NFL dollars.  The real number to concern yourself with?  $25 million, as in only up to $25 million of the deal is guaranteed).  But it's easy to get carried away in March and think about the dynamic abilities of Harvin in this Seahawks offense.  They already have Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, etc.  But to add in a playmaker like Harvin to this offense, an offense that averaged 33 points per game over the last nine games of 2012??  How can you not be excited about what's to come?  Maybe Harvin will explode on the scene and then start to become miserable in a few years, but it sure will be interesting to see how it all comes together this fall.  Plus, the dude is JACKED with quick-twitch muscle, have you seen the body on this guy??

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2012/1012/nfl_u_percy-harvin_mb_576.jpg

Do this a lot next year, please? And preferably against San Fran.

What's crazy is how flippin' young the Hawks core is at the moment.  Russell Wilson just 24, but Harvin will only be 25 this season.  Marshawn Lynch has taken some serious pounding, but he will be just 27 this season and has a couple of potentially strong years ahead before he hits the dreaded age of 30 for NFL running backs.  Sidney Rice will be 27 this season, and despite the injuries still looks to have a lot left.  And you still have Golden Tate (will be 25), Zach Miller (27), Doug Baldwin (24), Russell Okung (25), etc.  And that's just the offense!  The D is loaded with youth as well, from Richard Sherman to Earl Thomas to Kam Chancellor to Bobby Wagner to Bruce Irvin, I mean the young talent John Schneider and Pete Carroll and the rest of the front office have put together is just a sight to behold.  Sure, the day is going to come where they will have to make some tough decisions and, perhaps, a young star or two will walk to free agency due to salary cap issues.  But for now, I don't know about you but I am going to enjoy the ride.  

What's cool is to see a franchise like the Hawks go out and get a guy like Harvin.  A young team that was 30 seconds from playing in the NFC Championship game, to keep their core intact and add a guy that some said was playing like an MVP candidate before his ankle issue last year?  A guy in Harvin who had more catches in 9 games (62) with Mr. Samantha Steele at QB, than any Hawk receiver had in the entire 2012 season?  Bring it on!

Meanwhile San Fran went out hours after the Harvin deal and nabbed Anquan Boldin.  Boldin was last seen shredding the 49er secondary in the Super Bowl with 104 receiving yards, using his big physical body to make some huge catches in some key moments in that game.  

http://rollingout.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Anquan+Boldin+Super+Bowl+XLVII+Baltimore+Ravens+aHM4kZ9Mfsjl-e1363048537146.jpg

Boldin is starting to get up there in age, as he will be 33 for most of next season.  There was a rumor floating around that suggested Boldin could possibly retire a SB champion instead of going to a new organization, but that's not going to happen.  He's still got a lot left in the tank if last year's postseason run was any indication, and he should fit in nicely opposite Michael Crabtree and give Colin Kaepernick a strong second option in the passing game.  So San Fran is definitely better today offensively than they were a few days ago.

As someone on Twitter asked aloud when it all went down, uh, when did the Seahawks-49ers become the Red Sox-Yankees??  It's like the rivalry just continues to grow, and as KJR speculated the other day, one can imagine the jockeying going on with the TV networks over who gets to broadcast the Seahawks-49er games next season.  Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football anyone??  GET YO POPCORN READY!

Moving on, I saw this tweet from Phil Steele the other day and it got me thinking about Paul Wulff:

 

So since 2000, 10 head coaches were retained for a fourth year after winning 6 or less games combined the prior three years. Paul Wulff fits right in there, with 5 combined wins over his first three years in Pullman.  We all know what happened after that, as Wulff was sent out of town after failing to win in his fourth year, and now, here we are.

What's kind of crazy however is that even though he went 4-8 in 2011, his last in Pullman?  You do have people who made the case that he should have been retained, and that even that 4-8 record could have been a 6-6 bowl season had they hung on vs. UCLA and pulled out the Utah game.  If Jeff Tuel doesn't get hurt in the opener, well, who knows.  But one could also take the other side and say well, they got lucky as hell vs. Colorado and were very fortunate to win that game, and it didn't hurt that Idaho State and UNLV were two of the worst teams in the country at the time we played them, while ASU had essentially mailed it in on Dennis Erickson by the time they came to Pullman!  So it can be spun either way in the side of the fence you choose, know what I mean?  

But what was interesting is to see that none of the 9 other coaches who won 6 or less combined games the prior three years went on to have a winning season the next year.  And does anyone think Bobby Hauck is going to have a winning season in Vegas this year??  So while I don't have the list of those coaches Steele tweeted about, I would imagine almost all of the guys on the list are pursuing other opportunities today??  It just kind of paints a bigger picture when you look at it from a distance and see that Wulff 1) wasn't alone in his situation, and 2) wasn't able to pull out the winning season in that crucial fourth year.

Speaking of spin to fit your agenda.....Chris Hansen is taking some heat from SacTown over his latest announcement.  Turns out that tomorrow, the Sonicsarena.com website will start taking names and phone numbers of those folks who are interested in tickets for the POSSIBLE return of the NBA next season.  Of course, the reaction from SAC was negative as comments were of the "boy, Hansen sure looks desperate with this move!" and "they must be feeling the heat up there!" and "see, it's slipping away!"  And the predictable reaction on the pro-Sonics side is that well, you see Hansen needs to sell tickets if he actually gets this franchise.  And as the announcement said, they need to start getting an idea of the ticket buyers out there, above and beyond the studies that are done by the various groups who put together budgets and arena deals and the like.  So they need to get a feel for who will be buying their product, because if this does go through it will be an awfully fast offseason to set up shop and start selling tickets to SuperSonics 2.0!  

http://media.bonnint.net/seattle/8/856/85607.jpg

Who knows what will end up happening in all this.  On Friday, David Stern basically took the SAC ownership group to task for submitting what was basically termed a "non-competitive" bid should the Seattle deal fall through.  Some rumors and such suggested the bid from the Mark Mastrov-led group was around $80 to even $100 million LESS than the Seattle bid, and that simply isn't going to cut it.  

But while I was 95% sure this thing was going to happen, well, now I'm probably 75-25 in favor of it actually happening.  If you stick to the facts and realize that there is a signed purchase-and-sale agreement to relocate to a city that had 41 years of history supporting the NBA, and with an ownership group who's net worth could approach $20 BILLION in a city with eight Fortune-500 companies in the 12th ranked TV market?  You have to like the odds.  But SAC is fighting the good fight to hang on to their civic asset in the Kings, and they aren't going to go down without taking some big swings with a local ownership group of their own and an arena MOU of some kind.  

But think of it this way - IF they say no to Seattle, the NBA owners are going against their recent history of allowing themselves to sell to whomever they choose.  And while the NBA likes to say they want to keep teams in their towns, well, there have been 4 relocations in the last 12 years (Memphis, New Orleans, OKC and Brooklyn), so it's a rare situation where they stand in the way.  I mean as Scott Howard-Cooper put it over the weekend on NBA.com, NBA owners generally don't "eat their own".  And the biggest reason of all is that every owner could eventually be in the shoes of the Maloof family right now, where life changes occur and they are put in a position to sell.  Those same owners want the ability to do what they want with their assets, and that includes an NBA franchise.  But we'll see what happens!  The NBA meets on April 3rd to get everything together, and then the vote should come a few weeks after that (April 18th or 19th).  But that isn't essentially set in stone.  There are some reports out there that suggest the NBA board of governors could actually vote at any time, in fact they could even do it over e-mail if they chose to.  So it could be settled sooner than those dates that are out there now.  But we'll see.

Finally, for all things Pac-12 tournament/Cougs, check out Cougcenter.  They should have every angle covered, and then some.

All for now.  GO COUGS!

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2013-03-13T09:50:48+00:00 /2013-articles/march/wazzu-morning-drip-mixed-bag-edition.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Spring Forward Edition? /2013-articles/march/wazzu-morning-drip-spring-forward-edition.html http://i.chzbgr.com/completestore/2008/3/13/springforward128499222285625000.jpg

Happy Monday Cougs.  After some time away from this space, here's hoping you and yours are hanging on in your corner of the world.  

Ya know, I thought about the blog quite a bit lately, about losing some passion here and there and how it's a slow/dead time at the moment for all things WSU football.  And you know what?  I realized something that is pretty important - whether it's a dead period or not, whether it's slow or not, you just can't have a blog if YOU DON'T WRITE(!), know what I mean?  But some time away can be a good thing, and not just in a recharge-the-batteries kind of way either.  I know our content is down and likewise, the blog traffic right along with it.  But it is what it is, and this is a blog where we share thoughts and ideas and such.  It might not be life-altering content on a regular basis around here, but this space is here for what it is.  And if you don't write, well, what's the point of even having a blog to begin with??

Anyway, while I can't fully speak for the rest of the writers around here, I will do my best going forward with posting in the morning hours with "stuff" that might be interesting to you and yours?  It probably won't be every day, but I can say it will be more than it has been in the last few months.  So there's that.

With that, happy SPRING FORWARD MONDAY (read: today sucks).  It's weird but in years past, the first Monday after the time change isn't the hard one for me.  Where I usually feel it is on Tuesday for some reason.  Maybe it's just that you are in the mode of "I can get through this" on that first work day after the change, but then reality hits the following day when you realize your body clock just isn't quite there yet?  I guess we'll find out tomorrow, but in the past today isn't usually too bad.  

Moving on to your morning drip stuff......

WSU's Brandon Gibson is a free agent, and is being looked at as a guy who some desire as a receiver who might get paid once NFL free agency officially kicks off tomorrow and players can start signing deals.  Gibson has been linked heavily to the AFC East for some reason, as he's viewed as a fallback for the Miami Dolphins and will reportedly also draw interest from New England, Buffalo and the NY Jets among others.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_wsYM5eATgTg/SSF97vTn_sI/AAAAAAAAA0w/I5wfC4GQ494/s1600/108-SPT1125_APPLE_P2.standalone.prod_affiliate.5.jpg

What''s cool is that I guess one could look back to the Cougs of 2006 and say that out of the exciting trio of Jason Hill, Michael Bumpus and Brandon Gibson as the wideouts, Brandon Gibson might have been the "least heralded" of the group.  I mean here we had Hill, who was the all-time pass catching TD leader at WSU, and one of the top Pac-10/12's TD catchers of all-time.  And Michael Bumpus had the school's career receptions record, playing well all four years in Pullman as a dependable receiver who always seemed to find open spots in the secondary despite lacking the game-changing explosive size and speed of the top receivers in the country.  But it's Gibson who has gone on to the next level and quietly turned into a solid NFL receiver, while Jason Hill has somewhat sputtered around and Michael Bumpus is no longer on an NFL roster.  While it's unlikely he would ever be a #1 guy in an NFL offense, he certainly can fit the bill as a solid #3 in any passing attack.  Gibson topped 50 catches last year for the second time in his young career, and had 5 TD catches in a decent season overall.  Here's hoping he strikes free agent "gold" in the days ahead!  

Speaking of Cougs and the next level, Jeff Tuel's "Pro Day" at WSU was reportedly strong, throwing the ball well and surprising many with a reported 4.55 in the 40 (note that this was a hand-held clocking of the 40, and somewhat "unofficial".  It's very difficult to say how accurate that time actually was compared to the laser-recorded times you get at the NFL combine, but still, a QB running 4.55 is pretty impressive!).  I think we all had a good idea Tuel could run, but 4.55 is like, the same as RGIII and Russell Wilson at the 2012 NFL combine (WOW).  This just in - those guys can move!

http://www.nwsportsbeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/tuel301012.jpg

As Tuel said in the article at Cougfan, all he needs is that one team to fall in love with him and perhaps he'll get drafted.  

Personally I WANT to see his name called, even if it's in the 7th round or whatever.  But I have felt all along that he's likely headed for NFL free agency, and that he'll sign on with someone after the draft.  It's not that he doesn't have the tools, in that he has shown some accuracy and throws a nice deep ball.  it's just that his injury history might be enough to scare teams enough to not spend a draft pick on him, and he doesn't have the absolute GUN of an arm that you might see from an RGIII or Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck or whatever.  But who knows, maybe his performances this offseason has done enough to get him high enough to be selected.  CBS Sports for example has him as a 7th rounder or undrafted/Free Agent, which might be pretty accurate. 

Finally, so there's a basketball game on Wednesday night between the Cougs and Dawgs.  WSU has made some kind of a recent push after the season was left for dead, and now a lot of Cougs are talking sh*t after a sweep of the LA schools.  Meanwhile UW has played better lately, transforming a lost season into a solid #6 seed in the Pac-12 tourney and many UW'ers are already looking past WSU and even past Oregon in the second round (what a surprise).  I don't know what's going to happen, I mean the Cougs have played UW tough in the two times they've met this year and the old saying is that it can be hard to beat a team for the third time in the same season when the margin of victory has been close (WSU has lost by a combined total of 9 points over the two games, most recently a 72-68 game in Seattle a few weeks ago).  

I don't know what's going to happen, I mean to be honest I have barely paid attention to hoops this year.  I haven't been big on Bone over the years, but I don't exactly hate him like so many others appear to based on the social media reactions every game?  But I do know that it sounds like WSU is playing better ball all of a sudden, and some are quietly saying that the Cougs might be the "best 11 seed ever!" or something like that.  But they are still an 11-seed, so it's hard to have any expectations for Wednesday night . I can say this however - as uninterested as I have been all year long?  I will be watching Wednesday night!  Call me bandwagon or a bad fan or whatever, but I really don't care.  At least a fringe hoops guy like me will be watching, and that's a W for Bone and his campaign to return for next season......right??

http://www.nwsportsbeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/KenBone.jpg

Maybe the sweep of the LA schools, combined with a lot of returning players for next season, is enough to buy Bone more time.  We'll see.

All for now.  Enjoy your spring forward Monday, and as always, GO COUGS!

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2013-03-11T10:18:29+00:00 /2013-articles/march/wazzu-morning-drip-spring-forward-edition.html
In Memoriam - Accusing Coug Fans of Being "Afraid of Winnning" /2013-articles/march/in-memoriam-accusing-coug-fans-of-being-afraid-to-win.html

Eighteen years ago famed music producer Rick Rubin staged an elaborate funeral service for the word "def". With Reverand Al Sharpton presiding over the ceremony and stars such as Tom Petty in attendance, "def" was laid to rest in a Hollywood cemetary. As I was remembering this strange event it occured to me that we Coug fans could use a similar vocabularical purge.

Friends, loved ones, curious passers-by; today we lay to rest one of the most tired tropes in all of Cougar fandom... the idea that some fans are "afraid of winning". Rest in peace you silly, rediculous bit of total nonsense.

Fans show their concern that the Cougs might stage a comeback and ruin everything.

Let's be clear; Nobody is "afraid of winning". You will not find a Coug fan who would rather be 5-7 than 12-0. They don't exist. This trope is trotted out to bully fans who express concerns about the cost to the instiution that some methods to achieve wins come with. It seems the "win at any cost" camp isn't interested in those concerns, so to cover for their shameless disinterest in fairness, integrity, loyalty and just about anything else that scholastic athletics are supposed to promote, they create the ultimate straw man; an imaginary legion of (old, weak, sad, pathetic, etc.) fans who form a fifth column dedicated to keeping their own team down. Suddenly a 30 year multi-sport season ticket holder and CAF member who has dedicated a good portion of their lives and income to supporting the Cougs is "afraid of winning" since they don't agree with you that coach X should be fired. Nevermind that when the Cougs won conference championships, this fan didn't exactly burn all their gear. Rather they booked their flight to Pasadena before the clock hit 0.00 on the last game of the season.

Right now there is a tension between fans who are demanding success now and those who can somehow make it through an entire basketball game without throwing the remote through a window. I live in both camps at different times and sometimes I inhabit both during the course of a single game. But lets just drop this false premise that only the angry, fed up fans "want to win". We all want the Cougs to win every single game they play. We disagree with how they can, or should accomplish that, but that's it.

Just because "def" was dead and buried doesn't mean that zombie "def" doesn't continue to stock the earth, and  I don't expect  "afraid of winnning" to stay 6 feet deep in the Palouse clay either. But at least now we can acknowledge that all its good for is lurching about snacking on the brains of the living.

RIP, "afraid of winning". You will mos def not be missed.

 

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2013-03-07T00:56:13+00:00 /2013-articles/march/in-memoriam-accusing-coug-fans-of-being-afraid-to-win.html
Silver Linings Playbook - WSU Basketball Edition /2013-articles/february/silver-linings-playbook-wsu-basketball-edition.html

Not sure if anyone noticed, but it happens to be Apple Cup on the Hardwood week for our Cougs with a game at UW on Sunday afternoon. While our season thus far has been forgettable, the Huskies have not been lighting the world on fire themselves and leaving Seattle with a win is still a distinct possibility. Would it heal all the wounds from a season that has been the sports fans’ equivalent of rooting for Walter Mondale in the ‘84 presidential election? Not really, BUT it would definitely feel better than losing (Like nabbing those electoral votes from Minnesota, right?). All you have to do is harken back to football season to appreciate the magical healing power of beating the Dawgs. Still, it makes one wonder, is there anything left to salvage from this season besides a smidge of pride in beating our rival? Hmmmm, If there is I will let you know after the jump...

 

This is probabaly going to be me during the Cougs Pac-12 Tourney game.

I think I can best sum up how I feel about this Cougar basketball season with this: Amieable and I are going to be in Vegas the week of the Pac-12 tournament and we aren’t sure we will even bother going to a game. Yeah. For real. That’s an astonishing admission, I admit, but I don’t think I am the only one feeling this way. So why am I still following this team? Pretty much one reason... Youth.

Downey Christian High has its own "youth movement". Julian Newman is 4'5", 11 years old and a Varsity starter.


When it comes to making excuses for this season one of the most commonly raised is a lack of talent. I’m not on that train. You don’t have to have watched WSU hoops for too many years to understand that there is talent on this team (and more waiting in the wings). Or, to be more clear, the current talent on this team is the type of talent you have to be able to win with if you are going to succeed in Pullman.

While I don’t buy the massive talent chasm argument one bit, I do think we are seeing a team that is inexperienced and missing some key parts of what could have made a big difference this season. Obviously losing both Reggie Moore and Demarquise Johnson left us without a scholarship point guard on the roster, shifting everyone’s responsibilities around and resulting in an offense that has been a discombobulated mess most of the season. The lack of a true point guard has been a bugaboo all year and recently both Coug Center and the Seattle Times have gone a bit more in depth about what that has meant for these Cougs on the court, bringing some well grounded substantiation to the hypothesis.

Recently we also were dealt the loss of our most effective player in conference games as Mike Ladd went down with a knee injury he may never return from. With no point guard and ⅔ of our senior leadership out of action, this team is just irreconcilably damaged.

As with most teams spiraling downward towards the end of a disappointing season, the fans and media are beginning to clamor for a “youth movement”. Of course, on a team with two seniors, one of whom is injured, a youth movement is pretty much all we’ve had all along. With a  sophomore trio of Lacy, Kernich-Drew and Woolridge, and frosh trio of Longrus, Boese and Leavitt all gobbling up significant minutes I can’t help but thinking, “hey in two years we should have one helluva experienced team on the court.” A guy can dream right?

Two years too long to wait? How about this: Next season, those six players, plus seniors-to-be DiIorio and Shelton will form a very experienced core of 8 players who will be joined by talented frosh guards Ike Iroegbu and Demarquise Johnson, as well as transfers Jordan Railey C and Brett Kingma (G). This is a nice mix of talent, plus experience to fill out the 2013-14 roster, with no significant losses going into 2014-15.

Unfortunately we go into the last few games of this season like we have at the end of just about every Cougar sports season; looking for hope for next year. While I think there is hope to be found, I’m not sure its enough to pull me away from the black jack table. Still for this week... Come on Cougs, beat those damn Dawgs!

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2013-02-28T21:30:06+00:00 /2013-articles/february/silver-linings-playbook-wsu-basketball-edition.html
Losing Your Lunch: Take the Money and Run /2013-articles/february/losing-your-lunch-take-the-money-and-run.html

Hello Followers.  Hope you’re having a great week.

Today, I continue my solo album-esque series called “Losing Your Lunch.” The name of the game:  Write as much nonsense as possible in 20 minutes, paste it onto the Penguin (Bloguin) Platform….

And fire the stuff into cyberspace…

Today, I take a quick peak at a current football issue that should be instructive to all of us moving forward.   Read on.

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Followers, when it comes to WSU, one thing is clear:  Whenever we have an underclassmen who has a really great Junior year, they head to the Pros.  We saw it first with Rosey—who went #1 in the 1989 Supplemental Draft.  From there, Bledsoe and Leaf followed.

Two years back, Klay Thompson took his league scoring title to becoming a Lottery Pick in the NBA draft.

And while the jury is still out on how good that 1995 team might have been had Bledsoe stayed, I think there’s little doubt as to how good Ken Bone’s Cougars would have been last year had Klay (and probably Casto) stayed to play along with a Brock Motum kid that was ready to break out.    They would have danced.

And really, that’s kind of where the trap comes in:  When a star player’s “big decision” coincides with a returning nucleus of players who figure to be pretty darn good.   Whenever such an event occurs, we all hear virtually the same talking points from the home fan base.

“(insert name)  just isn’t ready yet for the next level.”

“(insert name)  draft stock will only improve with another year of seasoning.”

“If (insert name)  cares more about his school than himself, he’ll stay.”

(insert name)  needs to understand that you’re only in college once.  The pros will always be there.”

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Over the past few years, we’ve seen these same types of lines/arguments come up in spades when it comes to underclassmen quarterbacks--such as when  Jake Locker decided to stay for his senior year when leaving after his junior year would have made him a top 3 pick (many had him slated as #1). 

While Locker wound up being taken with the 8th pick in the 1st round the next year, his decision to stay meant that he entered the league under a different collective bargaining agreement. The result:  Jake lost between 20 and 40 MILLION dollars because he stayed.  And while Jake says that the money doesn’t matter to him, the “new economy” coupled with what we’re seeing about the mental and brain health of football players suggests the money should have mattered.  In fact, it should have mattered a lot.

And now we are seeing the same type of deal with a Mr. Matt Barkley. 

As announced yesterday, Barkley’s injured shoulder has rendered him unable to participate in the NFL combine.   For those of you who don’t remember, Barkley was slated as a top 3 pick last year.  Now, following a disappointing and injury plagued season—one which saw the Trojans begin the year ranked 1 and finish unranked—Barkley looks like a late first round pick AT BEST.  Most think he’s second round material.    Again, MILLIONS of dollars have potentially been lost to him and his family as a result of his decision to “enjoy the college experience” for one more year.

The conclusion in all of this is simple:  Those who are ready to jump to the pros need to do so as soon as they are able.  Coaches should support that and so should fans.  I’ve said before that I thought it was a crime when Sark and Kiffin got up there and claimed that their kids were making good decisions, when in fact, the decisions they were making were risky at best, catostrophic at worst.

So, followers, if for some reason Mr. Conor Halliday goes out and throws for 5,000 yards during his junior campaign in Mike Leach's Air Raid, there will be many out there who will look at our roster, the number of returning players, and will beseech him to return for what could be a legendary senior campaign.  But don’t you be one of them. (and please keep me from being one of them either!)

For all of these kids, let’s all remember that, all else equal, it’s best for these kids to take the money and run.

That’s all I got for today. The clock just hit 21 minutes, and I’ve lost my lunch once again.

Go Cougs!

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2013-02-20T16:49:41+00:00 /2013-articles/february/losing-your-lunch-take-the-money-and-run.html
Cougs! Beavers! You're Welcome, America /2013-articles/february/cougs-beavers-you-re-welcome-america.html

Happy Hump Day evening, Cougar Nation! I've interrupted a pretty intense game of FIFA 13 to tune into Cougar hoops for the first time in what feels like weeks. I'm thinking this is because it's been weeks. It's good to be back. Really, I'm happy to be watching anything at all. My tv died over the weekend so this post comes with a huge shout-out to my buddy Paul for coming through with a n extra flat screen at a moment's notice. First world problems resolved, let's watch some hoops! I'll take you through the action as I saw it. Just be warned that I may be blogging about the season premier Survivor if this thing gets ugly. More after the jump...

 

7:03 - The first thing I heard when I turned on the tv was that the Cougs will be without the services of Mike Ladd tonight. My response was to check out the cable guide, just in case. I used to be an optimist. Dexter Kernich-Drew gets the start, by the way.

7:05 - Plenty of good seats available at Beasley tonight. American Idol:1 - Cougar Athletic Budget: 0

7:06 - It's the Bone Zone!! Is our men's head basketball coach trolling at this point? I feel like maybe he is.

7:08 - Brock Motum looks aggressive early, taking the first three shots. I should note he missed all 3. The devil's in the details and all that.

7:10 - Hey, Royce Woolridge, nice shot from threeeeee! Cougs lead! (3-2)

7:11 - As Andrew Furney can attest, I'm not the sort of person who would stoop to making jokes about a college athlete's weight and/or physique so Joe Burton is safe tonight. Not safe? baked goods in the presence of Joe Burton. Welp, I tried.

7:12 - Let's use the first commercial break to take a look at what may be Oregon State's new logo. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

7:13 - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I hope for the sake of Beav fans that this is one of those leaks that proves to be fake.

7:15 - Evidently Roberto Nelson is good. This is one of those things I feel like I should have known before the game. Duly noted though, Roberto. By the way, you look like Drake.

7:18 - If you had Junior Longrus and Bryce Leavitt in "Ken Bone's first sub bingo", congratulations, you're a winner! Cougs trail 13-7. 

7:28 - OSU 18 WSU 11; I'm checking Twitter. Who scores when the five on the floor are Woolridge, Kernich-Drew, Leavitt, Shelton and DiIorio? Nobody.

7:31 - Beavs by 10. The Cougs have jacked up three's on the last several possessions. I'm going to start drinking. Would anyone like to weigh-in on the practice of pouring whiskey into what's left of the Diet Coke in my Subway cup? I'd like to think I'm being efficient.

7:35 - Rather than playing zone, couldn't the Cougs all just sit Indian style in the lane and let the other team shoot? It would be just as effective and would at least get some national attention for being interesting.

7:38 - Brock Motum is 2-11 from the field and he's getting good looks. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oy. Oy. Oy. If there's a silver lining to be had, it's that Oregon State stinks too. Their steadfast refusal to run away with this game is much appreciated.

7:43 - "Let's face it. Transition has not been a strength of Washington State's game." Also not a strength of Washington State's game: basketball.

7:44 - Joe Burton is built like a football center and he just passed a basketball like one. Gotta admit, that was good times. Hey, look out....DaVonte Lacy is happening! Lead cut to 5. Another easy basket. Lead back to 7. Gross.

7:48 - Fittingly and mercifully, the half ends with Oregon State dribbling around not getting a shot off. The Cougs trail at halftime 33-26. At home. To Oregon State.

8:05 - Craig Robinson calls for timeout after just over a minute because he does not value our time.

8:09 - Pressure by the OSU defense has made the Cougar offense go from bad to embarrassing. Beavs by 13. Timeout Cougs. I'm changing the channel and may not make it back.

8:11 - I don't know where the Caramoan Islands are, but Jeff Probst makes them sound super dangerous. Yep, welcome to Counter-progamming with Huddy.

8:24 - I had to come back. DaVonte Lacy Will. Not. Quit. I won't either! I'm blogging this thing until the end baby! (Unless I don't.)

8:31 - There are extended periods of this game where it feels like literally nothing happens. #KenBoneEffect

8:33 - We just scored on ourselves. Brock Motum somehow tipped a virtually uncontested rebound into his own basket. I'm starting to think this may not be our year.

8:37 - "Washington State can't afford to miss too many more of those open looks". You don't say. Shortly after that pearl of wisdom, Motum did in fact knock down an open look to cut the lead to.....9.

8:41 - Going pee and grabbing a beer takes the exact same amount of time as a TV timeout. There are no accidents.

8:43 - It's that thing where Lacy and Motum suddenly start hitting threes to get us back into a game. Gotta get stops, though. The Cougs had two on the last possession, but failed to rebound on both.

8:47 - Down 5, with the ball and the Cougs couldn't get off a decent shot. Sigh.

8:48 - Shelton for 3! Because of course. Talk amongst yourselves as to whether or not that means we got off a decent shot.

8:48:40 - After a Beav layup, Shelton for 3 again!! 1 point game and Beasley is "rocking".

8:49 - Wow. The Cougs get a stop, but fail to rebound again. As if that wasn't enough, they give up a layup, which would still leave it a one possession game, unless you foul, which obviously happened. Missed free throw though! 66-63 OSU. Timeout, Ken Bone, so this oughta be good.

8:55 - The end result of two timeouts is having Shelton go up with an off-balance three off the dribble. 

8:56 - Lacy hits a meaningless three at the buzzer to extend his career high and seal a one point loss. That was a hideous ballgame, but the comeback was exciting, inasmuch as anything in this stupid season can be exciting. There were too many mental lapses on defense, not enough creativity on offense and simply not enough talent. The Cougs are now officially in last place in the conference and lost at home in front of a mostly empty arena to a bad team. To bastardize a "Snatch" quote, Ken Bone is working on his resume. And if he isn't. he [expletive] should be.

Good night, Cougs. 

 

 

 

 

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2013-02-14T08:50:41+00:00 /2013-articles/february/cougs-beavers-you-re-welcome-america.html
Losing Your Lunch: The B1G Sucks /2013-articles/february/losing-your-lunch-the-b1g-sucks.html

Might I use this this picture forever more?  YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Hello Followers.  Hope you’re doing great.

In the midst of taking a lunch break, I stumbled across a little bit of e-football news via that fancy little thing called Twitter.

After thinking about it, I decided to take a few minutes and throw together a new type of post, which I just decided to call “Losing Your Lunch.”  This series will represent a hodgepodge of things that may or may not fit together.  My goal:  Get out whatever comes out until such time that my lunch break is over (I will have 25 minutes to get this done).

Now, will I ever launch another such post under this moniker?  I don’t know.  But for today, I am going to write a few sentences about why the Big Ten sucks.  Read on.

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If you didn’t click on the above link, the news I am referring to is straightforward:  Barry Alvarez, the former coach and current AD at Wisconsin, just announced that the B1G conference has decided to no longer schedule FCS schools for football. 

The “reason?”:  The conference wants to improve its image with respect to strength-of-schedule as the BCS transitions to a playoff format.

A few thoughts (ouch!) came to mind when I read that:

Thought #1:  The NCAA sucks.  As we all know, Football is king for athletic departments everywhere.   We also know that those little 1-AA/FCS schools fund nearly all of their entire operating budget for football and other sports by going to places like Nebraska, Michigan, and Ohio State in September and getting their brains beaten out (see Sac State and Appalachian State as notable exceptions). 

Anyhow, it’s nice to the NCAA once again unable to protect the little guy, and therefore is jeopardizing the capacity of smaller schools to offer Intercollegiate Athletics, and within, to offer scholarships to kids who may not otherwise gain access to a four-year school and the experiences afforded by it. 

Nice work.

Thought #2.  The Big Ten sucks.  Why?  Well, because..

Thought #3.  Perhaps it’s time for schools in the B1G, which include some of our nation’s most elite universities, to help the NCAA and company devise a better and fairer system for evaluating strength of schedule.  For instance, maybe the BCS should penalize schools, not for scheduling ONE FCS opponent a year, but for scheduling two FCS school in the same year (see SEC schools across the board as well ASU a year ago as prime examples.)

Here’s another thought: Why not reward schools not only for scheduling teams which are good during the current year, but also teams that been good historically? 

For example, think about Notre Dame’s schedule last year.  Can you imagine a schedule that was more chalked full of heavyweights before the season began?  I mean, there was a reason why no one ranked them early—it was because no one saw them doing jack-diddly-squat against the likes of Stanford, USC, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma and the like.  Of course, the problem that Notre Dame would have faced had Oregon or Kansas not lost is that those teams overall didn’t pan out the way that folks thought.   Of course, no team, coach, or athletic director can control how another team will perform—especially when schedules are arranged, 2, 3, 5, or 7 years in advance!

Similarly, there must be other mechanisms for incentivizing schools when they increase the quality of their opposition.  One strategy would be to incentivize an increase in conference games.   In this scenario, a conference like the Pac-12 would be rewarded for having the cojones to schedule 9, instead of 8, conference games.

Another idea would be for the BCS to give extra points for scheduling a non-conference opponent who turned out to be much better than expected for that year.  Here, I’m thinking about a school like Wisconsin who probably scheduled the 2014 game in Pullman thinking that they’d be playing a doormat.  Of course, they could do just that. But, when you look at our roster and the way its setting up, that WSU team could wind up being in the top 20.  And if so (and if Wisconsin actually keeps that date), shouldn’t they be rewarded for that above and beyond the typical formula (winning percentage of opponents and winning percentage of opponents, opponents)?

Anyhow, that’s all I’ve got for today, because the iPhone says I just spent 26 minutes on this, and my lunch break is over.  In other words, I just lost my lunch.

All for now. Go Cougs.

 

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2013-02-13T19:07:32+00:00 /2013-articles/february/losing-your-lunch-the-b1g-sucks.html
The Final Countdown? /2013-articles/february/the-final-countdown.html

Hello Followers.  Hope you’re doing great.

As for me, well, the last several weeks of this has pretty well taxed my ability to become the super-human blogger that I almost entirely never am.  But today, I am back in the saddle...

After the jumperoo, I will offer the most incredibly poignant analysis of the state of Cougar basketball that has graced these pages since yesterday...

Read on.

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Followers, those of you who have read this blog for a while know that I haven’t been a big fan of our coach, Mr. Ken Bone.  

But, in spite of the fact that I haven’t been a central—or even peripheral--member of his fan club, I have rooted for us to do well over the years.  And a good part of that “good spiritedness” has been reflected in my pretty consistent commitment to stay up late into the wee hours of the morn to watch us play on the tee-vee.

But this year, things have changed for me.  Now, instead of staying up late to watch our team, I’ve been falling asleep before (or not long after) tipoff.  And, on weekends, I have gone out to movies with the brood instead of watching games that would have otherwise captivated my time and interests in years past.

Of course, none of that should trouble Ken Bone and the other Banshees who help constitute Bone Nation. 

But what should trouble Bone and his supporters is as follows:  I am far from alone in my apathy.  For instance, all it took was a quick look at my Twitter feed on Saturday night to see that virtually NO ONE was commenting on the WSU-UCLA game.   Even more importantly, the Cougcenter.com game thread—which usually has 700 or so comments for each contest—now routinely has less than 60.  And attendance?  Well, let’s just say that a lot has changed since the higher points of the Bennett years.

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Of course, Bill Moos is not blind to apathy that currently surrounds Cougar Hoops--an apapthy that LucasCoug and Huddy have recently coined as the #KenBoneEffect.  And, in his weekly Cougar Calls show aired yesterday, Moos sent out an endorsement of Bone that made the word “tepid” seem ice cold.  As noted by Cougcenter, this morning:

Asked point-blank if he has decided if Bone will be retained or let go after this season, Moos said, "No."

He added, "At the end of the day, I’m the one responsible for making those decisions, and it’s never easy."

Asked if money alone will impact his decision on Bone’s future, Moos said, "No."

With this quote firmly in mind, it’s now fair to say that we’re in the final countdown of the Bone era of Cougar Basketball.  With the Cougs now sitting in the cellar at 2-9, we’re going to have win 5 out of the next 7 to give Bone a decent shot at returning next year.  And based on the play we’ve seen so far, I think we all know that just isn’t going to happen.

And yes, I know that next year’s team—who will be comprised entirely of Bone recruits—figure to be much improved. But that is typically when an AD wants to pull the trigger—when the new guy has a chance to succeed right away.  And nothing would do more to bring energy back into Cougar hoops than to put a different face on a program that was in the Sweet 16 not so long ago.

In the meantime, here’s to hoping that our boys and Bone can find a way to right this ship starting tomorrow night against the equally as hapless Oregon State Beavers.

But, like many of you, I’ll probably find myself reading about that game instead of watching it.   And therein lies the problem of the current #KenBoneEffect.

All for now.  Go Cougs!

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2013-02-12T17:00:44+00:00 /2013-articles/february/the-final-countdown.html
Basketball Update /2013-articles/february/basketball-update.html

If a Bone falls in the Galen Center and nobody is there to see it, did it actually happen? Apparently it did. I'm somewhat ashamed to say I've seen literally 0 minutes of any of the last three Cougar basketball games. Some of this involves a new special lady with DirectTV, but honestly I don't know that it would make much difference. Game days come around and I typically am not even sure who we play. Does Coach Ken Bone survive this? Is it Ernie Kent time? I don't know, but the program needs a shot in the arm. Badly.

Go Cougs.

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2013-02-08T23:13:11+00:00 /2013-articles/february/basketball-update.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Ya Never Know Edition /2013-articles/february/wazzu-morning-drip-ya-never-know-edition.html https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BCgSA-eCcAAEcJS.jpg:large

Happy Post-Signing Day Cougs, as we hope all is well with you and yours.  Quite a day yesterday, hmmm?  The Cougs ended up with 27 commits from yesterday, with 24 of them announced as actually signing their letters of intent, and overall it was a pretty good day as Mike Leach reeled in the #39 ranked class in the country per Scout.com.  Not exactly the highest rated class to walk the earth, but on paper anyway it's the best rated WSU group to sign on the dotted line since 2004, when the Cougs finished with the #21 ranked class coming off the 2003 Holiday Bowl win and a 30-8 record from 2001-2003.  That 2004 class, btw, included the likes of Michael Bumpus, Jerome Harrison, Tyron Brackenridge, Jed Collins, Dan Rowlands, etc.....as well as the now-infamous Randy Estes and JT Diederichs, two highly touted guys who helped pump up the recruiting rankings but never played a down of football in Pullman!  So you just never know.

I think overall I am personally happy with what looks to be a good haul of players where there are some weaknesses on the current roster.  In particular, of course, the offensive line saw six new additions, and some good size in the group as well.  As a group, they average 6-5 1/2, 300 lbs collectively, and that seems to fit in how Leach likes the good-sized o-linemen. There were five d-linemen as well, and that is a good number any way you cut it.  

However it's not all great news, if you want to know the truth.  As Sutra asked in comments, where are all the corners in this class who look ready to play?  After all the DB's weren't exactly stellar last year, particularly out on the edge, so one hope was that they would land some instant impact-type DB's who could be ready to go this fall.  But there were just three cornerback commits yesterday, and two of them haven't sent in their LOI's yet in Markell Sanders and Marcellus Pippins.  But per Cougfan, it looks like Sanders and Pippins will be headed for the greyshirt route, meaning they won't even be in the program until January of 2014.  So, it doesn't appear immediate help is on the way this year for the cornerback position!

I found that pic of Russell Wilson on Twitter today, as Darren Rovell tweeted it out as a cold-shower reminder before people get too jacked-n-pumped on recruiting rankings.  Russell Wilson, the guy people just can't stop talking about and thinking about around the great NW, was a 2-star unknown from Virginia.  So again, you just never know what's going to happen.  Signing them is one thing, and it's a very big, important step in rebuilding your program or maintaining your excellence if you are already at or near the top of the mountain.  But it's always been, and always will be, all about what happens once they step foot on campus and begin their own personal journey as they grow from boys to men.

Much like many of you, I don't want to get too high or too low on recruiting rankings.  But I think it's pretty fair to say that they are pretty accurate at the very high end of all the analysis.  I mean you look at the consensus top 10 teams and their rankings from yesterday, teams like Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, LSU, etc, and there is at least one clear truth out there - the best teams usually sign the best players available!  Sure, there are the Russell Wilson's or even locally, the Marcus Trufant's, Rien Long's and Will Derting's of the world, you know, the unheralded two-star types who rise above it all.  But the best teams traditionally sign the best high school hotshots, year in and year out.  Sure, we can pick out the outliers ourselves and try and shoot down the star "hype" and all that, but that's just confirmation bias more than anything else, know what I mean?  

That said, Mike Bellotti was on ESPN radio yesterday with Colin Cowherd, and he touched on a few of those things in regards to getting TOO excited over recruiting rankings.  I would HIGHLY recommend you take 5+ minutes out of your day today and give it a listen.  Bellotti spells it out pretty well about not just the so-called "flips" we saw yesterday by some high-rated recruits and why that happens, but also the traps and pitfalls of the 5-star types and what they are about to face as they go on to the next level.  I know Bellotti isn't exactly Mr. Popular around the NW schools, but it is a very good listen about what signing day is really all about.

For reactions-n-such around the web on the Cougs, let's check out some links, shall we?

So easily one of the biggest "drama" moments in recent WSU recruiting went down yesterday, as the Cougs almost lost out on a 4-star QB they thought they had wrapped up since the summer.  It was kind of a crazy/weird story, but QB Tyler Bruggman was seriously torn between hometown ASU and sticking to his Pullman commitment.  Turns out ASU thought they had their QB all ready to sign in Joshua Dobbs, but the kid pulled a stunner and flipped to Tennessee at the last moment.  That immediately brought ASU back on the line for Bruggman, and there were even ASU commits calling Bruggman and trying to get him to stay home!  With both of Bruggman's parents ASU alums as well, let's just say that it felt like he was going to slip away.  But it all worked out in the end.....

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BCcbDC9CIAAMymg.jpg:large

Bud Withers at the Seattle Times has a good read on the whole thing, so check that out here.  And per Withers, it appears that the relationship won out between the player and head coach vs. the pull of playing for the hometown school.  

Some other stuff:  Caple has a good read on Bruggman, as well as some quotes from Leach on the class overall; Howie Stalwick has this on the day that was, where some recruiting analysts are calling it a solid class but promising as well.  

Finally, I know it's been said here, there and everywhere, but recruiting is just so important with getting this rebuild off the ground.  I for one questioned whether or not Mike Leach is going to be able to pull this thing off, but not so much because of what we saw on the field last year.  The main reason I wondered about all this was how he is going to recruit the same kinds of talent he got at Texas Tech up here in Pullman.  Would this staff be able to get the linemen, for example, that are soooooo vital to the offense to actually, you know, WORK??  Last year was a painful example of what can happen when you have an O-line that was quite simply overmatched and understaffed for most of 2012.  But I look at yesterday and I can't help but feel like things are headed in the right direction.  He did go out and sign six O-linemen, and some of them look really promising.  And Leach's relationship was a huge reason that WSU landed a 4-star QB, even with the last second drama.  I couldn't help but feel like if it was a different year with a different coach in Pullman, maybe Bruggman is wearing an ASU hat yesterday.  But instead, we weren't left at the alter after all.

For whatever the ugliness of a 3-9 season in 2012, the Marquess Wilson saga and the abuse allegations and whatever else?  Based on signing day, I believe Leach and company appear to have come through clean on the other side after crawling through 500 yards of vile waste, Andy Dufresne-style!

http://www.51allout.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/andy-dufresne.jpeg

All for now.  Enjoy your Thursday, and of course, GO COUGS!

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2013-02-07T10:49:32+00:00 /2013-articles/february/wazzu-morning-drip-ya-never-know-edition.html
National Fax Machine Day! /2013-articles/february/national-fax-machine-day.html

Good morning, Cougs and welcome to Signing Day 2013! As it's Hump Day, I had to at least chime in to say hello, but by some unfortunate series of events, I ended up being scheduled with an all day meeting on one of my favorite days of the year (at least the college football year). For the last couple weeks, I'd resigned myself to the fact that today would be void of surprises. Our Cougs had piled up the verbal commitments at a pretty high rate and looked to have just about a full class. Then the drama kicked in. First, there was the Myron Turner saga (for whatever reason, our staff pulled his scholarship offer just after his official visit and his high school coach got real mad). Next, there was the Chidobi Awuzie ordeal (reportedly, he committed, then waffled and the staff decided to quit waiting on him. Another offer pulled). There were plenty of near misses and it was looking like Signing Day would go out with a whimper. Out of nowhere, the Cougs picked up a huge commitment (literally) from Riley Sorenson and then our BFF's at Cougfan reported that Wazzu may now be the favorite to land the services of former Utah verbal Marcellus Pippins. Just like that, my usual Signing Day excitement was back in full swing. 

The WSU Athletics official site has their usual signing day central where you can keep up with the LOI's as they roll in. My main man Longball should be along later to insert analysis as only he can (hopefully read, "afternoon drunk"). I'll be getting my leadership workshop on, then flying home from Portland, but I hope to join in the fun when I can. Here's to the class of 2013, a fairly random collection of teenagers that we're all counting on to make us happy. Go Cougs.

Longball's live updates after the jump...

WSU Football Blog LOI Day Headquarters

Longball here, I plan to do my best to post relevent updates here throughout the day as our LOI's roll in. I may take the occasional timeout to mess with the cats or watch some Perry Mason re-runs, but Im sure you understand. I also am nursing one helluva a wrenched back this morning, so if you catch me being unfairly critical of the fickleness of 18 year olds, its the back talking, not me. Got it? now I sound like Vince Grippi!

Anyway, on the the updates. So far we have received faxed commitments from:

Charelston White 6' 1" WR from Amarillo, TX

Darius Lemora 6' safety from Port Arthur, TX

Carlos Freeman 6'3" 290 lb OL from Oklahoma City

Vince Mayle 6'3" WR fromfrom Natomus, CA

River Cracraft 6'2" WR from Santa Margarita, CA

Matt Meyer 6'6" 290 lb OL from Lyndon, WA

Cody O'Connel 6'8" 350 lb OL from Wenatchee

Gerard Wicks 5'10" 195 lb RB from Long Beach, CA

Jamal Morrow 5'8" 180 RB from Menifee, CA

Isaac Dotson 6'3" Ath from Bellevue, WA

Cole Madison 6'6" 270 lb OL from Burien, WA

Peyton Pelluer 6'2" 225lb LB from Sammamish, WA

Paulo Lepua 6'3" 265 lb DE from Harbor City, CA

Gerald Sterling 6'4" 275 lb DT from Alicecille, AL

Riley Sorenson 6'5" 320 lb OL Santa Margarita, CA

Daquawn Brown 6' CB from Los Angeles, CA

Tyler Bruggman 6'2" QB from Phoenix, AZ

Danile Etuale 6'4" 290 lb DT from Pago Pago, American Samoa

Emmit Sua Kalio 6'4" 250 lb DE Pago Pago, American Samoa

Check out their highlights and other info here:

http://www.wsucougars.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/13-signing-day.html

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2013-02-06T19:48:28+00:00 /2013-articles/february/national-fax-machine-day.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - SB Hangover Edition /2013-articles/february/wazzu-morning-drip-sb-hangover-edition.html http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/2013/02/03/2020282886.jpg

Happy post-Super Bowl Hangover Monday Cougs.  Here's hoping, as always, that all is well with you and yours.  And the biggest question I have for you today, is, uh, WHY isn't the Monday after the Super Bowl not a national holiday!?!?  Couldn't they roll back MLK day a few weeks and align it with the day after the big game??  (Note - there is some sarcasm in that question, so, please don't feel the need to educate the masses in comments about the details of the MLK holiday.)

So quite a game yesterday, hmmm?  Like many of you, we celebrated SB Sunday by having a little get-together with some friends.  The overriding theme yesterday was 1) how tough both teams were hitting the crap out of each other, as well as how damn chippy the whole thing was, and 2) how it totally felt like two completely different football games, before and after the power outage/surge/whatever!  It was really remarkable to see how different things were before and after that strange moment, when we were treated to Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots attempting to keep the broadcast upright and moving along with limited information.  It was really, uh, strange, I guess (and maybe some Sean Payton revenge on the NFL??)

http://ewinsidetv.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/bcoiqbdcyaahieo_large.jpg

Bwwwaaaahahahaahahaha!

During the outage, a friend of mine and I were debating on who this helps most.  Obviously looking back at it you can see that it got the 49ers back on track, I mean it was 28-6 and Kaepernick was looking pretty "wobbly", ala the 42-13 beatdown suffered at the hands of the mighty Seahawks back in December!  I even heard either Shannon Sharpe or Bill Cowher mention it during the downtime, that this was basically the worst Kaepernick had looked since that blowout loss in Seattle.  Anyway, we both felt like this was nothing but a good thing for the 49ers, and a way to give them a chance to feel like they could mentally "reboot" and approach the rest of the game as a new opportunity.  That downtime just seemed to reel it all in for San Fran, and somehow they scraped themselves off the mat and put on a hell of a show for the rest of the way.

http://media2.wptv.com//photo/2013/02/03/WPTV-Super-Bowl-47-Power-Outage-Lights-Out_20130203220723_320_240.JPG

Anyway, quite a show when it was all said and done.  So what will YOU take away from this year's game?  The arrival of Joe Flacco as a true elite NFL QB, now 9-4 in the playoffs in his career and a SB ring, and 11 TD's to 0 INT's in the postseason, best since Joe Montana?  Kaepernick leading the team back to what looked like could have been the biggest comeback in SB history?  The intense physical hitting, some of the most physical hitting I can remember in a SB?  The end (thank GOD) of Ray Lewis and his playing career in the NFL?  The holding/non-holding call that wasn't on the 4th down fade to Michael Crabtree?  The Harbaugh bowl and the postgame handshake?  Beyonce and the Destiny's Child reunion?  Alicia Keys on the piano with the anthem, with NO lip-synch?  Bar Refaeli and the nerd kissing commercial?  The power outage?? 

http://www.etonline.com/media/photo/2013/02/23990019/416_alicia_130203.jpg

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/02k00SZ7EN6Ze/303x235.jpg

http://media.thedenverchannel.com/photo/2013/02/03/Super-Bowl-commercial_1359924862916_366841_ver1.0_320_240.jpg

http://ww4.hdnux.com/photos/17/61/32/4134583/3/628x471.jpg

 

One thing I think we all can safely say in looking back at the NFL Saturday night award show and then the game yesterday - there are some damn good young QB's in the league right now, and as RGIII said in his acceptance speech of the NFL ROY, the NFL is in good hands at QB going forward.  RGIII (with a healthy knee), Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Kaepernick, I mean the list just grows with a new era of players and leaders at the most important position in the NFL.  I don't know about you, but I can't WAIT for the NFL to get it fired up again next season and watch these guys continue to grow!

Moving on, there are some Coug-related items out there to check out, so let's get going.....

So signing day is coming, have you heard? Yep, Wednesday the 6th is the day the recruiting "guru's" all wait for, as it's their own Super Bowl.  Note that I am not a big recruiting guy, I mean I know how important it is in the grand scheme of things but the rush to rate classes on signing day is just way out of whack.  I think outside of the top 10 classes in the country which are filled with 4-and-5 star guys, it's impossible to really tell what's going to happen and how fast some of these youngsters are going to get meaningful playing time at the next level.  It's exciting to see kids fax in those letters and you see the reports and photos and announcements of their letters-of-intent, and every coach in the country takes to the podium to talk up the kids they just signed and how they pretty much got the guys they were after.  I don't mean to sound totally cynical here, but we've been through this so many times, we know the drill, am I right?

The Cougs class for this year meanwhile looks "OK", I guess.  That is if you are going by what players are rated on paper based on their high school achievements, and/or rushing to judge a signing class before they set foot on campus.  Right now, Scout.com has WSU with the #41 rated recruiting class in the country, good for 10th in the Pac-12.  It looks like a good year for the top of the Pac-12, as UCLA, USC, UW and Oregon are all looking to be in the top-15 when it's all said and done.  But of course, we have to wait and see how things take shape before we can really judge anything at this point.  

The Cougs did just get a commitment from a long-snapper out of Spokane, so there's that.  In the drama department that usually pops up this time of year, it looks like a Texas safety commit to WSU might be wavering a bit, as Montrel Meander just took a trip to the Texas Longhorns, where he appears to be a target at wide receiver instead of safety for WSU.  Meander was quoted in the story as saying the visit to Austin went very well, but according to him, he is still committed to WSU.  I guess we'll find out on Wednesday! 

Maybe one guy we can all be excited about in Cougville as we head towards signing day?  WR Vince Mayle.  Christian Caple had a good write-up of the 6-3 wide receiver who, according to some analysts, will be one of these JC guys who comes in and can make an instant impact for 2013.  And some have even compared Mayle to Michael Crabtree, in that big, physical type who can do so many things with the football?  So of all the names you see announced on Wednesday, maybe Mayle is the one to truly get excited about for immediate help that appears to be on the way.

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRtOORoMNi7qolifRREf2tlapn7PeaToC9ZNXdPl-8bO0bGKUI-1w

That's it for now.  Longball should be in the big chair on Wednesday for your signing day stuff, so check back then.  Take care, and of course, GO COUGS!

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2013-02-04T10:50:19+00:00 /2013-articles/february/wazzu-morning-drip-sb-hangover-edition.html
History Lesson - Safety, a Serious Issue We've Tackled Before /2013-articles/january/history-lesson-safety-a-serious-issue-we-ve-tackled-before.html

The professor is back. Your insomnia is cured.

Last week we talked about how college football may be outgrowing its demand. Larger stadiums, more bowls, more teams and more and more games on TV are all adding up to lower ratings and less attendance. We were framing this expansion as a kind of bubble that could pose a threat to the game we love and while we argued over whether there was really anything to worry about commenter Robert K. chimed in with something else we should be concerned about. Robert noted “The effect of concussions and severe injuries.”

Certainly one of the most notable differences in the game recently has been the emphasis on preventing injuries, particularly brain injuries. All of us have found ourselves at some point cursing the refs for flagging a hit we feel was legal, by the rule book, and proven to be on super slow-mo replay. Just a few weeks ago the Seahawks Kam Chancellor delivered just such a hit to the 49ers Vernon Davis.

He was flagged immediately, but as Chris Collinsworth noted after watching the replay, “If that's not legal I don't know what is. I think that is outstanding defensive football.” As Collinsworth and others dissected every minutiae of the play on super slow mo showing how Chancellor led with his shoulder and struck Davis in the chest, everyone concluded it was an allowable hit under the rules, but something important went unmentioned. Vernon Davis suffered a concussion on the play, the very injury the rule the refs were enforcing was meant to prevent. The reason this play caused the injury to Davis despite no helmet to helmet contact is simply because big hits cause concussions, not just hits to the head. As this New York Times article explains:

“Contrary to popular belief, a concussion is not a bruise to the brain caused by hitting a hard surface. Indeed, no physical swelling or bleeding is usually seen on radiological scans. The injury generally occurs when the head either accelerates rapidly and then is stopped, or is spun rapidly.”

The bottom line here is that despite the rule changes that have fans, players, coaches and commenters up in arms, the current rules probably don’t protect players enough. Whether we want to hear it, or not, the danger to players is very real. The costs the sport is facing due to these injuries are very real. Basically, this is a serious problem and we need to do something about it to protect the players and the game that we love.

Unfortunately, football being the macho enterprise that it is, these kinds of rational concerns are usually met with a chorus of enlightening retorts such as, “This a MAN’s sport you wuss!”, “If you can’t handle it go watch figure skating!” and other witty comments about “big boy pants” and “orange slices at halftime” and so on. If history has taught us one thing, its that sometimes the sissy-pants among us have to rise up and take a principled stand to keep us from destroying the things we love with our own stubbornness. In fact, the game of football has been threatened before due to safety concerns. Powerhouse teams across the land were on the verge of dropping the sport altogether, but thankfully a milquetoast wuss took charge of the situation and changed the rules to save the game. Lets meet this namby pamby tinkerbell after the jump...

Oh, Im sorry, did I say the game was saved by a sissy? Actually it was Teddy Roosevelt, American Badass extraordinaire. This guy:

Teddy on his favorite mount, Pickles.

Teddy taking a breather with his trusty rhino "Rowdy" that he rode while hunting in Africa.

Teddy displaying the bait he used while fishing for great white sharks.

Teddy wearing an outfit made from the skin of the last man to call him "Theodore".

A triumphant Teddy after he disarmed this elephant of its shotgun then killed it with his bare hands.

Teddy's "man cave" where he liked to hang out with pals Geronimo, Ghengis Kahn and Chuck Norris.

In 1905 the game of football had become too rough for... Teddy freakin Roosevelt. This is a man who despite having asthma in an age without inhalers was a boxer, a cop, a soldier, a rancher, an explorer, and, of course, president. There are many anecdotes of badassery about Teddy Roosevelt, but I think two sum him up best. First one is that while serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy he was briefly the Acting Secretary of the Navy while the real Secretary of the Navy was indisposed for a few hours getting a massage. Never being one to hesitate when handed an opportunity, Teddy used those few hours in charge to start the Spanish American War. Once he got his war started, he quit his job with the Navy, raised his own volunteer cavalry unit and went down to Cuba to whip the Spaniards himself. How did he top that you may ask? How about the time he was shot by a would-be assassin before he was due to deliver a speech and he just went right ahead and gave the speech anyway. As he told the assembled crowd that day, “Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot.” Carry on, Teddy, Carry on.

But even Teddy badass had seen enough after a year which saw 18 on-field deaths in high school and college football. Many colleges, including powerhouse programs like Harvard, were considering dropping the sport altogether. Then president Teddy Roosevelt personally intervened, assembling the sport’s first governing body (a committee that would evolve into the NCAA) and implementing a radical rule change that had the old guard of hardnose football traditionalists crying in their sarsaparilla. Since players were dying in what amounted to a scrum at the line of scrimmage, they wanted to spread the game out to keep smaller players away from the larger heavier players who were crushing them to death. To do this, they sanctioned the forward pass ( a silly, sissified gimmick if you asked most “real men” of the time) and football would never be the same again.

A lot of other rules were implemented around this time and along with some innovative coaches who started tinkering with the new formations, you basically have the creation of the game we all love today.

Basically, if Teddy Roosevelt felt the game should be safer, I don’t think I will have to turn in my man-card (its a real thing, ladies) just for feeling the same way. There are lots of reasons to embrace changes to the rules of the game that have nothing to do with being a wuss. For one, its not just the highly paid pro’s or the D-1 college kids who play the sport. Lots of our kids play the sport too and they are suffering the same injuries. Besides rule changes, the entire sport needs to emphasize safer play, starting with Pop Warner, and all the way up to the guys those kids watch on TV. Football is a tough sport and we can never remove all the risks, nor should we, but we should be able to realize when the risks have become completely unreasonable for something that is, after all, just a game.

So while it may be true that referees are erring on the side of protecting vulnerable players, In my mind, that’s exactly what they should be doing. I will miss the explosive hits as much as the next guy, but I also miss things like tackling, a lost art in this day and age of players launching their bodies like airborne torpedoes. I also miss the players who aren’t with us any more due to injuries they suffered entertaining us.

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2013-01-29T00:37:51+00:00 /2013-articles/january/history-lesson-safety-a-serious-issue-we-ve-tackled-before.html
Have We Created A College Football Bubble? /2012-articles/have-we-created-a-college-football-bubble.html

Today Sean passed this article by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports to us blog fathers and it is a very interesting reading. Dodd examines some of the signs, namely declining TV ratings and attendance, that College Football may have peaked in its popularity. Meanwhile athletic directors and conference commissioners are tasked with continuing to expand a product that may have no more room for growth. The article asks questions, like, Is TV cutting into game day attendance? Is a new generation with new technology less interested in these games? I’m not sure these are the right questions. I’ll tell you what concerns me more, after the jump...

Attendance at the Military Bowl. Clearly, we did not need this bowl game.

Throughout my lifetime I have watched the sport I love do nothing but grow. Everything from stadium capacities to the number of televised games, bowl games, and even the number of Division I programs have all risen to levels that would have seemed cartoonish just a few decades ago. Astronomical TV contracts, ever expanding stadiums, new bowls and new teams added every year... can college football sustain this kind of growth? Surely it cannot, so what then? Will it collapse under its own weight taking countless programs down with it, or will it simply level off to a more sustainable level of growth, focusing on adding quality rather than quantity?

The last few years we have hit a tipping point. There was a time when new bowls were exciting and made sense, and adding new teams was the same. ESPN and regional cable sports networks brought more and more games into our living rooms and it was a welcome sight. But lately, perhaps for a decade now, every new addition brings more eye rolling than excitement. Does FBS football really need a Belk Bowl, or Arkansas State? Do any of us need either to be on TV? Definitely not. A few years ago now college football was expanding with programs like Boise State, UCONN and Nevada that have brought excitement and strong fan bases to the college football landscape. Additions of bowl games like the Las Vegas Bowl and Outback Bowl brought good matchups and great fan destinations to the bowl season. On ESPN, Prime Sports and then Fox Sports Net/Root we could finally watch our own team and our conference foes on TV regularly,  and we even got to experience the air-it-out craziness of the old WAC. Basically additions were good. Not anymore. We have plenty of teams, too many games on TV and way too many bowls. We have diluted the product.

Since 1987, 26 programs have been added to the top division of College Football. With the money from TV and bowl games it was like the Klondike Gold Rush of collegiate sports and lots of programs were willing to risk everything to make the leap. Pretty much everyone who took the leap has made out like a bandit, so far. (interestingly Pacific University shut down their football program in 1995, right when things were beginning to really blow up. This is a program that absolutely walloped Wichita State in the 1948 Raisin Bowl, then less than 50 years later, poof!)

Thought Football was great last year? Just wait 'til Old Dimnion joins FBS in 2014!

But like most bubbles, somebody has to be sitting on a steaming pile of you-know-what, right? Is it really possible that programs like Georgia State, Louisiana Monroe, and our pals the Vandals, aren’t just a little over-valued in all this? Or God Forbid, is it us in the major conferences that are writing checks our true value will never be able to cash? The latest round of TV negotiations screamed SPECULATION BUBBLE. Was there really enough value in this product to justify the massive payouts? However there are some encouraging signs that sober minds may be getting out ahead of this problem before it bursts all over us. First of all, we finally have a playoff on the way. Sure, it is only four teams, but all indications are that this thing is going to expand in the coming years. That alone may inject a much needed shot of enthusiasm into a fan base that is no longer interested in watching two directional schools play in an empty stadium in the Charmin Ultra Bowl. Also, the pressure conference realignment is putting on teams like Idaho will make others think twice before trying to move up a division. Lets face it, FBS has all the teams worth having already and a few others (I'm looking at you, Florida Atlantic!).  

On the Palouse we can see both the boom (Wazzu) and the bust (Idaho) of this football bubble. Idaho has been left without a chair after the latest round of conference musical chairs and looks more and more like a team with FCS value paying a mortgage with an FBS price tag.  Meanwhile, in Pullman that beeping sound you hear is from the dump trucks the Pac-12 Net keeps backing up to Bohler gym and dumping mounds of cash. Are we really worth this much? Is there another shoe ready to drop? Hopefully not.

Finally, while it probably does not imperil the programs bottom line, given our revenue now comes mostly from TV, we are a team with attendance issues that need to be resolved. So far Bill Moos’s stadium plans have focused on a smarter stadium, rather than a larger stadium. Just because everybody wants an upper deck, doesn’t mean everyone needs one and we’d surely have to tarp ours like the Oakland A’s. These days people have more options than ever on gameday. No longer is it A. drive across the state, or B. listen to Bob Rob. The game day experience needs to compete successfully with all the other options if we want butts in seats. While the festivities and amenities available to fans are better than they've ever been, there are still big factors working against us. Namely, it is time consuming and expensive to get yourself (and your family) to and from Pullman and the home schedule, which caters almost entirely to TV audiences, is terrible. 

I don't have numbers to back this assumption, but it seems obvious to me that the fans who attend games are the ones whose support is least fickle and most likely to go beyond the cost of their ticket. In an uncertain time, an investment in their continued support seems wise and I hope to see future home schedules improve. Other than that I believe Moos is working hard to put a good team on the field in a nice stadium. Is it good enough to justify the cost vs. your sofa and 60" flat screen or a stool at the Joker Pub? I guess its up to all of us to decide.

 

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2013-01-23T03:15:41+00:00 /2012-articles/have-we-created-a-college-football-bubble.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Helmet Schedule 2013 'n Such /2013-articles/january/wazzu-morning-drip-helmet-schedule-2013-n-such.html http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/544015_494457337264667_2089509754_n.jpg

Happy Monday Cougs, and welcome to another Morning Drip.  And a big happy MLK Jr day to you and yours, and of course we hope you are basking in the glow of a 3-day weekend!  No luck for me unfortunately, as I will be back to the grind on a typical Monday.  Oh to be a banker or government worker on a morning like this.  Back in the day I did work briefly for the now-defunct WAMU, and while they paid peanuts, well, at least we got every friggin' holiday off under the sun.  So there you go.

Anyway, lots of stuff to get to today to kinda/sorta round up your weekend.  Jeff Tuel played in a postseason All-Star game, it was an important weekend for recruiting, etc.  And oh yeah, the 2013 Pac-12 HELMET SCHEDULE IS HERE!  Hooray Helmet Schedule!  Check it out.....

 

As promised:

NOTE - I know it won't appear correctly in your browser due to the width of the image.  You can right-click on it and save it to your PC, and then you can view it offline if you are having an issue seeing it on your PC/device/phone/whatever.  You can also right-click on it and choose to "open in a new browser/window", and it should appear correctly.  We will also be updating our blog header for the 2013 version just to keep things current, so if you can't save this one for some reason, sit tight.  Anyway, a huge THANK YOU to our own SelahCoug, who took the time to put this thing together.  I'm a visual guy and it's always kind of cool to see the way the whole conference schedules kind of lay out compared to the others and see how it all fits.

Moving on, Jeff Tuel played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl over the weekend.  Tuel turned in a strong performance too, completing all 8 of his passes for 63 yards, including a TD pass, as his team rolled to a 34-0 win.   Tuel was snubbed for MVP honors, however, as instead they chose Kansas QB Dayne Crist (what a ripoff!).  But in all seriousness, Tuel has looked sharp thus far in the postseason collegiate All-Star game circuit.  In two postseason bowls, Tuel has completed 14-of-16 for 178 yards with a couple of TD's.  I saw one tweet over the weekend that said that Tuel might be sneaking in to the top 10 of the QB's for the 2013 NFL draft, and well, you have to think he's going to get a good look at getting taken in the later rounds?  We'll see after the combine and all that stuff and you start to see the mock drafts really pick up.  But so far so good for young Tuel, and we continue to wish him well in his future endeavors!  

Moving on, a big recruiting weekend for the Cougs.  A couple of kids from Texas have committed, including big safety Montrel Meander and wide receiver Charleston White.  Meander is a big fella at 6-3, 190, and had offers from Texas Tech and Houston among many.  White, meanwhile, picked the Cougs over ASU, Colorado State, and Nevada among others.  So far a good haul, and more are likely to come in the coming days as they head down the home stretch towards signing day.

So, hooray Harbaugh Bowl??  Eeesh.  Now I do like John Harbaugh, and after many decent playoff runs the Ravens finally broke through by beating Brady and Belichick.  But younger brother Jimmy???

http://i.imgur.com/dVHgK6N.gif

Not so much.

Yeah, he's a former Pac-12 coach and all that....but GO RAVENS!  

Finally, WAY WAY WAY off topic but.....that whole NBA to Seattle thing?  Looks like it has finally come to a signed agreement.  The reports are everywhere that it is now a done deal, and we should get an announcement officially between the two groups as soon as today.  The next step would be to have it go through the NBA board of governors, where they would need to approve the sale as well as the move of the franchise in Sacramento to Seattle for next season.  

Will the Sonics return?  It seems like it's closer than ever.  But we'll see.  KJ in Sactown hasn't given up yet and is said to have some real "whale" investors on his team, and they are going to pitch their side of things to the NBA.  If the league hears what it wants to out of the Cali group, they could always deny the Maloof's sale to Hansen's group and back them into a corner where their only recourse is to sell to the local ownership group.  The NBA would then wait a little longer for Seattle and eventually, maybe, grant them an expansion team.  But things sure seem to be lining up that the NBA is headed back up north.  

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lyf0aqNcxd1qm9rypo1_1280.jpg

I still refuse to get too excited about the idea, and want to see it all play out between the decision makers before geeking out on the Kings roster and look ahead to what they might look like in green-n-gold!  But still, as a young man in Seattle back in the early 90's, the Sonics with Kemp and Payton and George Karl?  The Sonics bring back a lot of great memories, and I would love nothing more to see them return in some way, shape or form!  

All for now.  Enjoy your Monday, and of course, GO COUGS!

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2013-01-21T10:42:23+00:00 /2013-articles/january/wazzu-morning-drip-helmet-schedule-2013-n-such.html
More Commits, More Pumped /2012-articles/more-commits-more-pumped.html Good morning and happy Friday, Cougs! We're just a couple weeks away from National Signing Day and Mike Leach and his crew are working on the finishing touches for the recruiting class of 2013. Wazzu has received a couple more commitments since my last look at the class. I was hoping there would be several more on board before the next time I fired up the Bridgeport Pumped-O-Meter, but I've got an itchy trigger finger and had to rate the latest unofficial future Cougs. According to the good folks at Cougfan, this weekend will be a busy one for official visits on the Palouse so maybe there will be some new players to rate early next week. In the meantime, let's take a look at Paulo Lepua and Isaac Dotson. 

Paulo Lepua - DE - Harbor City, CA

Bridgeport Pumped-O-Meter Score: 10

A surefire way for a recruit to get a 10 for the POM is for news of his commitment to cause me to fist pump. A teenager tells a middle-aged man he'd like to play football on his team and I react as though I, personally, had just accomplished something athletically...yeah, I'm pretty pumped. Also, I've misplaced my priorities in life, but we already knew that. As for why I was so excited for Lepua, he's a big, bad dude who looks like a perfect fit in the Breske defense (short hair notwithstanding). He appears to be Xavier Cooper-esque in that he'll probably be able to rotate either inside or outside. He comes from a big time program in California and reportedly had multiple other Pac 12 offers. Besides all that, he had me at Lepua. He had me at Lepua.

Isaac Dotson - ATH - Bellevue, WA

Bridgeport Pumped-O-Meter Score: 9

I'm a sucker for narrative and I enjoy Dotson's recruiting narrative. Wanting to play quarterback in college, he originally commited to Nevada to have that chance. A coaching change in Reno and a visit to Pullman later, My Main Man Ike decided the chance to fulfill a dream of playing in the Pac-12 for the Cougs was too good a chance to pass up, position be damned. I'd like to see him at least get a look at quarterback somewhere along the line, but he appears to be in "whatever position gets me on the field" mode which is pretty awesome, especially for an athlete of his caliber. All of that said, his lack of position confused the Pumped-O-Meter so he had to be docked a punt. And yes, by confused the Pumped-O-Meter, I mean confused me.

There is much more work to be done the next couple weeks to lock down old commitments and hopefully pick up some new ones. We'll be watching closely at WSUFBB headquarters as we gear up for our Signing Day lack of productiviy extravaganza. For an otherwise slow time of year, this gives us something to obsess over for a little while and that's always fun. Go Cougs.

 

 

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2013-01-18T22:44:48+00:00 /2012-articles/more-commits-more-pumped.html
Victory! Victory! That's Our Cry! /2012-articles/victory-victory-that-s-our-cry.html

"My name is Mike Ladd and last night, I was on fi-ah!!"

Here's a fun fact about blogging: It's hard to work on a game recap when you are under the weather and a little sleep deprived and you fall asleep during a portion of the game you intend to recap. My need to nap does not say much for me as a functioning member of society. The fact that I actually good nap during a sporting event does not say much for the states of the Washington State and Utah basketball programs. That said, an opportunity to write about a win should be cherished so here's some quick thoughts on the game (at least what I could gather while I was awake):

I enjoy the Mike Ladd experience. He was on fire last night and even better, he knew it. It's always a fun thing to watch when a basketball player starts raining three's and he knows they're going in as soon as the ball leaves his hand. This was Ladd last night. Also, his baby girl got lots of air time. From all of us at the WSU Football Blog, congratulations! For a dude who probably isn't sleeping much these days, you're doing pretty well.

The Cougs won on a night that Brock Motum struggled mightily. Granted, Utah doesn't look like they'll threaten anybody in the Pac-12, but for a team that looked like it would have no chance without Brock leading the way, it was nice to see the supporting cast step up. 

Larry Krystokvowewokdaiifkdak clearly didn't go to the Lorenzo Romar school of inspirational technical fouls. When the Utes were putting a serious dent in a Cougar 16 point lead, The Other Coach K picked up a technical that led to a 5 point possession for Wazzu. Utah never seriously threatened after that.

Royce Woolridge had what I thought was his best game in a Cougar uniform. He was able to cause problems all night off the dribble. We've seen some glimpses of his talent lately and there are signs of encouragement if he can find some consistency. His jumper is what it is with a funky looking stroke, but if he can use his athletecism to get in the paint and make plays, it'll add another dimension.

I'm happy the Pac-12 Network exists so that we can watch the games, but hoo boy the commentary is a mess. When your expert analyst says that Will DiIorio is brought on for ball handling purposes, you're doing it wrong.

Plenty of good seats available at Beasley last night, or as I put it on Twitter last night (hit me up @Huddlestron), a lot of Manti Te'o's girlfriends were in attendance. They don't exist, so the seat's still empty. Get it? Topical! Anyhow, I'm not sure if you knew this, but Bill Moos does not like it when the fan base is showing signs of apathy. With the team now standing at a ho-hum 10-7 record and buts only in seats for "big games", the basketball program is need of a serious jolt. I'm not saying, I'm just sayin'.

It's always good to get a win and it's even better to win comfortably in conference. Last night, the home team managed both so credit to all. Go Cougs.

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2013-01-18T00:44:25+00:00 /2012-articles/victory-victory-that-s-our-cry.html
Conference Schadenfreude! /2012-articles/january/conference-schadenfreude.html

After a will they or won't they that would make Ross and Rachel tell them to just get on with it already, the Philadelphia Eagles have hired soon-to-be former Oregon coach Chip Kelly as their new head coach (according to every website on the internet). While we get to take a little enjoyment at the expense of Oregon, I suspect it'll revolve mostly around Chip's back and forth daliances. At this point, all signs point toward current Duck offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich assuming the role. I tend to think that the Oregon juggernaut will be able to roll along pretty well, even without Chip there. Uncle Phil is still around and hiring from within should help from a continuity standpoint. Besides, they still have the jazzy uniforms and fancy facilities and whatnot. What say you, Coug Nation? Does Chip's departure mean we might see a turning of the tide in the Pac-12 North or will this be Bellotti to Kelly part 2? At the very least, we're not currently in last place according to the conference fanbase angst-o-meter. Go Cougs.

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2013-01-17T00:49:51+00:00 /2012-articles/january/conference-schadenfreude.html
Welcome to the Doldrums /2012-articles/december/welcome-to-the-doldrums.html

These days the word “doldrums” is a metaphor used to describe conditions that lead to boredom, but in the old timey days doldrums was more than just a figurative term. Literally, “the Doldrums” are large swaths of ocean around the equator that are notable for the complete absence of wind for long periods of time. This was pretty significant if you happened to be on a ship powered by sails. Just imagine a bunch of smelly guys packed onto a cramped and creaky wooden ship under a blazing hot sun, with limited supplies of quickly rotting food, stagnating water and fast disappearing rum. With no signs of anything on the horizon in any direction and your vessel unable to move at all, its like the perfect formula for an outbreak of complete and utter madness. As someone not shy about hyperbole, I like to compare the time between the end of the NCAA Basketball tournament and the beginning of College football as the sports equivalent of the doldrums; a stretch of uninterrupted nothingness that seems to go on interminably, ultimately driving me mad with a touch of scurvy.

This year I have this terrible feeling that the sports doldrums have arrived early. Sure the college basketball season is still young and the Super Bowl still looms large on the horizon, but with the Seahawks heartbreaking loss and the Cougs recent ineptitude on the hardwood, I’m having a hard time finding much interest in either. If you are feeling the same, read on and together we will try to come up with ways to mitigate our current sports malaise...

That’s right, my fellow stranded sailors, its puppies and rainbows time. Lets start with the Seahawks, shall we?

There are no two ways about it, folks, the Hawks loss this weekend was gut wrenching, BUT... here are a couple reasons to not feel too terribly awful about it and to keep tuning in for the remainder of the NFL playoffs.
1. The Hawks are freaking GOOD. Damn good. Our team, our Seahawks are elite on both sides of the ball and showed a ton character overcoming two large deficits in the face of hostile crowds. Huddy can only dream of a Bengals team ever being this awesom. Also, they did this with a rookie QB who could run for Governor at this point and nobody would dare oppose him. With a young team and some cap room, the Hawks look to have plenty more exciting football in them. Also, as much as we hate those 49ers, how cool is it that our division will likely feature the most exciting inter-divisional rivalry in all of football for the foreseeable future! Buck up y’all!
2. After this weekend’s divisional rounds, this years playoffs have officially become epic. NFL fans all over the country were riveted to the screen for the Seahawks two weeks in a row and then Baltimore totally upped the ante in their stunning take down of the Bronco’s at Mile High in overtime, keeping Ray Lewis’ career alive for at least one more game. There has to be more drama in store, right?


This is how you SHOULD feel about the Seahawks.
 

Feeling better yet? No? Well, lets try hoops, shall we?

Last week the Cougs went on the road to the Bay area and an audible pfffffffffffffffftttttt sound was heard up and down the West Coast as any lingering hopes for our season were totally deflated. Ken Bone is one of the least loved coaches in all of sports and the recent struggles of the Cougs have predictably amplified the calls for his ouster. Over at Cougcenter, Jeff Nusser had this terrific breakdown of the reasons for and against making a coaching change in our hoops program, and our own Ptown has been all over the interwebs insisting to anyone who will listen that due to economics, all points are moot, we can’t afford to replace Bone right now. Well if you would all step away from your Ken Bone dart boards for just a moment, I have a little something to add to this conversation. It goes like this... Despite how it feels, we are living in a Cougar Basketball Renaissance. Stop laughing, I’m being totally serious! Since 2007, we have been to the post season every year except 2010. During that stretch we have yet to post a losing season, and we have made three deep post-season tournament runs. That represents 5 of the 12 post season appearances in our history, and 10 of our 17 post season wins EVER. In other words, we are living in the Golden Age of Cougar Basketball, people!

Why won't they love me?

Now I know those of you who haven’t passed out from indignation are thinking that the proliferation of post season tournaments, the weakness of the Pac-10/12 and a whole host of things not called Ken Bone are to be credited for all this. I agree. However, at times like this a little perspective is never a bad thing and the fact is by historical measures this is a good time to be a Cougar Basketball fan. Feel better now? I can see that you don't.

Ok, well how about this? That’s right, national LOI signing day is just around the corner and there is a ton to be excited about on that commit list including 10 offensive and defensive linemen. I don’t know about you, but I am on pins and needles to see how these guys measure up on the next Bridgeport Pumped-O-Meter.

Well, thats about all the cheer and optimism I can muster right now, folks. Hang in there and Go Cougs!

 

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2013-01-16T01:12:23+00:00 /2012-articles/december/welcome-to-the-doldrums.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Letting It Go Edition /2013-articles/january/wazzu-morning-drip-letting-it-go-edition.html http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/2013/01/13/2020127790.jpg

Good morning Cougs, and a happy Monday to you and yours.  

As for yours truly?  Well, I'm bummed.  After the craziness of yesterday's Seahawks playoff loss, it stings.  After falling so far behind, looking so dreadful for long stretches, only to come all the way back like that....and then let them get that last second field goal?  Brutal, and a tremendous heartbreaker with the finality in all of it.

I still am in disbelief as to how it all came down though.  They looked so bad early, where they just couldn't get out of their own way and once again got off to a lousy, WTF is going on start to it all.  An early fumble by Marshawn Lynch, going for it on 4th and inches in easy field goal range, not getting points right before the half, and falling behind even further in the 3rd?  I sure thought it was over and was tweeting that I hope ATL plays like this next week vs. the hated Harbaugh's and San Fran!  But what a fourth quarter, what a comeback, what a disappointment, and finally, what a QB the Hawks have right now.

I am still amazed at how far, how fast, Russell Wilson has come on in the NFL.  Early in the season I was just not buying him, I just didn't see it.  He just didn't look good enough early on, looked a little too uneasy in the pocket and the accuracy wasn't there yet, things were not clicking.  After they lost vs. St Louis early on when Wilson threw an INT on the last possession, I was ready for Matt Flynn.  But they stuck with the kid QB, took the growing pains and all that, all the while knowing what they had.  And then he played huge in the comeback vs. New England, and things just sort of took off from there.  And wow, here we are!  And it's not just me being a D-Bag HOMER on Wilson either.  Check out some of this stuff on Wilson from Mike Sando at ESPN.com.  Pretty impressive, even in defeat!

Anyway, it's tough.  Today I can sit here and say "Hey, this is one of the youngest teams in the NFL, they have their franchise QB now and a young, hungry defense.  THEY'LL BE BACK!"  But will they?  There is no guarantee of anything going forward.  And a lot of very good/great QB's have broken through early in their careers, only to never get back when things looked so promising early on.  Dan Marino went to a Super Bowl in his second season, but never got a taste again.  Brett Favre went to a couple of Super Bowls in his first five seasons, but despite getting really close after that and many deep playoff runs, he never made it back either.  It's just so damn tough to get to the promised land, and you never know what the future will hold.  It's hard to be disappointed with an 11-win season and a road playoff win with a rookie QB who tied Peyton Manning's rookie TD pass record.  But at the same time they were THIS CLOSE to playing in the NFC championship game!  So today is truly a "mixed bag" of emotions.  Sad and disappointed that it's over, yet hopeful (cautiously) for what lies ahead.  

Anyway, on to the morning links......

The Cougs have apparently made the move after the rumors broke last week, and the story is that David Yost is now part of the WSU coaching staff.  Yost, as you may recall, was rumored last week to be on the way after interviewing with Mike Leach.  Yost was the offensive coordinator at Missouri for a few years, and led some pretty potent offenses in his time there.  The buzz is that he could be an excellent addition to the offensive staff in Pullman, so we say welcome aboard! 

Cougfan has some good news from the recruiting weekend, as in-state athlete Isaac Dotson has committed to WSU while Texas WR Hunter Jarmon, with most of the Big 12 coming after him, loved his visit to Pullman.  Dotson was headed for Nevada to play QB in the pistol offense, and has run a lot of option in his time in high school.  We'll see how and where he fits in at the BCS level, but it sounds like he's a good, solid "get" for the coaching staff.  Scout.com has a free evaluation of Dotson from back in October of last season, and you can check that out here.  Jarmon is a 2-star prospect from Scout.com, but is a four-star guy from ESPN.com.

Finally, Jeff Tuel played in his first postseason All-Star game on Friday, and apparently played pretty well per NFLDraftBible.com:

 

 

There's also a write-up of the game from the AZ Star here, with some good quotes from Tuel after leading his team to victory.

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/azstarnet.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/0c/60c01448-5c7e-11e2-98c1-0019bb2963f4/50f0fdb332ecb.preview-620.jpg

Good luck to Tuel as he pursues his NFL dream.  Nobody would love to see him succeed more than those of us at WSUFootballBlog.com.

That's it for now.  Enjoy your back-to-the-grind Monday, and of course, GO COUGS/HAWKS!

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2013-01-14T10:43:20+00:00 /2013-articles/january/wazzu-morning-drip-letting-it-go-edition.html
Wazzu Morning Drip - Friday Roundup Edition /2013-articles/january/wazzu-morning-drip-friday-roundup-edition.html http://i.imgur.com/OkXf8.jpg

Happy Friday Cougs, and as always we hope all is well for you and yours as we wrap up the week.  Things are pretty chilly around the great NW this morning, as this pic from Martin Stadium shows that the cold-n-snow-n-such has settled in typical January fashion.  I don't know about you, but this week was a flippin' BLUR to yours truly.  Work is work is work and all that, and that always makes time fly based on the size of the pile that you need to get through.  But it was a busy week around the Coug universe too, as well as other "interests" we all seem to have around here.  So let's take a look at what's up out there, shall we?

So the Cougs are reportedly moving towards a deal for a new offensive assistant to replace the departed Eric Morris, who headed down the road to Texas Tech.  David Yost is the rumor, as the former offensive coordinator from Mizzou has reportedly interviewed with Mike Leach and is rumored to be intrigued by the idea of joining Leach and learning more about the Air Raid style of play.  

http://www.google.com/url?source=imglanding&ct=img&q=http://media.columbiatribune.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2011/Oct/11/yost_file_t620.jpg?fbf2daa044e08a86b24c9c38cd7501865a0e2373&sa=X&ei=lRjwULf8DKbfigLS_4CICA&ved=0CAsQ8wc&usg=AFQjCNE9KmcVpQjIHp1laizt5ry81z6jsg

Of course, we can all first "yuk it up" over the surfer hair style rocked by Yost.  Or as one friend texted me when he saw Yost's picture....

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQFN2guj7r2bsJFkPZQh25O6Ny4_9ltsa_PyDERQy8wHoVPVRDUT9Eiyx8C

I know, I know, REALLY ORIGINAL to poke fun at the hair.  But that's just what we do, know what I mean?  Anyway, Yost has been a part of some prolific spread offenses at Mizzou, and could be a perfect fit in Pullman.  What's interesting is how Yost resigned from Mizzou in December citing personal reasons, and the Columbian article hints at the home responsibilities with his wife and three young kids as the primary reason.  

I'm no coach, nor would I pretend to know what the grind those guys do is really all about.  I'm just some schlub who helped start a blog back in 2004, and for some reason we are still here in 2013.  But as to knowing what it's like to be a college coach or coordinate an offense??  

http://i.imgur.com/I4uC2.jpg

But I can say this - I would imagine being a coordinator of a BCS program is a hell of a grind.  We have an old friend of the blog who actually was a D-1 coordinator back in the day and is still a coach out there, somewhere, right now, and there were a lot of stories of 80-hour weeks and watching film until your eyes feel like they are going to bleed, etc.  Yes, you get paid well to do that job at a high level, but there is definitely a price to pay.  

Anyway, he sounds good to me if he's "all in" for what Leach will expect/demand from his coaches.  And here's hoping we get the deal done soon, like, TODAY?  I don't know if you've seen it, but recruiting is really heating up all of a sudden!  Now that the dead period is winding down, per Cougfan's official visit list there are seven recruits coming to town this weekend to check out Pullman and see what's up out here.  And there are at least seven more recruits coming the following weekend as well, so, we're clearly in the home stretch.  You would hope that they can get Yost to town and out in front of some of these kids to help finish up this class!

By the way, after a week like this, I'm wiped.  Can you remember a more distracting week around the NW than what we just had?  Think about it:

Monday we had the post-Seahawks stuff going on from their first road playoff W since 1983.  So there was plenty to read about and listen to in the post-Hawks glow from Sunday.  

Then you had the LEACH CLEARED headline on Tuesday, as the Pac-12 report finally came in about a month after the internal WSU investigation.  

Then you had the Kings-to-become-Sonics rumors on Wednesday, and that was distracting to say the least!  Tweets and more tweets from every corner on that story, and it was pretty easy to waste a lot of time there.  Of course now you have rumors that the thing may fall apart because the Maloof family wants to sell for $500 million, AND they want a big say in the future direction of the franchise!?  Yeesh.

THEN you had the new Pac-12 football schedule released for Thursday!  So there was that to roll around and bitch about how the Pac-12 hates WSU, the Seattle game is lame, etc.  You know, the usual.  

THEN the news came out that the M's were unloading some serious young talent to get Justin Upton from the AZ D-Backs, only to have the player pull the plug by exercising his no-trade clause!  So there was that to read about and digest the tweets and such from the massive overreaction.  Oh, and if you are holding out hope that Upton will reconsider?  Don't get too excited, because it sure sounds as though he is dead set against playing at sea level in Seattle.  This really doesn't sound like a negotiating ploy.

It all makes you wonder what's coming next?  But this week, wow, it's got to be one of the craziest weeks I can recall as a sports fan who grew up in the NW!  

Speaking of a busy week and Twitter and all that - some of you know this about me, but I work at home full time.  It's a good setup here in my office, and I can plow through a lot of billable hours on a weekly basis without any problems.  But this week?  Well, I have to admit it......it's far, far too easy to at times reach for the iPhone and check that Twitter feed or email or text, just one more time.  And MAYBE, just maybe I paid a little too much attention to those kinds of things when I should have been focused elsewhere during a meeting this week?

http://i.imgur.com/C2aLM.jpg

In all seriousness, I did some reading about online addiction and how your brain works with things like e-mail, Facebook and yes, Twitter.  It turns out one study found that each time you check your e-mail, Twitter, etc, as you look for new information?  Your brain can give you a quick "squirt" of dopamine, almost as a reward for seeking things out.  And another study I read said that it can take upwards of 15 minutes to refocus back on work after you take time out to check an e-mail or refresh that Twitter feed!  So after this week, yeah, I think I need help!  

One word of advice I was given was to have the mobile device out of sight during work hours to eliminate the distraction, or to make sure you only reach for that device during a set break time during the day.  I try to get up at least once an hour to get a drink or let the dogs out or use the bathroom or whatever for just a few minutes, so, I think that's what I'm going to do, like, TODAY!  But weeks like this make it awfully hard to unplug when you are interested in this kind of "stuff".

All for now.  Enjoy your Friday, and of course, GO COUGS! 

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2013-01-11T10:33:29+00:00 /2013-articles/january/wazzu-morning-drip-friday-roundup-edition.html
2013 Schedule Released!!!! /2013-articles/january/2013-schedule-released.html Hello Followers.  Hope you’re having a great week.

Moments ago, the Pac-12 released the 2013 Cougar Football Schedule which is noted after the jump below.  One word describes it.  YIKES!!!!!

(read on)

++++

Washington State 2013 football schedule

Saturday, Aug. 31: at Auburn

Saturday, Sept. 7: at USC

Saturday, Sept. 14: vs. Southern Utah

Saturday, Sept. 21: vs. Idaho

Saturday, Sept. 28: vs. Stanford

Saturday, Oct. 5: at California

Saturday, Oct. 12: vs. Oregon State (Homecoming)

Saturday, Oct. 19: at Oregon

Thursday, Oct. 31: vs. Arizona State

Saturday, Nov. 16: at Arizona

Saturday, Nov. 23: vs. Utah

Friday, Nov. 29: at Washington

++++

Couple of quick thoughts:

First, we now know the game that will be on Thursday night is not Stanford or Oregon State, but Arizona State.  Also, with Oregon State now listed as the Homecoming game, one has to think that we might have nixed that Seattle game as a conference match-up. THAT would be a big win for the program.

Edit:  Stanford is now the Seattle game.  Still not great for team over long haul, but MUCH better than OSU,  because OSU is more winnable so its better that its at home in Pullman, IMO.

Second, injuries should NOT be as much of a concern for this year’s club.  The reason:  we play ONE game between our tilt with Oregon on October 19th and our date at Zona on November 16th.  That’s a lot of time to heal!

Third, nothing quite says 0-2 more than starting the year at Auburn and SC.  Not saying that we will or should lose both, but talk about a killer!  But even more than that, when you look at the prospect of starting the season in the heart of SEC land and then following it up in the LA Coliseum, does that sound conducive to breaking in a freshman quarterback?  

For that reason, we can all bet the entire farm that, short of a catastrophic spring, #12 will be the starting QB for next year.


Fourth, the three most winnable conference games may be our last three.  So, there’s a chance to finish strong—at least on paper.

We’ll have LOTS more thoughts about this (duh!) over the next 36 weeks or so.  Chime in with YOUR thoughts about how the season breaks down.

All for now.  Go Cougs!

 

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2013-01-10T20:28:15+00:00 /2013-articles/january/2013-schedule-released.html
Polite Crowd Rattles Cougs /2013-articles/january/polite-crowd-rattles-cougs.html

Maples was rocking tonight.

For a time tonight, I had visions in my head of writing about a road win and about conference parity and about how maybe this team could somehow scratch out a mediocre conference season. A very late 14-0 Stanford run dashed those hopes and with about two minutes left, I pulled out my laptop and set out to write about another loss. The Cougs and Card looked like evenly matched teams and just prior to the Stanford run, the Cougs even looked superior with only some impressive, if borderline, ridiculous shooting by the home team keeping the good guys from being the team to pull away. Alas, the Wazzu shots stopped falling and the smart guys' just never did. The result was somehow a double digit loss to a team that, quite frankly, isn't very good. For more notes on yet another disappointing Bone Era performance, click on the jump. Then when you're done, leave some comments. We can all talk about it together, like a community and stuff.

 

The big news of the night was that Will DiIorio got the start over Royce Woolridge on the heels of his strong, albeit total outlier, performance against UW. It was likely an effort to combat the size of Stanford, which makes sense. Ken Bone was off to a good start, logically.

Richard Longrus and Woolridge were the first guys off the bench tonight because rotation, schmotation.

Hey, it didn't take over 5 minutes to score this time. Hooray! Mike Ladd got off to a very bright start, both offensively and on the glass. You know, because Mike Ladd is our best rebounder and all.

Something we learned from Richard Longrus and DJ Shelton tonight: when someone is setting a screen and you pass to him, the ball just hits him in the chest and the other team gets it. This is not effective basketball, but it is effective comedy.

In case you're wondering where I stand on DaVonte Lacy's shooting slump, not a fan to be honest.

This game, like most games so far this year, and probably most games the rest of the way will, featured a lengthy offensive drought. When we're forced into situations where someone has to create his own shot, it's always going to get pretty ugly. It's a lot to ask for Motum and/or Lacy to continually bail the team out offensively.

Speaking of Motum, his struggles from the UW game carried over into the first half. When he's not doing awesome Brock Motum things, his limitations become incredibly glaring. His hands aren't very good, he's not much of a passer, he's not a good rebounder for his size and he's not terribly athletic. That said, the dude can score in some truly remarkable ways and I love him.

As we rolled into the second half, I came to realize that I was missing "Stars in Danger: The High Dive" to watch the Cougs. Blogger problems.

There are some lineups Ken Bone rolls out there that make you wonder, "Who scores when these five are out there?" When the five in question are DiIorio, Ladd, Longrus, Woolridge and DJ Shelton, the answer is that Shelton will hit a step-back three at the end of the shot clock, then come down and heat check his way into another trey the next time down. I feel like this is not sustainable, but it was pretty cool.

I haven't charted the game (nor will I be), but I'm pretty sure the Bone Zone went 0 for the night getting stops. All stats are unofficial.

My hopes got especially high when the Motum-Lacy bail out offense got going (consecutive three's by Motum plus an And-1 by Lacy) to pull the Cougs to a five point lead, but the magic was short lived.

It was short-lived because Stanford wouldn't miss shots. A couple three's came as the result of lazy close-outs on defense, but even so, the way Stanford shot was pretty fluky.

As the game went back and forth and looked poised to go down to the wire, the Cougs were actually able to get some easy buckets from carving up the Stanford zone. It was reassuring that this is in fact possible.

We were mostly able to limit Stanford's offensive rebounding, which is a huge strength of theirs, but the beginning of the end came when Shelton was basically alone under the basket and Dwight Powell dunked a rebound.

I felt like the Cougs kept getting pretty good looks during the 14-0 run, but shots just wouldn't go. And Stanford just would not miss. 

All in all, it's hard to say that the team played badly. There were poor moments to be sure, but they were far from a calamity. When you're shots don't go and the other team's do, it's just not going to be your night. When is it going to be our night? Hopefully soon.

Go Cougs.

 

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2013-01-10T10:18:28+00:00 /2013-articles/january/polite-crowd-rattles-cougs.html