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WSU 10 - USC 7

THANK YOU MIKE LEACH!

 

And the WSU Cougar defense!

 

We should support Mike Leach as coach at WSU.
The carefully worded letter from Marquess Wilson released a couple days ago was designed to blame the Mike Leach for all problems and make you believe "this was the year" for Paul Wulff's staff if only Mike Leach hadn't screwed it up.  We will never know the truth of what would have happened had Paul Wulff stayed.  We do know what had already happened.  WSU was correct to bet that a charismatic coach who had taken his team to 10 bowl games in 10 years was more likely to be successful than a coach whose BEST year at WSU was 4-8 with all 4 of those wins against horrible teams (Idaho state, UNLV, Colorado, and ASU as they were disintegrating).  The best win in 4 years under Paul Wulff was a win over unranked Oregon State in 2010 - and OSU finished the season 5-7.

Marquess Wilson was a prima donna who seemed to take plays off when they were not designed for him - and though he has piled up a lot of yards he has only scored touchdowns in 3 of 9 games this year including some notable drops when the game was on the line - Paul Wulff's answer was to throw him the ball all the time and that worked OK, though it didn't produce wins. 

Because of the situation at Texas Tech any time someone like Marquess leaves they will take their cue from what has already been written because it is more likely to believed.  I have not been in the locker room, but I have met parents of players who seem to think Mike is doing a great job.  The thought that Wilson is doing this for anyone but himself is laughable.  He is trying to get a free move to another team next year where he won't have to share the limelight so he can try to ensure a big check from the NFL.  While even his stats to date will get him drafted, he isn't fooling anyone in the NFL.

It is very possible that in the last 4 years the players might have been given TOO much leeway, and students steeped in that tradition -  especially the few who benefitted from it while the rest of us suffered - might pine for those days and be unable to make the change.  I think the POINT of this season for Coach Leach was to toughen up the players and build for the future.

The Mike Leach system depends upon balance and the defense NOT knowing who the ball is being thrown to.   It felt like the team was better off without Marquis Wilson for much of the day against UCLA - which none of us would have guessed.  Even the running game began to work a little.

Lets hope that WSU wins at least one of the next two games so that there is some kind of momentum going into recruiting season.

WSU loses to #17 UCLA 44-36 
Yesterday the WSU offense turned in a great performance and the defense played much better than the score indicated, it was really the kicking game that cost them the game.  After driving the field easily and getting stalled within a couple yards of the goal line on their first drive Wazzu lined up for a field goal which was blocked and returned for a touchdown by UCLA.  that was a 10 point swing.  WSU drove the field again, only to have another field goal blocked.  Then a punt was blocked. Then Teondray Caldwell fumbled a kick off return and the defense scored again on a Halliday fumble, allowing UCLA to build a commanding lead going into the Locker room at halftime.  UCLA scored 5 times in the 2nd quarter. 

Without Marquess Wilson and after such ineptness in the first half WSU showed a lot of heart in the 2nd half, outscoring UCLA 27-7 for the final two quarters.  The kicking game HAD redeemed itself a little by creating a turnover on a UCLA kick-off return that became the last points WSU scored.   But they were unable to recover the onside kick and the game ended.  As with Stanford and Colorado they were in position to win the game but could not quite pull it off.

Good young players stepped up, a good omen for the future.  The team I saw yesterday (understanding the kicking as a fluke) could beat the huskies in a couple weeks, which would be a great way to end the season.

Encouraging stats from yesterdays game:
1st downs - WSU 30, UCLA 15
Total yards - WSU 524 UCLA 334
RUSHING! - WSU 67 UCLA 73 - we almost rushed for more yards than they did!

Finally, Halliday threw 5 TD's and was only intercepted once.  Before this game he had 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  He had by far his best game of the season.  Lets hope it is because he is beginning to understand Mike Leach's system.

In Defense of Connor Halliday
Connor Halliday is the best quarterback for the Cougars - at least that is on campus at this time.  I went back and checked some stats.  Here is a comparison of Halliday and Tuel (sr) this year with some of the notable Cougar Quarterbacks of the past as sophomores - Caveats: Ryan Leaf and Jason Gesser already had a full year of starts under their belt by their sophomore year, Tuel had started 6 games and obviously they had different coaches etc.:  Best number highlighted in Green - worst in Red

Player Completion % TD% INT% Y/G Y/A RAT
Connor Halliday 12 53.6 4.5 4.5 214 6.6 114.6
Jeff Tuel 12 70.7 3.2 3.2 N/A 6.4 128.6
Drew Bledsoe 55.6 4.7 4.2 249.2 7.7 127.2
Ryan Leaf 52.0 5.6 3.2 255.5 7.5 127.5
Jason Gesser 52.0 6.5 4.1 218.6 8.0 132.5

It is also true that the full year stats include some really tough games, but BYU and Oregon aren't slouches. Connor is not doing the job we need, but even after yesterdays' disaster (which has heavy weight because only 6 games have been played), he's not THAT far behind Drew Bledsoe at the same age.  The difference seems to be twofold - the time given by the offensive line and  the last second decision making.  The first could be because of a lack of talent - I think the 2nd is just a lack of experience, and if experience is going to make the difference Halliday should be the choice, because he will be here next year.  Jeff Tuel completes more of his passes than anyone on the list, with fewer interceptions, but he is a senior, and he is so cautious he has the lowest TD%.  That may be an indication that as the field shrinks and timing becomes more critical he holds the ball too long.  Against Oregon State sometimes Connor didn't hold the ball long enough.  But he will be here next year with another year in this offense with better more prepared players around him.  That should lower the interception number, which will increase all of the others....I'm a Connor Halliday fan and will continue to be one!  If you disagree come argue on our Facebook page.

WSU Defense puts it together - Offense forgets where they put it in loss to Oregon State 19-16
It was amazing to see the defense play so well on Saturday against Oregon State.  Going against a ranked offense that was on a roll the Cougar defense looked like - well, not themselves - intercepting OSU Quarterback Mannion 3 times and handing the game to the cougar offense on a platter which the offense immediately dropped time after time.   This was the most improbable loss of the season in the way it was played.  The sacks of previous weeks have become ghosts following Connor Halliday and affecting his current play.  Getting pulled for Jeff Tuel twice didn't help that, but no one blamed coach Leach for making the change when he did - OK, I am sure some people wondered why Connor started the 2nd half, especially after he immediately threw and interception.  Sucky game all around.

WSU will beat Oregon State Saturday (wait - never mind)
I believe WSU will put together its first complete game effort on Saturday in Corvallis.  The offense will score points in bunches and the defense will play well enough.  That is assuming of course that Conner Halliday is healthy, which we won't really know until game day.  One key to the game will be pressuring Oregon State's hot quarterback Sean Mannion, so that our cornerbacks can keep up with the Oregon State receivers, who are good and fast.  I believe that the defensive schemes will have progressed enough to slow down Oregon State enough for a WAZZU victory.  Maybe I'm just being a homer because I resent having to pick against WSU last weekend, but it just FEELS like WSU is getting better quickly.  I figure a football team is like a business.  As a business owner I know there are 10 times as many things to do as there is time in the day - the key is organization and knowing what to spend your time on.  Having a coach with the perception to know WHAT the team should spend its time on each week to improve faster than the other guys is the difference that gives me confidence that they will win this weekend.  Lets hope I'm right.

The Only Way Mike Leach is like Paul Wulff
Mike Leach sacrificed wins this year to try to create a better future team.  How?  It was never more evident than in the Colorado game, but has been evident in each game this year.  The cougars have outscored the opposition by a LOT of points in all games other than the BYU game, but have been epic failures in the 4th quarter, partly because of a lack of depth on the defense.  Mike Leach kicked linebacker C.J. Mizell, Linebacker Sekope Kaufusi and Defensive tackle Anthony Laurenzi off of the team for various infractions (Kaufusi was for marijuana - that one was a no brainer).   Three starters, and 2 of them the best players on Defense.  How much more stout/deep would the Cougar defense be if those three were still on the field?  It almost certainly was the margin of victory last Saturday.  Only time will tell if that sacrifice was worth it. The years those players spent learning the ins and outs of Oregon's offense will be sorely missed today as well, as the cougars are basically a "why bother showing up" underdog against the ducks this weekend. 

Mike Leach blamed the team psyche for part of the loss last weekend.  May be, but having those three experienced "psyche's" on the field would have helped.  The experience other younger players are getting and the spots freed up by those scholarships will help the cougars in future years, as will the no nonsense discipline Mike Leach is instilling in the players. They will end up better young men because of it.  The cougars will win more games in the future because of it. They probably lost the last game because of it.  And those three players would not have changed who wins the game today - Oregon by a bunch....

We all are praying for a breakout performance from Connor Halliday and the Mike Leach offense, along with enough defense to keep the ducks under 50 points.  Likely outcome?  Oregon 48 WSU 10.  With the Oregon D working with the Oregon offense in practice the WSU speed will hardly impress. Mike, my wife is an Oregon duck, please make my home livable this week!

WSU vs. Colorado - Wazzu loses in a heartbreaker 35-34
Connor Halliday looked amazing the first half.  That guy is fearless when it comes to throwing the ball downfield.  I like Jeff Tuel as a quarterback, but he doesn't seem to have the downfield swagger of  Halliday.  Third and 13?  No problem.  Throw the ball back across the field deep?  Check.  He has a gunslinger mentality and believes he can throw any ball any time.  he's no John Elway, but he certainly has that much confidence in his arm.

Because of Halliday the Mike Leach offense was hitting on all cylinders, seemingly moving the ball at will for a good part of the first half.

The defense is still a weak however, with a lot of missed tackles considering who they were playing.  It seemed like the Colorado offense was shooting themselves in the foot more than the cougar defense  was making plays.

Wazzu was cruising until about the 10 minute mark of the third quarter when Colorado defender Paul Vigo knocked the ball out of the hands of Winston, returning the ball to the 1 yard line, they scored a touchdown on the next play.  The youthful cougars went flat after that, dropping well thrown balls etc., 

Fortunately the defense made up for the offensive slump.  On the first play after Colorado got the ball Simmons intercepted a deep ball.  From there Marquis Wilson made his presence known with an awesome run off of a bubble screen for a touchdown.  Suddenly instead of Colorado driving to tie the game they were looking up at a 14 point spread and the cougar defense was able to pin their ears back and Colorado collapsed.  With their record this season they don't have a lot of confidence.  They remind me a lot of some WSU teams the past few years..

Mike leach goes for it on 4th down so often you gotta love it.  But it seemed like he handed off the ball A LOT on 1st down.  it seemed very predictable.  You might want to mix up which down you do that.

I was pleased with the defense after half time, they seemed to make great adjustments, making life much tougher for Colorado for most of the third quarter.

Just under the 5 minute mark Colorado QB Jordan Webb was nailed right in the middle of his chest on a throw. As he tried to get up he fell down twice looking like a punch drunk fighter.  But as the new quarterback came into the game the first hand off resulted in an 84 yard touchdown.  And it went downhill from there.

The Cougars look pretty good sometimes, but these were the easy games. Unfortunately all of the teams the rest of the season are as good or better than any of the teams they have already played.

They do not look strong in the 4th quarter.  The offense seemed like it tired itself out and got sloppy.

With teams only putting three guys on the line, maybe Coach Leach should suddenly crunch the 5 lineman into a normal formation and run the ball when not expected.  Seems like it would really throw off the defense.  Even if you did that and then threw the ball it would really throw the other team off.  they would have no clue what he was going to do.  Or you could start that way and shift out.  What law says you have to predictably have that space all the time.

There was a fumble with less than a minute left, had the cougars recovered the game would have been over.  Colorado came out of the pile with it.

Drive into the line, Drive into the line.  One final play to decide the game....

No one covers QB Webb and he runs untouched into the end zone to take the lead with 11 seconds left.

Mike Leach is brilliant - so he needs to come up with a 4 minute offense that runs the clock down.....

Well, I guess we won't win every game....
Come on, admit itIn your heart of hearts you were hoping that suddenly WSU would go "Boise State" on people, win almost every game and flirt with an undefeated season because of the Mike Leach hire.  Me too.  What last night proved is that there are other schools that also have great coaches and good players.  It proved that the BYU defense is good.  And fast.  Plays like that quick shovel pass which thrilled WSU fans ended up going for only a few yards.  Often Jeff Tuel had all day to pass, and yet could still find no one to throw the ball too.  As the game went on he looked more and more indecisive. Rest assured that this is not the cougar offense you can expect for the remainder of the year.  What the cougar faithful can hang their hat on is the fact that they were only outscored 6-0 in the second half, despite being put in a horrible situation right out of the box.  The defense at least made great adjustments at halftime.

Positives -

1 - Going for it on 4th down on the first drive and making it was an exciting glimpse of the swagger that could be coming as the season goes on.

2 - The offensive line.  Through most of the game the offense did a great job of protecting Jeff Tuel.

3 - WSU only lost 6-0 in the second half.

Negatives -

1- With no beer being sold at the stadium WSU fans were forced to watch the game sober.

2 - The offensive line. No Mike Leach offense will ever be mistaken for a running team, but SOME running is required to keep the defense honest.   Because the Cougars could not run the ball (ground game accounted for a net -4 yards...) there were frequently as many  8 defenders in coverage.

3 - The two best opportunities to score, the first drive of each half - were ended by interceptions.  The one at the beginning of the second half came after an amazing kick return that had comeback written all over it.

4 - New coach, but the players still play like a team that expects to lose.  Kind of a glass jaw emotionally.  Hopefully next weeks game against a much more manageable opponent will be the real beginning of the season for WSU.

Odd -

1 - It was so quiet in that stadium.  I have never been in a stadium that felt "reverent" before.  Polite doesn't describe it.  When I went down to the concession stand I half expected to see kids walking in church dress with their arms folded.... That did change during one drive where BYU was called for several penalties in a row.  Growing up LDS myself and with a daughter attending BYU I have always been aware of BYU football.  But that felt weird. 

2 - More commercials in the stadium than I have ever seen.  It was like a bad Saturday Night live skit. 

Mike Leach and WSU get a big test vs. the BYU defense
The waiting is finally over, and I will be happy (almost) no matter what the outcome is tonight, because win or lose, the Cougars look like they have a future again.  It would be surprising and impressive if  we could pull out a win, but it will be exciting to see both the Mike Leach offense and new look defense.  I mean face it, we scored some points in the past 4 years, it was frequently the defense that let us down (I know, turnovers...).  The BYU defense is stout returning 11 of 12 starters, and I think they will always be up more for Pac-12 opponents because of the whole University of Utah thing.  Praying for a close win - though being Mormon myself and wearing WSU colors on the BYU campus I feel like I might lose my temple recommend or something......

One thing I DO know.  With Mike Leach at the helm USC will never take a knee going into halftime to avoid running up the score... Cannot wait to get to the stadium tonight!

Jim Walden Out as WSU Broadcaster - Still a WSU Icon
He won't question the officials on this one on the air - though it would have been nice to give him one more season worth  broadcasting to make up for the last few.  I am sure being a broadcaster during the Wulff era was difficult, especially since Paul played for Jim.

I am a "Jim Walden Cougar" - I entered WSU in the fall of 1979. Leaving that aside, here is a reminder why Jim is a pivotal coach in WSU history. Walden was coach of the Cougar football program from 1978 to 1986. The win loss record at WSU during his tenure does not tell the whole story of his impact on the program and the psyche of the school. Our football program was a shambles when he arrived. Management of the program was so poor before Walden arrived that the Apple Cup had actually been played in SPOKANE (except 1954) from 1950 to 1980! How spineless is that?  Jim turned the program around then beat the Huskies 3 out of 4 years (after 23 years in which WSU only won 4 Apple cups and had gone 0 for the previous 8). He recruited and/or coached some of the greatest players ever to come out of WSU: Jack Thompson, Rueben Mays, Mark Rypien, as well as the best football NAME ever - Quarterback Cleat Casper. He also coached a great young player named Paul Wulff. A win in the Apple Cup of 1981 would have taken the Cougars to their first Rose bowl since 1931. After that heartbreaking loss he pushed hard to move the Apple cup back to Pullman, which created the backdrop for the historic 1982 Apple cup and that goal post in the Coug ceiling.

As a broadcaster we love Jim because he frequently said what we were thinking, sometimes that was cheering a great play, other times it was "what the F(*@%. was that ref thinking?". If he had a fault it was being a homer when the replay seemed to show something else, but I can live with that. I guess I get making a change now - it is a good year to make changes, with Mike Leach coming in, and when the youngest guy in the booth was born in 1938 the younger crowd is probably not being served as well as you might like. Was his long association with Paul Wulff and his possible impact on that hiring decision a factor? We'll probably never know how much Jim went to bat for Paul before he was let go.   I know that once the decision was made Jim was excited about Mike Leach.  His loyalty to WSU could never be questioned. 

Here are a couple of my favorite Jim Walden Quotes - we'll miss you Jim!:

“Well, I don't know what they do on the west side of the state, but over here whenever it gets dark, we just turn on our lights.” (about a night time apple cup)

"I realize there are some Sherman Tanks in this league, but we just got run over by a damned moped." (that would be cal)

"I remember the goal posts coming down - I don't need much else". (about the 82 apple cup)

"when you're not competing, it's not a rivalry, it's just a tradition."

And maybe the biggest quote of all.  It describes the through process he instilled in the players and that still carries us through hard times today:

"Before we'd come out of the locker room, I'd tell the kids, this isn't a cure for cancer, but it's the closest thing in importance to you for the next three hours," Walden said. "I'm sorry, but that's the way I felt about it. Keep everything in perspective and all, but for the rest of your life, you'll remember this day."

"The greatest thing I can do," he said, "is beat the Huskies."

If you have a favorite quote not listed here, come over to our Facebook page Here  and let us know.

Whoever is the replacement for Jim - you have your work cut out for you!

Would WSU's Mike Bowlin have given Oregon a championship?
New WSU kicker Mike Bowlin was originally a redshirt for the University of Oregon, and was to be part of a three way battle for the kicking duties there with Rob Beard and current kicker Alejandro Maldonado.   An unfortunate incident on campus (Bowlin pleads guilty) resulted in Bowlin leaving Oregon for Saddleback JC where he  kicked extremely well (11/15 on Field Goals, but his strong suit was kickoffs with 14 touchbacks). What if he had remained in Oregon, won the competition that fall and MADE the kick Maldonado whiffed against USC? That kick likely cost Oregon the possibility of a National championship matchup with Alabama (instead of the inept LSU passing game we saw).   A match up between the Oregon offense at its end of the season best vs. that Alabama defense would have been worth the price of admission.

BTW I am SO tired of talking about contending teams that are not WSU!

WSU 2012 Fooball Schedule - this FBschedules.com page is a nice way to look at the Cougars 2012 schedule - also has links to purchase tickets for away games.

The night before Christmas - Bill Moos style.
Twas the first of December, when on the Palouse
        not a cougar was happy, except for Bill Moos.
Our bells had been rung by the Huskies with flare
        and keep poor Paul Wulff?  Well, the school didn't dare.

The Coug fans were nestled all snug in their beds
          while dreams of some other sport danced in their heads.
And mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap (really?  a Kerchief?  Who does that?)
          Had just got in bed to watch sports news and nap

When on ESPN there arose such a clatter,
          I grabbed the remote to see what was the matter
Away to the big screen I flew like a flash
          turned up the volume and sat on my - s - sash....

The camera zoomed in to Joe Schad on that show
          and he said of Mike Leach "To Wazzu he will go!"
Then what to my wondering eyes should appear
          but a new cougar coach that can win every year.

With him as the driver, our genius Mike Leach
          I knew in a moment that bowl games we'd reach.
More rapid that Reindeer commitments they came
          First coaches then players to join in Mikes fame

New offense new defense, new players new fans,
          and even the treat of some brand new grand stands.
To the top of the Pac to the top of them all
          With this Pirate flag even Corso will call!

And I heard Mike exclaim err he road out of sight
          Merry Christmas you Cougs - You're back in the fight!

When my wife asked what I wanted for Christmas, I thought of the upcoming football season
and told her "I'm good".  Looking forward to spring ball and the coming season more than any football season I can remember. 

WSU - Hiring of Mike Leach has immediate impact
Does anyone else feel like the ugly girl asked to the prom? I caught a sportscenter piece on Mike Leach coming to WSU yesterday (nice suit) and had felt proud of the direction of the program, and the guy hasn't really done anything yet.  Its like suddenly black and white becomes color.  Some people wonder if parents will hesitate to send their kids to WSU because of the fake charges at the end of his tenure at Texas Tech. Anything that allows WSU to distance itself from the W/L record of the past few years has to be a good thing. 

So here is the golden question of the moment:
Who would you keep from Paul Wulff's staff and why?

Give me your answer and argument on our facebook page (click here)

WSU moves back from the Palouse to the Pac-12
And some place south of Tortola....Cue "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme music (right click here)
There is no truth the rumor that the skull and crossbones will replace the familiar cougar logo when Mike Leach reaches campus, but you can count on seeing a lot of pirate flags and swashbuckling swords in the stands next fall as the cougar faithful revel in the notoriety, character, and most importantly SUCCESS that is Mike Leach football.  As someone who was in college during the Jim Walden years, I remember the difference a passionate coach can make to the psyche of a football team and fan base.  Bill Moos couldn't have made a better hire at this time and place than he just did.

I can't STAND Jim Rome's style of broadcasting, but check out this fun commentary - Jim Rome's take on Mike Leach

For a hint at the kinds of games that COULD be in store for the cougar (long suffering) faithful check this out from Mike Leach's 2008 Texas Tech Red Raiders Team

Connor Halliday, Jeff Tuel, Mike Leach?  Visions of sugar plumbs baby! Merry Christmas!

 

Stop rewriting WSU football history
No longer on strike - time to clear up some things. 

Many have taken up Paul Wulff's Mantra that he should be given a lot of credit for his 9 and 40 record because of how bad things were when he arrived.  It is true that Coach Doba's best season was his first (10-3), and because we had won so much earlier in the decade his 20-26 record after that made us kind of surly, but his total record of 30-19 dwarfs Paul Wulff's. Yes, Coach Doba only won 5 games his final year and there were some academic issues that Coach Wulff had to clean up, But the teams Palouse police blotter wasn't exactly pristine the past 4 years, either.  For any other coach 4-8 is a down year, not a sign of improvement.  Here are some facts:

Coach Doba won 2 of 3 bowl games and beat UW 3 times. 
After 4 years Paul Wulff ALMOST got back to the worst year in the Doba era (4-8 vs. 4-7, and he lost to UW). 

Paul Wulff Beat: Portland State (4-7), UW (0-12), SMU (8-5), Montana State (9-3), Oregon State (5-7), Idaho State (2-9), UNLV (2-9), Colorado (3-10), and Arizona State (6-6).  The ONLY quality win in 4 years was the last one over Arizona State.   The combined record of the teams WSU beat this year was 13-34.   While that is a better win% than Paul Wulff had, its not like he beat Alabama and LSU.

Contrarians who believe that he would have been a great coach with just one more year probably are also counting on Barack Obama to be more fiscally conservative in his second term....

They got Mike Leach?  Really?  PERFECT.....

Paul Wulff fired - WSU football suddenly more interesting.
Why did he lose so many games?  The simple answers: 1 - he took all the scholarship hits at once when he didn't have to. 2 -  Partly because of 1 He didn't find a way to win enough to keep good players.  3 - He brought in talented but diminutive quarterbacks in a system not designed to protect a quarterback.  When Connor Halliday went out of the game with an injury were you surprised?  Me neither.  BTW they SHOULD keep the people who were going out and looking for players, because obviously there are some good players on campus looking for the right system.

WSU's Bill Moos has his work cut out for him.  Unfortunately, much like a homely girl on February 13th everyone knows that WSU is desperate to find someone who can make them feel better about themselves, so it will cost all of the money they saved on Paul Wulff and then some to land a coach worth his salt.  Hopefully the staff has learned the error of hiring a coach you know will never leave for a better gig.  Imagine the woman you would end up with if you had that attitude....She would look like - Well - Paul Wulff.

All joking aside I hated being on strike, and I do wish Coach Wulff the best.  I hope he ends up in a situation where he wins a lot of games.  Hopefully this WSU experience will teach him what he needs to do to become a great coach.  In a way WSU used him, if they forced him to take all of those scholarship hits at the beginning of his tenure instead of spreading them out. That would have meant several more players on campus.  Maybe one of them is a starting punter, or left tackle, or safety and this season has 2 more wins.  That is all it would have taken to save his job.  If it really was his decision, I am sure the lesson was painfully learned.

Good Luck Coach Wulff.

Tomorrow - a rundown of the possibilities and sorry, no coach Peterson this time - he WAS available when Paul Wulff was hired - I tried to get him hired.  I really did.  I would love having Mike Leach but if he takes the job would be a real Shocker.  WSU won't pony up the dough and Mike will have better options this time around then he did a year ago - when Paul Wulff was given another year....

WSU ends my purgatory (read below I sounded so desperate).
Since people have been asking, no, I haven't disappeared, I'm on strike.   Yes I'm still watching or listening to the games, but I refuse to waste my time writing columns and working on this site until Paul Wulff is removed as WSU head coach.  I made that decision after the Hawaii game (not this year, Last year).  Come on, after this latest embarrassment at Oregon does ANYONE believe Paul Wulff can coach at this level?  His players obviously don't.  We are a laughing stock....  Remove Paul Wulff and make Jim Walden the  interim head coach for the rest of the year.  At least then there is a REASON to lose this bad.  If they try to say Wulff needs time have them look at the turnaround at the montlake mutts.  If they say you can't get a good coach in OUR situation, have them look at BSU.  BSU has a small market, no Pac-10 affiliation, and a VERY small university that is really not much more than a community college, yet they are ranked 5 in the nation right now.  9 minutes left in the 2nd half and not one complete pass in the half.....  I find myself looking forward to the silence during the timeouts.....

WSU loses to Hawaii 24-10, Levenseller shows potential
Did you pass the "I bleed crimson" test?  If you wanted to see Saturday nights game between 2-10 WSU and Hawaii you needed to pay 12.95 for the privilege.  Those of you who did saw a somewhat improved team from previous weeks. They seemed less disorganized and much better on defense even though injuries forced them to play with only three down linemen.   The highlight defensively came after a Lopina fumble left the ball on the 4 yard line.  Everyone in crimson expected an easy score for Hawaii, but a timely sack forced a field goal that was missed.  In the 2nd half WSU did a great job (for the most part) putting pressure on Alexander, which was missing in the first half. 

The offense was weak as usual, and again Levensellers numbers ended up better that Lopinas'.  Even the Hawaii announcers seemed to wonder why he wasn't the starting quarterback.  You burned his redshirt, he is the future, why not play him?

We should never have to endure a season this bad again, though anyone with hopes that Coach Wulff would be sent down the highway should be aware that with the current financial mess paying a coach a pile of money NOT to play won't sit well with the powers that be.  Coach Wulff gets at least 2 more years to prove his system will transfer to the major college level.  I feel the same way I do for President elect Obama - He wasn't my choice, but he's my leader.  I devoutly wish for success for both of them.  Hopefully they will both be so impressive that they deserve 8 years in charge.

Coach Wulff is quoted after the Hawaii game saying:  “We’re going to ask guys to do things they’ve never done before in this program”.  That is already true.  No one has ever been on a team that gave up so many points in a season (570), which is particularly galling when you consider the expanded number of games played.  You know the litany of other records ( four 60+ point losses, most kick returns by a player, etc.).  Hopefully the thing he is going to ask them to do is be more learned about the offense, disciplined in the system and conscientious about turnovers. Can anyone say "Basketball?"

Watching the WSU  vs. Hawaii game
Earlier this week, the game was listed on ESPN Gameplan, but looks like that's no longer the case.

Streaming Video:

Oceanic Cable will be streaming it live via their UH sports web video service. The game is priced at $12.56 on their schedule. There are some restrictions:

If you live in the state of Hawaii, you need to be a Road Runner customer to subscribe to the video streaming service. Individuals on the mainland or anywhere else in the world, do not need to be Road Runner customers. Ordering is only available 1 hour leading up to the scheduled event.
Hawaii IPTV should also be streaming it live. To use this service, you cannot be a resident of Hawaii. You'll need broadband internet access, and you need to use their webplayer to view it on your computer. you need to purchase a subscription of $21.50 a month or $180 a year.

Your UW Thanksgiving present from Coug.com:

WSU goals for the game Hawaii Saturday  (11:00 PM Start time)

  1. Win by stopping Hawaii's offense - that's a given goal of course, but after Saturday the cougars will go into the game with a feeling that it might even happen.  Hawaii is much better than UW - isn't everybody?  They are 5-3 in the WAC, a conference that has embarrassed the Pac-10 several times this year (not the kind of change Barrack Obama was talking about).  It will be all about stopping that high powered offense. They need to get to QB Greg Alexander early and often to have any shot.

  2. keep Hawaii from scoring 18 points.  If they do then WSU will hold the record for most points given up in a season.  Sometimes is just about avoiding embarrassment.

  3. Thank whomever scheduled the game for 11 PM pacific time.  Hopefully the last think most recruits will remember will be 4 out of 5 apple cup wins and 16 points on Saturday.

Hawaii has a lot to play for, a win probably gets them into a decent bowl game, while a loss to WSU would make any bowl official think twice.  Last week Hawaii took little brother U of I (thank GOD we aren't playing them this year - that would be too hard to take) to the woodshed 49-17 last week, scoring more points than WSU has scored in the last 5 games combined (45).  Comparing the offense of June Jones to the defense of Paul Wulff is like, ummm, anyone remember the Iraqi army in the first gulf war?

Special thanks to Jeff McQuarry of
"Legends of the Palouse" fame for this great picture from the game Saturday, those Huskies never could hold their liquor. 

Of course this could also have been another one of those irate Huskies trying to get his hands on Tyrone Willingham.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pre-game comments are now just funny (for us anyway).
KOMO 4's Eric Johnson hit it out of the park with this one, take a look
My favorite line? "it's a completely resistible force against a ridiculously movable object".  That's why they pay him the big bucks. 

How quickly things change.  Suddenly the Cougs are 2-10, the mutts are 0-11 and any question about which team will go down as the worst in Pac-10 history has been settled, because epic badness in one game and lopsided margins by the cougars only emphasize just how bad the Huskies are.  We set a record by losing 4 games by over 60 points - We had the 118th worst defense in football - and the Huskies could only score 13 on us.  In the last minute of regulation and through 2 overtimes the Huskies let the 118th worst offense in football score 3 straight times (all field goals, of course) - the same offense that was shut out in 3 of the last 4 games!

WSU Wins 2008 Apple Cup 16-13 in Double Overtime
The Washington Huskies are officially the Worst team in the Nation

I said we could not expect the Cougars to score more than 10 points against the hapless Huskies and that is exactly what they scored over the first 4 quarters - fortunately the Huskies field goal kickers are even worse than the rest of the team, so the Dawgs also ended regulation with only 10 points.  In two overtimes the WSU Cougar football team was just good enough to squeak out the narrowest of come from behind victories over what will certainly go down as the worst team in UW history.

It feels SO good to not be talking about how bad the Cougars are for one night.  As everyone knows this victory is as sweet as any 5 victories over other teams COMBINED for a WSU student or alumni. 

Not only are we NOT the worst team in America, the University of Washington Huskies have no competition for that title - they are the only team in football that still has not won a game this year (the 1991 Huskies have left the building).  The Cougar nation really will miss you Tyrone Willingham - there's like, a tear in my eye....

At the beginning of the game I was depressed to see Kevin Lopina (0 touchdown passes 10 interceptions for the year coming into the game) actually start the game.  0 -10.... Levenseller HAD to have a better shot than that, right?  Lopina couldn't seem to throw the ball more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage all season. That was true through most of 4 these quarters of ineptness as well.

In the first half there were a couple big plays.  On the very first play of the game Q Richardson ran the kickoff back about 50 yards, into WSU territory, but he was sprung by an obvious block in the back by UW and they instead began the drive on their own 15 yard line.  Thankfully we will never know what would have happened had that run been allowed to stand.

The other great play came on special teams, late in the 2nd quarter R Forest got set to punt the ball a 4th and 17 (4th and 17 from the WSU 31 yard line!) but noticed a WHOLE lot of real estate in front of him and took off for 28 yards.  I'm sure Paul Wulff and his staff were all thinking "NO!" but somehow Forrest got the first down and then some.  The drive stalled, but the psychological lift was dramatic on the cougar side of the ball and it had to help the WSU attitude as they went into the tunnel down 10 at the half.   

In the 2nd half it is notable that the Cougar defense did not allow the Huskies to Score (though they missed two makeable field goals).  That is the first time that the WSU defense has held a team scoreless all year in the 2nd half of a game.  Even Portland State Scored 6 points in the 3rd quarter of their loss to the Cougs.  Offensively one play kept the cougars in the game and within a single field goal of the Dawgs, a breakaway run by Logwone Mitz in the 3rd quarter for a touchdown.  The Huskies had two opportunities to add to their lead but both of their kickers missed field goals.  Still it seemed that the Huskies were doing a much better job at the line of scrimmage than the Cougars..

Suddenly lightning struck in the final minute of the game.  Stranded on his own 34 with 31 seconds left Kevin Lopina threw the longest pass of his Cougar career 45 yards into he waiting arms of freshman J Karstetter in the biggest play of the game.  Lopina hit Karstetter again for 7 yards but he was caught before he could get to the sidelines. Thinking quickly Lopina (evoking shades of Ryan Leaf in the 1998 Rose Bowl) got his team to the line and was able to ground the ball with 2 seconds left, preparing the way for a Nick Grasu 28 yard Field goal to send the game into overtime. 

1st overtime:  Both teams were equally matched (inept?) in the first overtime, the Cougars took 11 plays (equaling the most plays on any drive the rest of the game) trying to force the ball into the end zone, including a daring move by Paul Wulff who chose to go for it on 4th and 1 from the 4 yard line.  Freshman Logwone Mitz  got the 1st down by the length of the football. But the Cougars still had to settle for a field goal.  The Huskies also drove to the 5 yard line and settled for a field goal.

2nd overtime:  The Huskies kicker R Perkins choked and kicked his field goal attempt from 37 yards wide right, and the Cougars suddenly had the chance to put the Huskies away.  The Cougars didn't get a first down but they didn't need to, gaining 5 yards on 3 plays before Nick Grasu sealed the game with his own 37 yard field goal.

These are two awful teams this year (this was the first time two Pac-10 teams had EVER met with 10 losses each), but the feeling of victory was made in a way even sweeter because of it. 

There is one more game left against Hawaii, a very solid team.  while I don't expect WSU to win, if they put forth the effort they did in this game it will serve them well next week against a very good Hawaiian Offense.

Note for Coach Wulff - Lopina can't throw the ball on the run when he is running to the left - don't let him do it!!!

The 2008 Apple Cup - WSU Cougars vs. UW Huskies
I actually commiserated with a Huskie at a cross country meet last weekend, we agreed that the only silver lining in either teams season is that the other team sucks too.  I have to say the Cougars are going to win, don't I?  Its a solemn obligation for all Cougar faithful to say we will win, but I feel a little like the crowd on the old Bullwinkle and Rocky Show "y-e-a-h"  Here's one flag waiving.   IF we do win it will have to be with our defense and turnovers, because we really can't expect the WSU offense to score more than 10 points even against the huskies, since that is their average for the season (if you don't count Portland State) AND we are starting yet another Freshman replacement quarterback.  We have to pray for a Levenseller coming out party of dramatic proportions and 2 EARLY turnovers to break the back of the Huskies who are just as inept as we are.  The Huskies are a 7 1/2 point favorite even though they have fired their coach, haven't won a game, and are playing in Pullman.

If this Cougar team has any "Pride" left at all, they will get off the mat and make us proud this weekend, but I would be willing to take the loss if it ensured a new coach in 2009.

Cougar Pride Monument to be unveiled prior to Apple Cup
"In other news the WSU administration expresses regret for buying betting the house on GM at 45.00 per share earlier in the year."  OK that didn't happen, but the timing of a "Cougar Pride Monument" couldn't be more laughable, its like being kicked while you are down by your own brother.  Unveil it at the beginning of next season for gosh sakes, when we will be at least HOPING for a decent season.

I am sure it will be wonderful, (remember the REAL Butch?) and the rest of the school has a lot to be proud of, it just serves to shine a spotlight on a team that it is very difficult to be proud of in 2008.  Of course I guess it could be worse, I am sure no one suggested unveiling it after the game, when the WSU Cougars could be 0 for the Pac-10.

The Cougars lose by 31 again to ASU 31-0
RE: last weeks comment about the slightly improving WSU offense - Never mind.  I'm not even giving them a break for losing Lopina as quarterback - by now they should be used the quarterback shuffle, especially against the team most likely to come in 7th in the Pac-10.  I love the thankfully short WSU press release that includes this:

Washington State had a chance to take the lead against Arizona State, driving from its own 20 to ASU's 24 midway through the first quarter. Patrick Rooney missed a 41-yard field goal attempt, and Arizona State never trailed after Thomas Weber kicked a 21-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

SO BASICALLY, he is saying that WSU had a chance to take the lead - when the score was 0-0.  Really, not much of an accomplishment.  I'm thinking most teams are in that position at least once a game.  It is a sad state of affairs when that is the most positive thing you can say about the WSU Cougar Football team.

This week we can give credit to the Defense for at least keeping it close into the 3rd quarter.  So we're loosing by 30 instead of 50, is that something to be proud of?

The Cougars had a lead! - WSU only loses by 31 (59-28)
Thank God for small favors I guess.  At least the offense showed some signs of improvement in a game against the 4th ranked team in the conference who was coming off of a close loss to USC last week (not us, them....).  While the defense gave its usual performance against a team AVERAGING 39.1 points per game, the offense showed signs of life, especially in the first quarter, when they scored first (their first lead of the season against a Pac-10 team.  They also tied the game at 14, but a horrible 2nd quarter left the cougars expecting a loss again by half-time.

One big glimmer of hope was that Arizona came into the game allowing less than 19 points per game, including only giving up 10 points last week to USC.  For the first time this year you have to say the offense almost did its job.  I say almost because 4 turnovers undid much of the success, leading directly to 14 points. Having said that I would rather have some turnovers AND points than no turnovers and no points.  At least the offense was getting more aggressive.  You can't say the same for the defense.

WSU could learn a lot from Arizona in the penalties department - Arizona does NOT shoot themselves in the foot - being the least penalized team in the Pac-10, with only 32 flags for  277 yards) as opposed to WSU's undisciplined 80 penalties for 773 yards.  This is maybe the most damning evidence against Paul Wulff, because it is an indication of a lack of discipline and poor teaching when it comes to the basics of college football.  You can win committing penalties - for instance USC is 2nd in penalties committed - but the kinds of penalties WSU is committing are not for being too physical and intimidating, but more for forgetting the snap count, delay of game, and blocking in the back.  On Saturday Arizona committed more penalties than usual, matching the cougars in that department with 7.

Now comes two much more winnable games, against Dennis Erickson and ASU, who are coming off of their win against UW, and against the hapless lame dog huskies, coached by outgoing (the only time he will ever have that moniker) Tyrone Willingham.  Both of these games will be emotional for different reasons, but watch for the cougars to get beaten soundly by ASU anyway, and play a tough game against UW.

WSU Cougars vs. The Arizona Wildcats
There is no television again this week, as both the Cougars and Wildcats don't seem to be worth the money this year.  In past years we ranted about how the Cougars deserved more respect and should have been on television more.  This year we are stuck saying "OK, I get that".  

It is a little uncertain when this game starts - in the WSU press release a 2 PM start time heads the release, and a 3:30 Arizona time (2:30 Pacific Time) start time is mentioned lower in the release.  Its seems the Paul Wulff attention to detail extends to other parts of the athletic department. Since the University of Arizona website shows 2 PM, you might want to have your radio on before then.  Lets hope the Cougars can do better than the Republicans did this week.

Why the cougars COULD win another game this season.
Laugh if you will, cry if you must, the games against ASU and UW are shaping up as the best chance WSU has had all season to win another game (We won't beat Hawaii).  Arizona State and Washington have a combined Pac-10 record of 1-9, And they are 2-14 over all.  The Cougars aren't going to beat Arizona because they have better players AND better coaches - ASU has a better coach, but they also have their own injury problems and lack of confidence.  The ASU game should allow the Cougars to get some points on the board and lose by a respectable margin (24-13?).

But the Huskies without their starting quarterback are certainly showing an ineptness that approaches our own.  There will be some emotion on the Huskies sideline because we've beaten them so frequently lately and because it will be Coach Willingham's last game as a Husky. 

Prediction?  The 2008 Apple Cup will go down in history!  It will be the only game ever decided 2-0 in the 6th overtime when one of the quarterbacks runs to other end zone and falls down simply to end the misery.

Ok, seriously, the Apple Cup is a home game for us Cougs.  Look for almost NO Huskies to bother making the trip, hope for bad weather (the colder the better), and hope the Huskies get down early.  It is very likely that the first team to score will win the game.  Lets hope that team is us.  Unlike the past century, this group of Huskies is NOT used to beating the Cougars like a red headed step child and will be petrified of being the first Huskie squad ever to lose 4 out of 5 to WSU, and doing it when WSU was fielding its worst team ever?  Priceless.  That fear will turn into depressed certainty if they fall behind.

WSU wins 21-17. 

Washington State Setting Records for Misery
Stanford 58 WSU 0
Strangely it didn't start out all that bad.  The Cougs drove the ball pretty well in the first quarter, but because of interceptions and a blocked field goal could not put points on the board.  So they gave up about half way through the 2nd quarter.  J.T. Levenseller blew his redshirt season why, exactly?

"Cool" (?) record of the day.. Chantz Staden set the record for the most kick-offs returned by a single player in one game in WSU history - 8.  Obviously there is only one depressing way to break that record.  I was going to say I remembered when the Seattle Mariners were this bad, but I'm not sure any Mariners team was ever this inept, and that's saying a lot.

The press report said that turnout for the game was diminished because of a driving rain.  I think the records of the respective teams had something to do with it.  Cal and Oregon were playing across town and their turnout was just fine.

My friends from other schools don't even bother to laugh any more.  They just comfort me like my team has a terminal disease that has no cure....It won't be long now.... (shhhh, talk quietly, the husky in the other bed is asleep).

WSU game tracker makes listening on radio bearable.
It's presented by CBS, and you get the little helmet guys moving, players names, current stats all in the same place.   Check out the game replay modes - awesome!  You can start the game over or even go back to the last play or two and replay them.  Now if they could just get some pop up pictures of the cheerleaders....

Stanford is a game we can at least play tough, right?
They still need some wins to become bowl eligible, and have had a mediocre year so far, very middle of the Pac.  Even so they will look past us (as they should), so maybe there is a chance that a newly healthy and rested cougar squad will jump up and bite them, but at this point no one is placing any bets, since we are the worst at the run and they are almost the best in the Pac 10.  looks like another big L for the WSU Cougars.

Why burn JT Levensellers' Red-Shirt NOW?
Well, to try to save your job, of course.  With a historically bad season already assured, Paul Wulff is now going to compound it and insist that it affect us to an even greater degree by playing Levenseller, the Red Shirt Freshman being held out and hyped as the Cougar Quarterback of the future.  The ONLY reason to play him now is if you think he is going to jump ship and change schools in the off season anyway, so you want to avoid that by making it more difficult for him to leave.  That has to be the reason, right?  Its not like you are going to salvage the season at this point.

WSU "Takes a Knee" from the beginning - USC 69 WSU 0
This is "one for the ages" in all the wrong ways.  Maybe the most embarrassing moment came at the end of the first half, when USC "Declined" attempting to score from the 10 yard line as time ran out in the first half.  Believe it or not USC scored the last 28 points mostly while running off tackle to keep the score down.  Heck, Pete Carroll started taking his starters out after the FIRST quarter.  Half time stats looked like this:

First Downs - 1
Rushing - 5
Passing - 12
Total yards - 17
Yards Per Play - .8

Its easy to see why WSU was just shut out at home for the first time in 52 years.  The last time we were shut out at home John McCain was 16 years old.

I have never seen a coach give up in the game plan itself.....  Coach Wulff obviously wanted to keep Lopina from getting hurt and get to the bye week with as few injuries as possible, So he basically ran the ball into the line for 4 quarters and went home.  In the process stored up even more trouble for an off season when recruiting ANYONE of quality will be almost impossible.  What High School student watching the game today would EVER want to come to WSU?

Paul Wulff even wasted this game as a learning tool, allowing Lopina to throw only 6 passes on the game.  If that is all you are going to do why not let the WSU student who we signed last week give it a shot?  Tell the press that Lopina is too hurt to play!  Give us something to at least take our mind off of the drubbing, and give us an excuse WHY we lost by 69 points.  If you can't coach the team at least make the sale!  If I had purchased a ticket to this game I would want a refund, since WSU didn't even TRY to be competitive.  

"Its his first year, there are injuries - yadda yadda yadda - There are a lot of coaches that have trouble in their first year - there are a lot of coaches who inherit a mess.  But literally NEVER in 100+ years of football has a team looked so hapless through half a season as the WSU cougars.  And there are things Paul Wulff CAN control, like the number of penalties his team commits.  Coming into the game WSU was the 2nd most penalized team in college football - hardly an indicator of a change in direction for the program. This is such a dramatically bad Season that Paul Wulff should not be allowed a second season to see what he could do unless he can win at least 2 of the remaining games. 

If you don't believe me then ask yourself if Mike Price, Jim Walden, or Dennis Erickson would ever field a team that looked this bad.  Then ask yourself if any team in the nation worth its salt would retain a coach that performed this badly - no matter how many years they had been coach.

In the great depression stock brokers threw themselves out of the windows of tall buildings in despair.  That has not happened this time because all of the windows are being used by WSU fans.  I'll high five you on the way down.

Lobbestael lost for the Season, Lopina to start against USC
Kevin Lopina is the closest thing to good in the quarterback spot this year.  He's also the only one left.  The key to Saturdays game is to get through it without injuries so we can get to the bye week and get healthy. Hopefully a week off to rest the wounded and an extra week to prepare for the game against Stanford will result in a win against the "not as bad as usual" Stanford Cardinal.  The following game against Arizona and the Apple cup against the hapless Huskies are both more winnable than any of the Pac-10 games we've played so far.  The game against ASU will be more like last week, unfortunately.  Lets be optimistic and predict wins against Arizona and UW to salvage at least a modicum of decency and avoid the abject failure this season has been so far.  NO, I have no logical reason to predict those wins other than the fact that Arizona and UW suck too, and going 0-10 in the Pac-10 and having to listen to the Huskies for 11 months is something I couldn't take.

WSU vs. USC - do we HAVE to?
It is small consolation that USC beats most teams by a significant number, but playing them when they are trying to impress the national media into increasing their ranking in the polls means that this might (again....) turn into the latest greatest loss in WSU football history.  We saw a glimpse of what COULD happen at WSU in the 2nd quarter last week, but with Lobbestael out for nine months things can only get more miserable for the cougars this Saturday.  Could we see the first 70 point spread in School history?

5th String RB, 5th String QB Finish Game For Cougars  L 66-13
Watching WSU this year is like Watching the Stock Market - every once in a while it give you a glimmer of hope then drops 600 points - OK 66, but you get the point.  The degree to which coach Wulff can be blamed for this loss is somewhat limited, since he ended the game using his 5th string quarterback - who is that?  Well, its Walk on freshman backup punter David Wagner.  No he didn't try to pass the ball, though a quick kick wasn't out of the question.  Wagner handed the ball off every snap he took in the 4th quarter after starting quarterback Marshal Lobbestael was injured.  The scary thing is that the cougars piled (?) up more offense doing that than they did in the 3rd quarter when WSU amassed a negative 4 yards on offense. 

How bad was it? At one point WSU had 85 yards of total offense, and -155 yards in penalties - we finished the game with 132 yards total offense.

To go back a second, WSU fell behind in dramatic fashion in the first quarter, dropping a quick 21 points, and were on the brink of 28 until OSU Quarterback Moevao was intercepted in the end zone by ........Beck on a cool tipped pass.  The game turned in the Cougars favor from then until the end of the half, with WSU intercepting a total of 4 passes, though they only had 13 points to show for it - and that included an interception run back for a touchdown.  The WSU defense showed a glimpse of its former self - or a glimpse of what might be coming down the road - in that quarter.  It was the first quarter this season where I actually could cheer and enjoy myself.  Unfortunately Oregon State Scored 21 points in EACH of the other three quarters, leading to another of the worst losses in WSU history.  This squad must already have several records:

1 - most "worst games in the history of the school" in any season - and counting.
2 - most quarterbacks and running backs going down because of injuries (etc.)
3 - most opposing fans trampled as the cougar unfaithful run for the exits.
4 - most pitied team in WSU history.  Even my HUSKY "so called" friends feel sorry for me - until I point out that they are still below us in the Pac-10 standings :-)

That pity even seeps out in the opposing coaches comments like "We worked hard this week to get our kids up for this game, because any Pac-10 team can beat you at any time"  And Coach Riley actually said that with a straight face.

After half time WSU seemed to come out with great fire and verve, but on a key 4th down play Moevao was leveled but just got the ball away for a first down, and the WSU defense crumbled like, well like only this years WSU defense can.

NO, you can't blame all of this on the coaches system, but even if he only deserves half of it, doesn't it still put him at the bottom of barrel and sinking fast?

The scout team quarterback was signed this week after an on campus open try out.....

At least this is a season that will be remembered.

WSU loses to UCLA 27-3
Pac They were actually in this game for a while, and really this should be considered their best game of the year on defense.

WSU Eventually puts away Portland State 48-9
That is a good thing, even though WSU only put 17 points on the board before the half.  Sure, the Pac - 10 got wacked by the Mountain West last weekend, but this is Portland State (for Husky fans, no there is not actually a State of Portland).  USC would have scored 17 points on the coin toss.  But this game will not be remembered for the score or the "feisty PSU defense" in the first half.  Portland State went into the half excited about their play up to that point. 

The cougars didn’t blow PSU off the field until Marshal Lobbestael  (9-12, 149 yards) came into the game after both Lopina and Rogers were injured and threw touchdown passes on his first two attempts.  Seattle residents will remember him as the Quarterback to led Oak Harbor to the 4A State Title in 2006.  He showed poise and didn’t seem nervous when he was in the game.  After that the Cougs cruised to their first win of the season.

But this game will be remembered - if at all - for the career ending late hit placed on Quarterback Gary Rogers.  The Fractured neck he was left with makes it impossible for him to play college football.  Fortunately it doesn’t sound like the type of injury that will affect the rest of his life.  But it has to be very frustrating for him and his family.  As a backup to Alex Brink waiting for his turn he had to wonder (as some of us did) if the win loss record for the Cougars would have been different if he had been QB even though he couldn’t have amassed the number of yards Alex did.   Then when he was finally handed the ball it was with a group of players so inexperienced and undermanned (not to mention learning a new system) that success was not even an expectation coming into the season.  After two bad team performances he is pulled, but gets another chance when Lopina goes out with an injury, only to have this injury happen right when he was beginning to have some success on the field. 

Coach Wulff said that it was a late hit but not a cheap shot, and that it wasn't intentional.  That is probably true.

WSU Cougar Football news and information

Baylor vs. WSU - An Unnatural Disaster

They are just learning the system, yada yada yada.  A 45-17 "blowout" what ever.  After the first drive the only thing that looked good for the cougars this game was 3rd down performance and Kevin Lopina. While he was picked off way to much, his performance was much better than Gary Rogers in the past couple weeks. (17 of 26, 174 yards).  He can run with the ball but makes some bad decisions.  Plus, he stands solid in the pocket and scrambles, but sometimes doesn't feel back side pressure.  He was also responsible (with help from the center) for the most bonehead play of the game, when he turned his head just before the center hiked the ball - the ball hit him in the facemask and bounced right to a Baylor player, allowing Baylor to take the lead a couple plays later. I had the feeling at the half that without the turnovers we would have been ahead, but who knows.

For the WSU "why run when you can walk" defense seemed to fall apart as soon as Baylor got into the secondary.  Our defensive backs seem so slow (or is it the SYSTEM) that 15 yard runs become touchdowns.  Portland State...I almost can't bear to watch.

Lets Talk Norm Chou, can we?  With a season like this Paul Wulff will find it difficult to recruit players, no matter how far away they live (further may be better at this point).  Norm Chou has wanted a head coaching job and hasn't achieved that goal.  Our recruiting is going to be zero with Paul Wulff, so we need to bring in someone who has the cache to entice players to come here on his own.  Enter Norm Chou.

What?  You're darn right I am jumping ship after three games!  We play Portland State this weekend AND MIGHT NOT BE FAVORED. 

Norm Chou wants to be a head coach.  We desperately need one - credentials?  check this out from Wikipedia:

In 23 seasons as offensive coordinator, Chow coached 8 of the top 14 career passing efficiency leaders and 13 quarterbacks who rank among the top 30 in NCAA history for single-season passing yardage. The BYU Cougars scored 30 or more points in 106 of 181 games. His list of pupils include Steve Young, Robbie Bosco,Philip Rivers and Heisman Trophy winners Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.

Pay what he wants, Hire him, and he will attract good coaches because of his reputation alone - and his offense would NEVER look like this.  I'm not saying we must win every game ever, but actually being in one after halftime would be nice.

I haven't seen anything that says Paul Wulff can do this job, and don't want to wait 4 years to find out.

Baylor Game Moved to Friday at 5:30 Pacific Time
We REALLY could have used the time to practice!
Hopefully the storm will arrive early and this game will be reset to a later date.  The embarrassment of losing to Baylor would be immense, and cost us recruits - if last week didn't send them running for the hills -  With a new coach, new quarterback, young players, and a new system an extra week of practice would be huge, and playing Baylor later in the year we would be much more likely to win.  Fortunately or unfortunately most people won't see this game because it was moved, though I have heard that it can be found on comcast.

YOU CAN WATCH THE BAYLOR GAME ON THE INTERNET FOR FREE!
Just click on the link above and it will take you to the WSU site, then to a CBS feed.

you will need to download "Microsoft silverlight" if you don't already have it.  this is probably a good idea anyway, so you can more easily access the videos that WSU has made available on the school site.

If you don't want to do that, the modified telecast will air live nationally on Fox College Sports and locally on FSN Southwest.  Fox sports Northwest will be televising the Mariners game...I'm not sure which team is doing worse right now, unfortunately.

There is no place to go but up!  Worst WSU loss ever - 66-3
Lets Hope Cal Wins the National Championship This year - this is the only way that this loss will lose a little of its sting.  We WSU cougar fans have grown used to losing in unique and interesting ways over the past couple years, but seldom have I been embarrassed at the end of a game like I was Saturday.  From the first play by Cal (LONG touchdown run) to the first play by the WSU offense (short interception) to the first play by the special teams defending a punt return (another LONG touchdown) this game was almost a complete disaster for the Cougs.  "Almost?", You say?  Two good things happened:

1: We might have found our starting quarterback.  Kevin Lopina came on at the beginning of the 2nd half (admittedly NOT against Cals starting unit) and immediately picked up the WSU offense.  He a couple beautiful long balls, moved smoothly and athletically when he had to, and might have had a couple scores if not for mistakes by receivers, a bad call on one long ball, and a ticky tack procedure call on another bomb.  He ended up 3/7 with a pick, but he was better than theat.  Even though the cougars scored even fewer points in the 2nd half than the first (0), Lopina felt like he understood the offense more and almost felt a little like Jake Locker, running for first downs and directing his team when necessary.  Add in the fact that he's not a 5th year senior and has time to improve, and he gets my vote as starting quarterback next week against Baylor - though I expect Paul Wulff to start Rogers again and go quickly to Lopina if things go south.  those three 10 win seasons feel like ancient history at this point.

WSU vs. Cal Golden Bears -
Masters Of The Universe or Mopeds?

Last Saturdays performance didn't exactly fill the cougar fans with confidence but like cub fans hope springs eternal in the Wheated wilderness known as the Palouse.  The crowd is still going to give Paul Wulff a giant welcome to Martin stadium, and everyone hopes that the Cougars will look more like the Oregon no huddle than the Huskies mostly muddle offense when they take the field.

Cougar Guest analyst Jason Gesser and ex-sonic announcer Kevin Calabro will be calling the game.  Other than Bob Robertson and Jim Walden I can't think of two guys I would rather have in the booth.  Both know a lot about WSU, and what each lacks the other provides. Gesser isn't really a pro announcer, but you know where his heart is and he's a great guy who knows a lot about Cougar Football.  Calabro is a pure professional. Is this a glimpse of announcers to come?  I hope so.  At least we know that if the Cougars do something great Saturday it will be "appropriately rendered" in Dolby Digital by one of the truly great announcers in any sport.  If you are unfamiliar with Kevin Calabro or if you miss his signature lines, check out this article by the Seattle Times, written after his last game as the full time announcer for the Sonics: Kevin Calabro.  It includes recordings of some of his greatest calls.  Lets hope he gets that chance to add to that legacy on the cougars behalf on Saturday. 

OK, Cal beat Michigan State last Saturday 38-31.  That was a solid win for California.  Combine that with the cougars performance last weekend and all of the pundits (and most fans) are writing us off for dead this game. Yeah, uh, me to, (SLAP!@!)   sorry dad...OK, OK, how could we win this weekend. Maybe if we got Sarah Palin - after all she did go to U of I, and she seems to pack quite a punch  (If only she still owned that jet). 

All joking aside, Last year Cal at one point was ranked number 2 in the country, almost became number one, then lost six of the next seven games.  To say the least fans were disappointed.  Fast forward to now, and Cal has a new quarterback, inexperience at other key positions and a defense returning that fell apart last year.  If it wasn't for the game against Michigan State you would have to like our chances, but obviously they have figured things out more quickly than the cougars have.  IF the cougars can get on top early then the fragile psyche of the bears is susceptible.  Quarterback Kevin Riley will be looking over his shoulder with ex-starter Nate Longshore on sidelines.  Nate lost is starting position in the spring.  After last year they are just not sure they are good.   Jeff Tedford is a fun and good coach - a little like Mike Price - he likes trick plays.  He called a double pass for their opening play against Michigan State (incomplete). 

The Cougar defense will be pressed, but it won't matter what they do if the offense can't move the ball more effectively than last weekend through the air - they actually ran the ball pretty well on the ground in the 2nd half.

I wondered (as did many) what experience Steve Broussard brought to the table on special teams - well here is the answer from his own mouth:

Did you play special teams as a Coug and are there any players that might break out this week?
Steve Broussard: Yes I did play on special teams. I played on kickoff return as a returner. When I was with the Seahawks I was on the punt team as a personal protector and a kick returner. Also, in my brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens, I played on kickoff cover and punt return teams. Our punter, Forrest Reid ,we have back this week, so he is a guy to look out.

That was taken form a live chat Steve did the other night.  I assume he also got some experience as a coach at Portland State.  Didn't seem to matter Saturday, but some coaches are better at adjusting than they are preparing for the season (see "hope springs eternal" above).

The 1988 Aloha Bowl team will be honored at halftime.  Paul Wulff and Steve Broussard were both on that team.  Hopefully they will have something to smile about.

If you are at the game Saturday and get some pictures send them to us!  If you have a myspace page dedicated to the Cougs tell us! 

Special Teams Sinks Paul Wulff Debut 
WSU 13 - Oklahoma State 39
If anyone wondered where the impact of fewer scholarships was going to be felt the most they got their answer Saturday, when the WSU Special teams gave up a 42 yard punt return which set up one Oklahoma score, and Perish Cox ran a kickoff back for 90 yards for another touchdown that snuffed out Cougar comeback dreams in the third quarter.  Special teams also missed a point after.  The poor performance in that area may not be just because of scholarships.  While taking the scholarship hits all this years is admirable, there is no football reason I can think of for putting an ex-running back in charge of special teams.  The WSU kicking game only averaged a net 23.5 yards per punt.  Maybe they should go to that roll out soccer kick style of kick - it couldn't get much worse.

Offensively It didn't matter that the Cougs tried to run a no huddle, because they did it so slowly that it seldom caused as much confusion for Oklahoma state as it did for the cougars themselves.  The cougars managed just two sustained drives for  touchdowns:   It did make a difference on one play late in the game, when WSU caught Oklahoma trying to substitute players at the goal line, snapped the ball and pushed their way into the end zone while Oklahoma players were still running onto the field.  As mentioned Cougar hopes were immediately dashed on the ensuing kickoff, which was run back for a touchdown by Perish Cox.  82 total yards passing for a WSU offense in a game is shocking to say the least.  Statisticians would be hard pressed to find the last game when WSU had more yardage on the ground than in the air (The Broussard game against Oregon maybe?).

The Defense actually played OK especially in the first half, considering the horrible field position they were handed and the consistent 3 and outs by the offense. WSU started the game with 7 punts and a safety, with none of those drives going more than 5 plays or 18 yards.   The defense held Oklahoma State to only 4 of 13 on third down (WSU was 2 of   13).  If the kicking game had been better that performance would have kept the game closer, but eventually the defense wore down and they gave up 3 touchdowns late in the game.

Optimistic cougar fans take heart from the increased offensive production in the 2nd half  and a defense that at least slowed down the Oklahoma express.  Besides, new coach, new system, its going to take a couple games to get things going right (umm, if you think that do NOT look at the Neuheisel debut at UCLA).

Count on California to focus on Brandon Gibson this week, who seemed to be the only spark of life in an otherwise confused and lackluster cougar offense.  When he wasn't involved the WSU offense stood still.  Cougars will get back Vaughn Lesuma, who missed Oklahoma State with a back injury.  That should help the run game look a little less anemic, but on the defensive side of the ball Alfonso Jackson and Jason Stripling are questionable.

Our only consolation was watching how bad the Huskies were against Oregon later in the evening.  Faithful Dawgs have got be wondering how many more games the UW administration is going to put up with coach  "mess at Montlake" Willingham.  You know, I actually felt sorry for huskies QB Jake Locker, who seems like a great guy - (should have been a cougar) and is obviously a great running quarterback.  You could see the punishment he was taking, especially after the rest of the huskies quit on him late in the game.  I ate popcorn and smiled.

The other coaches in the Pac-10 are all big fans of Willingham, as noted by Mike Bellotti:

"I like and respect Ty Willingham," Bellotti said. "I think he's a very good person and coach. He has a young team. We played probably better than we expected."

Translated into English?  "Keep him!  I LOVE kicking his teams butt all over the field!  NO really, we were lucky....."  With comparisons to the cougars previous favorite Huskies coach Gilbertson coming fast and furious from fans, Rich Neuheisel immediate success at UCLA must only twist the knife in the backs of the Husky faithful.

If you want to look at the game states for the Oklahoma State WSU game click WSU STATS

Cougar New Head Coach Paul Wulff Article on Athlon Sports
He may not be picked to win the Pac 10, but he is getting attention, Cougar head coach Paul Wulff has been profiled by Athlon sports.  They are positive about his background but uncertain that he is really bringing anything new to the table.  Our current lack of national respect is shown by the comment

"Cougar fans like him, partly because he’s an alum, partly because he’s just like them, an average guy who skis and hunts and drinks beer..."

Can you believe a comment like that?  Everyone knows there isn't any good skiing near Pullman!

On the more serious side, the article goes into great detail regarding Coach Wulffs' unusual family situation and the mysterious death of his mother, which is unsettling.  When you read about his life you can't help but root for him.  You get the feeling Jim Sterk is hoping to catch another Tony Bennet, - a creative mind and hard working coach who is humble and who loves the Pullman culture enough that if he is successful he won't immediately jump ship.  Its a long shot bet but if it works out then the Cougars would be set for many years to come.  For more click: Paul Wulff Athlon article.

Cougars Picked to finish 9th
The most recent edition of Athlon College football lists the Cougars in the proverbial 9th spot, just above Stanford and just below UW.  Painful, but really, when have we EVER been picked to win the Pac -10, or even more than 6 games in a season?  Now that I have had the time to drown my "its not Mike Price" sorrows I am ready to throw my support behind Coach Wulff like a loyal cougar fan and see what he can accomplish.  Hopefully we can at least finish in the middle of the pack this year.  You know Paul comes from a small town when the directions are "80 miles north of Pullman", guess the writer has never been to Spokane.

WSU Hires New Coach - Mike Price was the better choice.
Mike Price "Withdrew" his name from consideration.  Whether that was because of a better offer from Texas-El Paso or because of bad blood left over from when he "Bama'd" us up side the head in the Rose Bowl we may never know, but with his resume at WSU  you would think they could look past that irritating moment and give him another shot.  Paul Wolff has an intriguing record at Eastern, and he bleeds cougar gold, but so did Coach Doba.  The cougars should be able to move the ball, but our problem was really on defense, wasn't it?  Next year will be a challenging one, with the Huskies getting much better (7 of the top 10 recruits in Washington have already committed to the U).  Mike Price could have flashed Rose Bowl rings, while Paul Wulff has only his record at Eastern to lean on.  He will have the tough job of proving he can win at the next level before the big recruits take a chance on him, which can be extremely difficult to do.  Most of us wanted a change, and we got it, its only fair to give Wulff 4-5 years before we make a final judgment on him.  It will certainly be interesting to watch!

So... What ARE they saying about Cougar Football 2007?
Expect terms like "Flying under the radar" and "Sneaking up on people" from coach Doba this fall.  Here are some quotes from the "pundits"  (of course they ALWAYS underestimate us, right?)

"The Cougars can probably go as high as 7-5 – in theory – but that is so far, an unproven theory and it is more likely that their defensive secondary weaknesses will be too much to overcome in the end." Rivals.com sports writers.

"The defense has just 5 starters back but was hard with by injuries last season and Doba has gone the JUCO route to shore it up. The Cougars take on the NCAA's 3rd toughest schedule however and it will be tough to top last year's 6 win total." - www.philsteele.com

"With each passing year, it becomes painfully apparent that Doba -- a super-nice guy and former legendary high school coach -- is in way over his head. After a successful 10-3 debut in 2003, he's gone 8-17 in the Pac-10 since."  From Coach Doba's listing on the "Five Worst Coaches" in SI.COM

WSU's only consolation in the above quote is that both UCLA's Karl Dorrell and Arizona's Mike Stoops are mentioned in the article as well.  His Best Coach?  If you need to ask then you probably graduated from an SEC school (So why would you be reading this?).

The Consensus at the Pac-10 Media day was an 8th place finish.  Coach Dobas assessment of our chances? "The key is staying healthy," Doba said, "and having a little luck." Funny, that's what Pete Carroll said when they asked him about USC's chances of another national title this year.

Why WSU is a better football program than UW
If you are a High School student trying to choose between the two Washington schools let's get past the Seattle hype and REALLY compare the football programs. There is a perception (reinforced by the biased Northwest Sports Report)  that somehow  the University of Washington is a better football program than WSU and sadly, for many years that was true.  But let's take a look at recent history.  Let's compare 2001 though today: 

1.  Since the Huskies had their one great (lucky?) year (2000), they have NEVER finished higher in the Pac-10 standings than the WSU Cougars. 
2.  Since the beginning of 2001 they have NEVER finished with a better overall record than the Cougars. 
3.  Their last squeaker victory over the WSU Cougars in the Apple Cup was 2003 (remember disco?), and even that only came after our starting quarterback was put out of the game by a cheap shot.
4.  In 2004 the "Measly Mutts of Montlake" were so bad that they finished 0-8 in the Pac-10.  That year they went 1-11 on the season, and even lost to Fresno State.  There isn't even a state "of" Fresno - That's how small Fresno State is.  The Huskies only win that year was against powerhouse San Jose State (ibid). By the way, if you just thought "I bid what?" enroll at Washington.
5.  NONE of the Current Huskies has ever gone to a bowl game.  The UW graduating seniors will never go to a bowl game, because UW, alone with Stanford, has already been knocked out of Bowl eligibility.
6.  UW embarrassed themselves by losing both bowl games they went to over that stretch, while WSU won 2 of the three bowl games they played over the same time frame.
7.  Their last coach was fired in disgrace because of "Personal Vices" -  though he did came back and beat the Huskies later in court.
8.  The Current head coach was fired from Notre Dame after making one of the nations historic power houses look like, well, UW.  His successor immediately won with almost the same players, and is now taking his team into the BCS.
9.  Current head coach Tyrone Willingham is so callous about his own players futures that 4 players that should have had another year of eligibility left (They have been listed as juniors all year)  Have been already told by Willingham that they will be "honored" as seniors and won't be returning next year.  What if that happened to you?  How embarrassing would that be, walking out on the field in Pullman as the starting kicker, knowing you've already been cut, and everyone knows it?
10.  It won't get better any time soon.  Tyrone Willingham is in the 2nd year of a 5 year contract.   Because of the money paid out to shyster Rick Neuheisel they really can't afford to pay off another coaches contract right now, so they would have to go 1 and 11 again next year for him to be fired.

So, while because of injuries this years game will be close, see past the PR machine and understand that no matter what the outcome (we should win) know that in this century WSU has a better, more powerful, more consistent football program than UW.  Take it to the bank.

Apple Cup Joke #2 (their offensive line is joke #1)
An UW graduate was walking down the street, when his old college buddy pulled up in a new Porsche. "Where the hell did you get a Porsche?", the Husky asked in disbelief. "Well," his buddy replied, "Last night I was at a bar and started dancing with this girl. When the bar closed, she motions for me to follow her. We jump in her Porsche, and drive off into the Cascades. She stops, jumps out of the car, takes off all her clothes, and tells me, 'You can have anything you want'. So I took the car." "That was pretty smart", said the UW graduate, "Seeing as how her clothes probably wouldn't have fit".

The "Northwest Sports Report" isn't.
I was TIVO'ing my way through the so called "Northwest Sports Report" last night and once again WSU gets no coverage to speak of.  I understand them covering the Seahawks and Mariners a lot, since everyone that gets the show have those two teams in common.  But the nightly hype of the Huskies over the other Pac-10 schools gets irritating after a while.  They don't even bother to go to the other schools campuses any more, but instead opt for "Campus Cams"  You know, the same thing you can set up with your girlfriend when (Wait. Uh, never mind).  The only time you can count on any significant coverage is the week you play the Huskies.  Maybe it's time they spin off some of the cities into their own Northwest Sports report, or better yet, Why not have a half hour of "Northwest Professional Sports" including the Seahawks, Mariners, Sonics and Blazers - OK Hockey and Soccer too if you insist - but no women's basketball please! - then create a half hour sports report for each major Market (Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and even Boise) so that the college programs (and the lesser sports) can be covered in a more interesting way than "And this on the Cougars, Mkristo Bruce is still a good player".  You can tell that the sportscasters on NWSR are bored to death anyway.  They even give the Huskies their own show every week - does WSU not get that because they won't pony up the money to produce it themselves?  Or were they not even asked?  There used to be an argument that the Huskies were covered so heavily because they were the best team in the Northwest, but...

In summary, it seems that the Northwest Sports Report doesn't think they have any competition because they actually have video with their stories.  Sometimes I get the feeling that in 50 markets across the nation the exact same story is being read by a different announcer inserting the name of the local team into the text, or that the announcer is reading verbatim from a press release created by the team.  The whole show has just become, well, overly formatted and flat. Did you notice they waste time by throwing in a huge number of screen titles and "Coming Up" type lead ins.  Way more than you get on a lot of other sports shows. How many minutes of actual sports reporting do you really get? 

Places you CAN read original stories about the Cougars include the Spokesman Review, Tacoma News Tribune, and the Daily Evergreen.  And of course, here!  But the place I seem to get the most original information from the Seattle Times.  I'll add links to each of these soon, if you aren't sure where to find them.

To give credit where credit is due, they did do a nice feature on WSU's 2000 victory over USC this week.

New NCAA rules might favor the games elite teams
Saturdays' game between WSU and Auburn lasted only 3 hours and 2 minutes, shorter than any game last year.  That's great for fans who like a quick game, great for advertisers (they probably got the same number of commercials in OR MORE), and great for the elite teams in the country like Auburn.  Football game times last year in the NCAA averaged 3 hours and 20 minutes, and as cougar fans know, with all of our passing we even exceeded the 4 hour mark on some games. 

All of that efficiency comes with a cost: compressing the games and taking out the breathing time between plays places a premium on depth - the ability to replace your starter with someone almost as good, so that you can keep your starters fresh into the 4th quarter.  20-30 minutes or more doesn't seem like a lot of time, but it could mean cutting the game time by almost 20% in some cases.  The next time you go to your health club try to complete your workout 20% faster and see how you feel.  Certainly injuries were more of a factor than the clock in the Cougar fatigue, but a few more minutes (they even cut half times by 5 minutes) would have been a blessing for the Cougar defense. 

WSU certainly will get the benefit of the rule changes against teams like Idaho and Baylor, but in the games you want to win most, upsetting a supposedly superior opponent, you will be at a greater disadvantage compared to past years.  Football is not only a game of inches, it is a game of seconds.

Hmmmm, maybe I should start placing bets on the favorites this year....

Pictures from Auburn
The Cougar faithful had an awesome time in Auburn (all things considered).  To take a look at some pictures we've received, click "WSU vs. Auburn".  Thanks to all of the Cougar Faithful who sent us pictures!

The lone bright spot in the second half was the sparkling entry of Gary Rogers as quarterback. Coach Doba put Gary in to give Alex a break, and Gary proceeded to hand off he ball for 5 yards (check out the Yahoo play by play, they show "J. Harrison" rushing for the Cougars in the second half - we wish!). Then he threw a bullet to Cody Boyd for 8 yards, another to Bumpus for 9, then Gibson for 8 and Jason Hill for another 10 years before hitting a wide open Cody Boyd for a 50 yard touchdown. For one series the Cougars looked like we all wished they would.  Gary was 5/5, and the crowd actually got quieter for a minute.  On the next series Auburn was stuffed by the defense but got a second chance on a daring fake punt.  The fake was so close to Auburns' goal line that had we stuffed it we could have easily scored and made the game close.  Unfortunately we did not, and Auburn got another series of plays, even though they missed the field goal. Our defense could ill afford to be on the field for those extra plays.  Then, to make sure we didn't spend the next week in a quarterback controversy coach Doba put Alex back in - to everyone's disappointment but Alex's mom - and Alex continued the "Too short for first down" passing game he had been using earlier.  Even when he tried to throw it long he was off the mark.  The rest of the game was pretty uneventful; Alex threw one pick and Auburn scored some more points.  It would have been much more exciting to leave Gary in the next series to see if we could catch lighting in a bottle.  When Gary did get back in the game it was the last offensive series and Auburn was coming at  him with their ears back.  Game set and match to Auburn. 

About Gary Rogers.  I remember when I was at WSU long, long, long ago we had a great quarterback who threw the ball so hard that it bounced off of the receivers hands.  That quarter back was Mark Rypien.  Rogers' passes had that kind of zip to them.  He spread the ball around and seemed confident and decisive.  The future looks bright at the quarterback spot.  But Alex isn't going to lose his job unless he gets hurt, coach Doba has too much of his reputation invested in the decision to bench and eventually lose Josh Swogger to pull Alex for more than a series or two.  I wonder with these injuries if the WSU football team en mass can take this year as a redshirt season and come back next year? 

WSU Memorable Wins
While we're at it, WSU put a neat page together recently showing some of the most memorable wins in Martin Stadium. It includes my favorite game, click on the picture of our favorite quarterback Drew  Bledsoe below to take a look.


 

 

Be a part of the Coug.com team
If you would like to become a reporter "At Large" for Coug.com email us at cougarfootball@coug.com. - take out the extra s in cougars or it won't get to me!  There are no requirements to become a writer here other than a decent writing style and a love of Cougar football. It doesn't pay anything but the glory of seeing your words in print, but it's fun.  If you are a photographer?  We could use some more awesome pictures!

WSU Mascot "Butch T Cougar"  Crowned 2006
"Capital One National Mascot of the Year"!
Check it out at  Capital OneHere is the web bio for "Butch T Cougar"We always knew Butch was the best, now he's getting some national recognition, due in no small part to cougar faithful around the country, I'm sure.  Way to show your cougar spirit!  First the Space Needle, then the Nation.  Can the world be far behind?

The Seattle Space Needle Never Looked Better!
When this competition was announced all cougar faithful had to assume the Huskies would win it - it was in Seattle, after all. Downtown Huskyville.  Then we won many of the early days of the competition and my thought was "Oh my gosh, we are going to lose this competition at the last second too!"  Fortunately our defense was not allowed near the space needle, and we won!  If you want to check out the beauty that is a crimson and grey Cougar Space Needle, Click here  The Space Needle.  Proof again that Cougars have more heart, soul, and spirit than the "Dugs".  But you already knew that, didn't you?

Check out the WSU Cougars Football MovieWSU Cougars band Vertig Bliss

Things Cougs Never Forget about Cougar football: 
1:    How the huskies made us feel when we lose the Apple Cup.
2:    Ted Bundy was a Husky
3:    The Snow Bowl - a glorious slide into a snow bank, followed by a "Coug Pile"
4:    Drew Bledsoe, the patron saint of Cougar football (Gesser needed another YEAR to 
                 pass him, by the way so don't even go there!)
5.    Holding Roses high in the air in Husky stadium - and done with much more class than  
       the Huskies in our stadium this year.
6.    Did we mention Ted Bundy was a Husky?
7.    For us old guys, Beating Washington in those great blood red uniforms IN PULLMAN, 
                after way too many defeats in a row and a lost Rose Bowl opportunity the prior year.
8.    The goal post stuck in the ceiling of the Coug (from game above, youngster).
9.    "Today we got run over by a moped." (Jim Walden, for giving us heart!)
10.   The Aloha Bowl, did anyone ever ask Jason Gesser if he saw that game?
11.  The fearlessness that teams under Dennis Erickson had. Uh, both of them?
12.  Paul Sorenson, for saying the things that we would have said if anyone would have
                 been stupid enough to give us a microphone.
13.  Sneaking in to Martin Stadium with a pony keg - OK, that's personal, but I'm sure 
                 my friends and I weren't the ONLY ones to ever accomplish it.
14.  Bob Robertson for all those years, and years, and years.

What's your favorite Cougar moment?
(Sexual conquests aside, of course!)
Let me know.  Here are some moments I remember, but need to get the details of:

1.    The name of the WSU kicker that kicked a punt in a driving wind storm in Spokane 
        that actually landed behind him!  (I didn't say I was proud, just curious).
2.    That really cool picture of the skier flying off of the roof of that frat, who was he 
        and which frat was it?  Anyone have a copy I can post here?

Thanks to Jim "Tiger" Engstrom for this answer to one of my favorite cougar moments:

"Cougar punter Glenn Harper in the 1983 Apple Cup is the one who "ballderdashed " Husky return man Danny Greene.  Glenn went on to play many years in the CFL.  "

If you didn't see it, you missed one of the funniest moments in cougar football history.  In a special "where are they now" segment, I heard that Danny Greene went on to a 7 year career as a soprano for the Vienna boys choir.

 

 

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