Archive for October, 2005

Recruiting class of 2001 and 2002 breakdown

October 20, 2005

First, a really quick stadium update from the source.

1) The plan is nearly official at this point. The biggest change cosmetically will be the building upon the student side of the field, basically they will build up and behind that side, creating more seats and in a move that follows the Beavs, a “donors club” type facility. All students will be moved down and spread out over the entire side, leaving the upper sections open to season tickets. This new seating will happen NEXT year, by the way, opening up another $900K of additional revenue per year. They have no doubt that they will sell the extra seats made available by the move. Other improvements will of course be to the facilities, such as bathrooms, concessions, etc.

2) The “silent” phase is well under-way in fund-raising. It has gone EXTREMELY – I repeast – EXTREMELY well! Better than they thought. However, they will NOT go public with fund-raising efforts until $30 million is raised privately, leaving another $27 million to the rest of the donors.

3) V Lane did in fact stand up and say at a big meeting a few weeks ago, “our academics have been reviewed and we are first-class. Our research has been reviewed and we are first-class. Our facilities have been reviewed, and we are NOT first-class. We MUST get this stadium upgrade done, period, or else the odds increase every day that we will no longer be a member of the Pac-10.” The mandate has come down from the Pac-10, get that stadium improved, or else.

4) Paul Allen was in Pullman last weekend. He brought a group of 25 to the game, and was very nice, very approachable to all. He even hung out at the Page on Friday night, throwing down some beer. He has officially said no to the stadium fund-raising, by the way. Too bad.

We’re still years away from the upgrades. Probably will all take place after the 2008 season, with everything done by kickoff of 2009. If the fund-raising goes as better than hoped, it’s at least possible they could break ground after 2007 in time for the 2008 season, but it’s doutful right now.

Now, on recruiting the first few years of the new millenium. I just thought it was interesting to look back and see the players and the thoughts of these players coming in. What’s most interesting is how many “misses” there were in ’01, yet in ’02, they recruited several starters on today’s team. I guess it’s true, if you are winning, you’ll get quality kids. If you are losing? Well, the odds are you’ll keep losing!

Check it out:

Class of 2001 (following the 4-7 2000 season):

QB: Chris Hurd: QB; 6’3, 185; Deer Valley, CA (Deer Valley); 1772yds and 28 touchdowns (23 passing & 5 rushing) against 3 interceptions in season slowed by knee injury; considered top QB prospect in Northern California; mobile with strong arm; Long Beach Press Telegram 2 votes out of 10 Best in the West; TNT Western 100; SuperPrep Farwest

CougZone Says: Hurd style-wise is like a slightly taller Jason Gesser – a mobile guy who can throw the ball. Hurd was slowed by a knee injury during his senior season which led to a lot of schools backing off him while WSU stayed tight. Hurd recovered from the knee, and went on to have an outstanding season. The fact that Hurd was considered one of the best QB prospects in the west says a lot considering the strength of the western QBs in 2000. Hurd will certainly redshirt and then get a chance to crack the depth as a redshirt freshman. GRADE: A

RB: CougZone Says: Well, geez. The Cougs signed Jimmy Wilson, Roger Smith, and Dwayne Wright in this class. Smith never showed. Wright didn’t make grades, went to JC, and is scheduled to enroll in August 2003. Wilson enrolled, ran into a depth logjam, was asked to move positions and decided to leave. Considering that as of January 2003, the sum total of this class is zero, the grade ain’t gonna be good. GRADE: F

WR: Trandon Harvey: WR; 6′, 175, 4.4 forty; National City, CA (Sweetwater); intelligent prospect looking to major in sports medicine; 1999 – league MVP, all-state, all-CIF, 77 catches for 1789yds and 19 TDs; played most of his senior season out of position at RB due to team injuries; considered one of the top WR prospects in California; Prepstar all-region; SuperPrep Farwest; all league, all area, all state; 49 catches, 1000+ yds, 13 TDs despite splitting time at RB

Marty Martin: WR; 5’11, 170; 4.5 forty; Puyallup, WA (Puyallup); good speed in state prospect; 1999 – 24 catches, 446yds (18.6 avg), 4 TDs in 9 games played. Martin attended the WSU football camp over summer and impressed the coaches with his hands as well as his developing speed, recording a 4.4 forty; named Seattle Times preseason all-state; all league and all area by the TNT after finishing up the season with close to 800yds receiving on 39 catches with 13 TDs.; honorable mention AP all-state 4A; Tacoma News Tribune Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; Team MVP; Seattle Times Red Chip; SuperPrep Farwest

Tyjuan Mayfield: WR; 6′, 180; San Bernadino, CA (Eisenhower; San Bernadino CC); 2000 – 11th of California JC WRs in yards per game, avgd 6.1 receptions per game, all conference and conference’s leading receiver

Thomas Ostrander: WR; 6’2, 185; 4.6 forty; Yakima, WA (East Valley); good sized WR who creates well after the catch; considered rising sleeper among Washington state prospects; reportedly clocked a forty time as high as 4.4, named AP all-state 2A; 2000 – 43 catches, 768yds (17.9yd avg), 14 TDs; Prepstar all west; league co-offensive player of the year; all league on both sides of the ball; SuperPrep Farwest; Seattle Times Red Chip

CougZone Says: Trandon Harvey is potentially big time. Harvey can be a go-to target, has speed, and can break the big play. The Cougars might look to use him in 2001 especially if Milton Wynn is not granted another year of eligibility and no clear successor to Wynn emerges in spring. A lot will be up to Harvey come fall camp. Mayfield can probably expect to get a chance to get into the mix right away. Ostrander and Martin will probably redshirt. Martin received more attention from playing in Pierce County, but Ostrander was on the other side of the mountains quietly having a big season. Both are productive receivers who can find the endzone. All told, the Cougs addressed the position well, but no one guy stands out as an odds-on instant contributor. The Cougs may really need and miss that kind of guy if Wynn isn’t back and the existing guys don’t step up in spring. GRADE: B

TE/OL/DL: Brian Boyer: DL; 6’4, 230; Lapwai, ID (Lapwai) outstanding citizen and very impressive rising prospect; 4.0 student who hasn’t had a B since 4th grade; great attitude and work ethic and great motor on the field; considered the best prospect in the state of Idaho and is extremely athletic on the field; all league on both sides of the ball; TNT Western 100

Riley Fitt-Chappell: TE/Ath; 6’7, 240; 5.0 forty; Eagle River, AK (Chugiak); prospect from same high school as current Cougar Phil Locker; athletic prospect; Tacoma News Tribune Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; SuperPrep Farwest; all league on both sides of the ball; SuperPrep Farwest

Bryan Olson: DE/OL; 6’4, 250; Covington, WA (Kentlake); athletic and versatile player who could play on either side of the line but is being looked at primarily for defense; playing LB in high school; Olson was all league this season and also SPSL Lineman of the Year. He’s got good movement and footwork and will get his first look at DE. Depending on how he matures physically, Olson could end up on the interior line on either side of the ball; has timed a 4.8 forty; TNT, AP all state and all area; 144 tackles with 10 TFL, 5 sacks; league top D-lineman; Seattle Times Red Chip; SuperPrep Farwest; Team’s “Mr. Defense”

Adam West: TE/OL/DL; 6’6, 225; Venice, CA (Venice); all league at TE; 28 catches, 600+yds, 9 TDs CougZone Says: Around his first years at WSU, Coach Price talked about his recruiting philosophy of going after the “Top Ten Tight Ends.” Price’s theory was that big rangy guys who play TE in HS can project to play TE, O-line, DT, or DE in college depending on how they fill out and their skills. The approach goes more after athletes than guys who are necessarily going to be in one spot. WSU somehow got away from that for a couple years, but went back with a vengeance this class. West, from California, has receiving numbers that are impressive – he could be a sleeper at the TE position.

Fitt-Chappell is one of the best big athletes out of Alaska this year. Boyer and Olson will both go on the line, but it’s an open question as to where. Both can move well. Olson at 250 might project more on the O-line or at DT, while Boyer will probably get his first look at DE. All of these guys will almost certainly redshirt and have the time to hit the weights, the training table, and develop a bit. A real strong group overall: GRADE: B+

PK/P: Adam Holiday: PK; 6’3, 230; Moorpark CC, CA; JC prospect with two years to play; Holiday will likely be a kickoff only specialist for WSU as he didn’t do FGs in JC. Holiday has a strong leg and is able to get the ball into the endzone for touchbacks and also get a good hangtime

Graham Siderius: PK/P/QB; 6’2, 195; 4.6 forty; Reno, NV (McQueen); one of best placekickers and punters in the nation, but also is team’s starting QB; very athletic prospect and also a baseball standout; PrepStar All American; 1999 – as PK, all state, all conference, all area, long of 47yds and hit 8 of 11 attempts, 75% of kickoffs were touchbacks; 1200 SAT; Siderius is more than just a kicker, the guy’s an athlete as shown by his part in leading his team to the state title at QB; On the year, he was 11 of 15 on FG attempts with a long of 54yds. 82% of his kickoffs were touchbacks, and he even put one kickoff through the uprights. He could also punt for the Cougs, and averaged 42.3yds per kick.

CougZone Says: In 2000, the lack of a consistent placekicking game was one of the biggest factors in the Cougars losing three overtime games and ending up 4-7. Siderius was a vital signee to this class and will probably have the inside lane to take the starting placekicking job when he arrives in fall. As one of the best HS kickers in the nation, the Cougs will want to use him on the field right away. Holiday will very likely handle only kickoffs, and could be awarded a scholarship based on performance. Holiday has a reputation for kicking deep and getting touchbacks, and the Cougs can use that kind of leg as kickoffs last season typically fell around the opponent’s ten or fifteen yard line, setting up good returns and favorable field position. This was a big need for WSU and the need was answered. GRADE: A

DT: Norvell Holmes: DT; 6’3, 285; 5.1 forty; Bellflower, CA (St. John Bosco); first team all league junior and senior years; 1999 – team captain and co-MVP, 47 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 Int, 2 fumbles recovered; PrepStar All Far West and SuperPrep All Far West; Holmes was a Cougar signee for the class of 2000, but an academics snafu kept him from enrolling; Holmes enrolled at WSU in January and will participate in spring football

Nate Mallory: DE/DT; 6’3, 275; Kent, WA (Kentridge; City College of San Francisco); Mallory originally committed to WSU in 1997 and was on the roster for the Rose Bowl team. Grades gave Mallory trouble, and he had to transfer out. Mallory ended up playing at CCSF, starting on CCSF’s champion team; Mallory enrolled at WSU in January and will participate in spring football

CougZone Says: DT was not necessarily a position needing immediate help for WSU. For the first time in a while, the Cougs return depth and experience at DT and will want to see players already on the roster step up. Holmes was a high school standout who will get a chance to participate in spring football after grayshirting due to some academics holdups. He will likely redshirt and get a chance to break into the depth next year. Age and experience make Mallory a good prospect to compete to get on the field in fall, and spring practice will help Mallory adjust to being a Cougar again. Depending on WSU’s needs, Mallory could project either inside at DT – especially if he can mount a penetrating pass rush – or outside at DE. If Mallory becomes a sudden impact guy for WSU, it will be gravy for the Cougs. Eventually, one of the TE contenders and possibly Bryan Olson, Brian Boyer, Jason Holmes, or others could find their way to this position. GRADE: B+

DE: Charles Harris: OL/DL; 6’6, 250; Spokane, WA (Mead); Seattle Times Red Chip; athletic line prospect who could play on either side of the ball and will probably get a first look at DE; Late signee due to family’s move to Oklahoma

CougZone Says: During his press conference on Letter of Intent Day, Coach Price mentioned how much he liked the idea of Harris rushing the passer with his arms up. Harris has to be considered a player the Cougs view as someone they can develop. Due to LDS missions deferring enrollment, and players not showing, this group is thin. Consider that Harris seems destined for the O-line, and this position is downright empty. GRADE: F

LB: Patrick Bennett: LB; 6’1, 215; Forks, WA; three year starter at both RB and LB; very bright young man with a 4.0 GPA; all league 1999 and 2000; 2000 – league MVP, 1100yds rushing, 15 TDs on offense, 78 tackles and 2 sacks on defense; Bennett was named all-state by the TNT after finishing the season with 2448yds and 30 TDs on offense, and 148 tackles on defense. Bennett was also named by the TNT as their Washington Player of the Year; Bennett was named AP all-state 2A, and was also the AP 2A Player of the Year.; Bennett was named a TNT Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; SuperPrep farwest; Prepstar all west; Seattle Times Red Chip

Will Derting: LB; 6′, 205; 4.7 forty; Okanagan, WA (Okanagan); 1999 – all state at both LB and RB for single A and undefeated (13-0) state champ Okanagan, 1400yds rushing on offense, 70 solo tackles on defense; athletic player fitting into size mold of Cougar linebackers; Derting was named AP all-state 1A. Game observers have said Derting is a major sleeper who has excellent movement and is a sideline to sideline player; Prepstar All region; all league; Seattle Times Red Chip

CougZone Says: The Cougs are lucky that Bennett has Cougar blood. Bennett could be the biggest sleeper prospect of this class. He is a tough, versatile athlete who dominated his league. Bennett looks to have the tools to be another James Darling type LB for WSU. Derting probably projects as an outside ‘backer at WSU. Derting’s another small town guy who by all accounts can lay the wood and get around the field to do it. Both of these players didn’t get the high-profile recruiting attention – although Bennett started to and stuck with the Cougs – but both are very good and athletic signees who physically are exactly what WSU likes to see at linebacker. GRADE: A

DB: Jeremy Bohannon: DB/WR; 5’11, 175; 4.5; Richland, WA (Richland); very athletic prospect who could play on both sides of the ball but may project as a cornerback in college; 2000 – league co-MVP, 6 picks on defense with two going for TDs, 31 catches for 755yds and 11 TDs on offense; academically qualified; AP 4A all-state; TNT Honorable Mention Northwest Nugget; on offense has 31 catches for 755yds (24.4 avg), 11 TDs; Seattle Times Red Chip; SuperPrep Farwest

Aaron Joseph: Athlete/DB; 6’2, 190; 4.5 forty; Tacoma, WA (Franklin Pierce); excellent all around athlete who also is a hoops and track standout; has played QB, DB, and WR for Franklin Pierce but likely projects as a college safety; 3.56 GPA; recruited by all Northwest schools and received some national attention; all league, all area, TNT defensive player of the year; Prepstar all west; Seattle Times Red Chip

Jevon Miller: DB; 6’1, 185; Anchorage, AK (East); Extremely athletic player who projects as a safety for WSU; standout player in his league; all league on both sides of the ball; second team all-state on both sides of the ball; hoops standout

Wes Patterson-Aumya: WR/DB; 5’11, 190; 4.4 forty; Bellflower, CA (Bellflower); regarded by the Long Beach Press Telegram as one of the best DB prospects in California; 35″ vertical leap; all-league 1998 and 1999; projects as a college safety; LBPT dream team CB; LBPT preseason Elite 18; 63 tackles, 11 passes broken up, 2 Ints

Alex Teems: DB; 5’11, 180; Carson, CA (San Pedro); all league as both CB and RB, but projects as a college cornerback; team MVP; SuperPrep Farwest

Alan Thompson: DB/RB; 5’10, 190; Sweetwater, CA (Sweetwater); Teammate of Cougar WR commit Trandon Harvey; projects as college safety; league player of the year; all league as RB; team offensive back of the year with 1400+yds, 14 TDs

CougZone Says: A look at the Cougar roster shows some building depth concerns at DB, so it was important for WSU to sign a number of cornerback and safety prospects in this class. The Cougars did just that, and really addressed the need although WSU may need to develop some of the signees over time. Bohannon is thought to be very much a sleeper prospect with the tools to be an impact player. The same goes for Joseph – a pure athlete who was dominant in his league despite playing a number of positions. Patterson-Aumya is probably the most heralded of the bunch and has great speed for a safety prospect. It’s possible that if Dwayne Wright doesn’t get a qualifying test score, Thompson could get a look at RB, the position where he drew most of his recognition in HS. Miller’s an athletic sleeper the Cougs noticed while scouting other prospects. WSU’s been pretty successful in the past with Alaska players, so… GRADE: B

In hindsight, the 2001 class produced what, 4 starters!??! Derting, Harris, Teems, and Riley Fitt-Chappell. The rest were either backups or failed to ever play a down. I had forgotten about how much hype Hurd had coming in, and how great he was on the scout team until his knee injury.

The 2002 class was much better, and when you consider that was coming off the 2001 Sun Bowl win, this might be a good indication that we were on the rise.

Joshua Swogger: QB; 6’5, 242; 4.9 forty; Youngstown, OH (Ursuline); 1999 – all league, all state with 1800yds and 15 TDs passing, 483yds and 8 TDs rushing; Swogger had a very impressive senior season and was recently named first team Ohio 4-A and Ohio 4-A Offensive Player of the Year; CBS Sports AA; 2000 – 2300+ yds, 25 TDs in leading team to state title; grayshirted and enrolled in January 2002

CougZone Says: The QB who will join with the class of 2002 is Swogger. Swogger was all-Ohio everything at QB his senior year. Recruited in the same class as equally highly touted Cougar QB Chris Hurd, Swogger greyshirted in 2001. CZ Grade: A

RB Lionel Arnold: RB; 6’1, 205; 4.5 forty; (Contra Costa CC); big, physical back averaging over 5yds per carry and 139yds per game; 2001 – 1251yds on the season with 14 TDs with defenses keying on him; 2772yds and 29 TDs in his JC career; three years of eligibility to play two Steve Dildine: RB/LB; 6’1, 205; 4.5 forty; Spanaway, WA (Bethel); very much a rising prospect playing his first season of football since the 8th grade; returning to football after racing BMX bikes competitively; can project on either side of the ball and will get a first look at RB in college; knocked out of the playoffs in the semifinals by Carl Bonnell’s Kentwood Conquerors; finished the season with 2265yds and a state record 45 TDs, 41 of them rushing.; named all area and all state by the TNT; TNT Player of the Year; named all state by the Seattle Times; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; named an honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT

Jermaine Green: RB; 6’2, 225; 4.5 forty; Daytona Beach, FL (Spruce Creek; Butler CC); strong, big, fast, and physical JC prospect from Florida by way of very strong 10-2 Butler CC program in Kansas; 2001 – 1010yds (5.3yd per carry average) and 10 rushing TDs, 11 catches for 197 yds (17.9yd avg) with 2 TDs; enrolled in January

Jonathan Smith: RB; 5’9, 180; Pasadena, CA (Narbonne; Pasadena CC); smaller but fast JC RB rated the 74th JC player prospect nationally by; had a huge season in helping lead PCC to a 10-1 record; set a national JC record with 2589 all purpose yards, with 2053yds rushing (over 10yds per carry average) and the rest receiving out of the backfield; named a 1st team all American JC, and was also all conference and the league offensive Player of the Year; rewrote the PCC record books, setting records for yards in a game, touchdowns in a game, total TDs, etc, etc.; In high school at Narbonne, Smith was all Los Angeles city and league MVP with 1679yds rushing (11.5yd per carry avg) and 22 TDs; all JC California

CougZone Says: Oh, my! The Cougs had an immediate impact need at RB. Graduation of David Minnich and the ugly departure of Deon Burnett in 2000 left a big hole in the lineup for 2002. Through injury or otherwise, no current Cougar back locked a claim to the job(s) in 2001. To help fill the need, the Cougs added three impressive JC backs to the mix. Jermaine Green is already enrolled and comes from JC power Butler after having a standout Florida high school career. Smith was arguably the best JC RB in the nation after the season he had in 2001. Arnold is the sleeper of the bunch. Arnold is physical and drew a lot of attention from defenses his sophomore year following an impressive freshman season. Dildine had a monster of a senior season for Bethel and has plenty of upside. He’ll probably get a first look on offense, but based on how he fills out he could grow into playing LB.

CZ Grade: A

TE Cody Boyd: TE; 6’8, 220; 4.7 forty; Ferndale, WA (Ferndale); rangy TE prospect; extremely athletic and a strong receiver with good hands; hoops standout who will have opportunity to play hoops at WSU; PacWest Football considers Boyd the #3 TE prospect in the west; pre-season all state by the Seattle Times; named all-state by the Seattle Times; named one of three Blue Chip recruits by the Seattle Times; named a honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT; named to the TNT Western 100 list; 5 votes in the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West list

Eddie Robinson: TE; 6’3, 240; Venice, CA (Venice; Tulane; Compton CC); very heavily recruited prospect out of high school as a mobile, receiving TE; was the subject of a huge recruiting war between Virginia and Tulane before signing with Tommy Bowden’s Green Wave; played one season at Tulane before transferring back to Compton CC and the west coast where he did not play; played DE and TE in high school for 11-1 Venice team and named all CIF as TE and to the SuperPrep all west team

Jesse Taylor: TE; 6’4, 238; 4.7 forty; West Hills, CA (Chaminade); Prepstar preseason All American; total package TE prospect with good speed, size, blocking skills, and hands; PacWest Football has Taylor as the #2 TE prospect in the west; named to the TNT Western 100; three votes in the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West list; all league as both TE and LB in both 2000 and 2001; father played for UCLA

CougZone Says: As far as ratings, Body, Taylor, and Robinson make this group as good or better than any group in the nation. Taylor is considered a complete package of skills while Boyd has great hands and will fill out into a very large receiving target. Robinson was a very hot prospect out of high school and will come in August to compete for the job immediately. If depth is still unclear after spring practice, Robinson’s chances of breaking into the lineup will be very good.

CZ Grade: A

WR Robert Franklin: WR; 6’3, 190; Gainesville, TX (Gainesville); big play receiver with great size and good speed who played on a running team; 2001 – led conference with 17 catches for 328yds (19.3yd avg), league co-offensive MVP; Pac-10 caliber long jumper who will probably compete in track at WSU

Sammy Moore: WR/Returns; 5’11, 175; 4.5 forty; Mesa, AZ (Bakersfield CC); highly regarded JC WR and return specialist rated #44 JC prospect overall nationally and #6 JC WR prospect nationally by JCFootball; first team all conference as freshman in 2000 and second team in 2001; highly recruited out of high school and originally signed with ASU; expected to contribute immediately as punt and kick returner

Chris Jordan: WR/DB; 6’1, 185; 4.5 forty; Kent, WA (Kentlake); standout athlete who can play on either side of the ball and also return kicks; named pre-season all state by the Seattle Times; hoops standout; received offer at WSU summer camp; named all state by the TNT; named all area by the Seattle Times; named all state by the Seattle Times; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times

CougZone Says: Sammy Moore is an impact guy by virtue of his ability to break the big play. He can do it receiving passes, punts, or kicks, which makes him potentially explosive from anywhere you can get him the ball. Franklin is a major sleeper. He has all the physical tools, but played in a league where they didn’t throw so much. Jordan’s a good combination of skills and will probably get a first look at receiver. This is a solid group, and the expected impact of Moore will help.

CZ Grade: B-

Line Troy Bienemann: DL/OL; 6’5, 260; 4.9 forty; Mountain View, CA (St. Francis); big and athletic prospect; league co-MVP as DE, 72 tackles, 1 sack; 27 catches for 313yds, 1 TD; Prepstar #5 TE on West Coast; TNT Western 100; several all-area teams; SuperPrep all west; grayshirted after suffering knee injury in late summer 2001 and joined the team in January 2002

Adam Braidwood: DE; 6’5, 225; 4.6 forty; North Delta, British Columbia, Canada (Seaquam); rising Canadian prospect who plays American rules football; named top DE at Oregon Nike Camp and attended WSU football camp where he was camp Defensive MVP; considered one of the top D-line prospects in the west with a great combination of strength, speed, and attitude; may have chance to play as a true freshman; all conference and all BC; all BC defensive MVP

Charles Harris: OL/DL; 6’6, 270; Spokane, WA (Mead); Seattle Times Red Chip; athletic line prospect who could play on either side of the ball; may get a first look on defense; greyshirted and joined the team in January 2002

Spencer Hollison: OL; 6’6, 265; 4.9 forty; Santa Margarita, CA; good sized line prospect with good technique and feet; all league in 2000; holds school record in career “de-cleaters” with 67; all league as senior; projects as tackle and protected three D-1 QB signees during high school career

Nick Milhauser: OL; 6’4, 265; Arroyo Grande, CA (Arroyo Grande); good sized line prospect named all conference as junior; as senior, named all league and all area; league lineman of the year; area lineman of the year; region lineman of the year

Matt Mullinex: LB/DE; 6’4, 235; 4.6 forty; Twisp, WA (Liberty); sleeper D-line prospect who impressed at the summer football camp with attitude, motor, and work ethic; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; all league on both sides of the ball (RB, LB); Will likely greyshirt and enroll in January 2003

Aaron Ware: DL/OL; 6’5, 230; 5.0 forty; Lacey, WA (Timberlane); two way starter at OL and DE; good pass rusher and will likely get first look on defense in college; 2000 – all league on both sides of the ball; all region; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; all league on defense as a senior with 105 tackles

CougZone Says: With this class, it seemed that Coach Price went back to his old adage of the “top ten tight ends.” Price likes to recruit the big framed athlete who can develop into any one of a number of positions. The Cougs like their O-linemen a little slender coming out of high school and like to get guys who are athletic and can move, but are still filling out. WSU got a real good player in Milhauser who has a great combination of skills. Hollison was sought after because of his ability to move and lay a big block. He also brings the experience of working with passing offenses. Mullinex will greyshirt while Harris is joining the team after greyshirting in 2001. Before he greyshirted, Harris was expected to get a first look on defense. Bienemann was impressing before a late injury prompted his greyshirt. Braidwood could get a chance to play right away. Braidwood was dominant in his league, has good skills, is quick and big enough to play now – something the Cougs may need to help depth at DE. Ware will get a good look at defense, but could transition to offense. All around, a bunch of very promising players to develop plus some possible immediate depth. Nice job recruiting to the line, an annual need.

CZ Grade: B+

LB Scott Davis: LB/RB; 6′, 205; 4.5 forty; Kennewick, WA (Kamiakin); Seattle Times preseason all state as LB; named all state by the Seattle Times; league co-defensive MVP and all league at both LB and RB; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; team and league MVP as sophomore; all league and league co-MVP as junior; team 25-7 over his three years playing

Brian Hall: LB/DE; 6’3, 220; 4.65 forty; Walla Walla, WA (DeSales); athletic and versatile prospect from strong football program; has played LB, TE, and RB in HS and could project as college LB, DE, or TE; All league in 2000 as both LB and TE; Attended WSU camp and received an offer; helped lead DeSales to the state title game; named all-state by the TNT who described Hall as a big talent in a small school; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; Washington Prep Report B-11 Player of the Year; named all area and all league

Donnie Jackson: LB; 6’1, 218; 4.7 forty; Natchez, MS (Grossmont CC); Mississippi born JC prospect by way of Grossmont CC; hard hitting, speedy and athletic LB who likely projects outside for WSU; helped lead Grossmont to 9-1 record before loss in CC bowl game to Cougar commit Johnathan Smith’s Pasadena CC team; 2001 – all conference, all state CC, 3rd team JC all American

Kevin Sperry: LB; 6’2, 225; 4.6 forty; Los Angeles, CA (North Torrance; Los Angeles Harbor CC); good sized, hard hitting player with speed rated 75th best JC player nationally overall and the 14th best LB prospect by; three years of eligibility; 2001 – 12 sacks, 17 TFL, and set team record with 17 tackles in one game; all conference in 2001; named a second team JC all American, all JC California, and all league; enrolled in January

CougZone Says: Along with RB, the Cougs were looking at an immediate need at LB for 2002. Graduations leave holes, and the existing roster was looking too young and thin. The Cougs hit the need with Sperry and Jackson who will be expected to compete immediately for substantial playing time or starts. Both players are highly regarded and mobile. Physically and athletically they both fit the mold for Cougar LBs. Sperry is on campus and will make a strong claim to the start at MLB, while Jackson will come in August to lay a claim to one of the outside spots. For the future, Hall looks like a heady player who projects at MLB. Davis was a huge factor in his team’s success over the years and has a motor. If Steve Dildine ultimately makes the switch to LB from RB, this group puts some nice players in the pipeline and plugs the immediate needs.

CZ Grade: B+

DB Eric Frampton: DB; 6′, 177; 4.6 forty; San Jose, CA (Oak Grove); sleeper prospect whose senior year ended after three games due to a broken collarbone; all league as junior; projects at either safety or cornerback; named to the TNT Western 100 list

Wes Rainwater: DB/RB; 5’11, 180; 4.5 forty; Kent, WA (Kentridge); rising prospect who impressed as one of top DBs at WSU camp; considered a good cover DB and likely projects as a cornerback; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; named a honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT; all league and league special teams MVP

Don Turner: DB/WR; 6′, 170; 4.5 forty; Spokane, WA (University); standout player on both sides of the ball for U-High with 2 Ints on the year and a 15yd per catch receiving average; track standout who projects as a college safety; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; named a honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the TNT; all league as DB

CougZone Says: Rainwater was a playmaker in high school and has good cover skills and speed. Frampton is probably the most highly regarded despite missing most of his senior year – something that makes him a mystery. Turner has good tools and speed. A solid group, but all will need some time and work to develop. The Cougs need to build long and short term in the defensive secondary. This group will help, but there’s not much margin for error if the Cougs want to avoid the need for JC help down the road.

CZ Grade: C+

Athlete Mkristo Bruce: Athlete; 6’5, 210; 4.7 forty; Issaquah, WA (Liberty); all league on defense at LB and second team all league as a QB; Projects as college LB or TE; named a Red Chip recruit by the Seattle Times; attended summer WSU football camp and earned offer based on attitude and athleticism

Odell Howard: TE/Athlete; 6’4, 235; 4.6 forty; Pomona, CA; big prospect athletic enough to play WR in high school; projects at any number of positions in college, but will get a first look on offense; hoops standout averaging close to 20 points per game and 15 boards; league and region player of the year

Flamingo Malone: DB/Athlete; 6’5, 205; 4.7 forty; Wilmington, CA (Banning); athletic and heavily recruited player; played WR, LB, Safety, and DE in high school; could play on either side of the ball in college and position projects more on how his frame fills out; standout small forward for hoops team; named all region at LB; all CIF in both 2000 and 2001 as a DB

CougZone Says: When the man is named Flamingo, you know he’s gonna be tough. Malone was a dominant athlete and DB in high school, but could easily fill out physically and grow into a completely different position in college. If he ends up at DB, he could make a fearsome strong safety. Malone probably projects on defense and will bring a lot to whatever spot he plays. Bruce could find a niche and emerge. He has an excellent work and team ethic. Bruce will likely need a year or two to fill out and find a position. Howard is something of a question. At times a huge receiver in high school – and a great small forward – where Howard ultimately ends up will depend on how he fills out. It could be almost anywhere except DB, RB, and QB.

CZ Grade: B+

By the way, the 2002 class also coincided with the arrival of Robin Pflugrad.

Blitz killing Brink, Cougs

October 19, 2005

Good read on beating the blitz, or getting beat in the process. Explains what we’ve been seeing for the last 3 games:

BY THE TIME THE COUGARS lined up for overtime Saturday, the defense was already emotionally headed for the woodshed. Forget the three-point stances. We’ll get the message and beat the traffic. The overtime sequence looked pretty much like this. Eleven guys on offense, followed by 11 on defense, waiting for the ax to fall.

And, of course, fall it did. I’m sure everybody feels bad but a 44-41 overtime dart to the heart is really tough on those of us who can’t tear our eyes away. We can’t take out our aggression by hitting somebody late, like the defense can. We have to sit around wondering why? How? Whadaya mean we’re outa beer?

The Blame Patrol is out in force this week. Cougar offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller is the juiciest target. Great game plan (21 early points), the boo birds are chirping, but lousy adjustments (the first three offensive series in the fourth quarter were three-and-outs).Pushing the 12th-ranked team in the country to change what it was doing, and scoring 41 points in the process, is no small feat. But the fact is that the offense suddenly froze in the fourth, setting off a meltdown that took place at an agonizingly deliberate pace.The young and banged-up defense is in serious decline. It’s very good once in a while. Adam Braidwood is playing hurt. Two starters were holy terrors last fall. In high school. For now it’s up to the offense. It’s not fair but the Cougar offense has to do it all, not only start but finish.Because it initially hummed, only to falter and flutter and die, Levenseller’s offense finds itself eerily akin to George W. Bush.They both have the same dismal approval rating.How many times have you seen this? The Cougs are 0-1 when a running back goes off for more than 250 yards. Has anybody done that, ever?

SADLY, DELVING INTO THE video, seeing what quarterback Alex Brink saw down the stretch, alternatives are not all that clear. I mean, what would you call? UCLA shifted into a 4-3-3, layering 10 defenders from WSU’s tight end to the Cougar weakside tackle. The Bruins came in waves, blitz after blitz. With three and four WSU receivers running pass routes, Brink — under pressure always — had no time to look off receivers and shift to second and third reads.Did I mention we’ve seen this before? Mike Price’s first season. 1989. The Cougs won six of their first seven. In came Arizona with a second-half blitz package that kept the quarterback under siege. Washington State lost a lead and a game that day.The Cougars never did pick up the blitz.

(NOTE – GOD what a horrible memory that game was. I was right around the 50-yard line, next to Tyler Dion, and it was somewhat wet that day, it was cloudy, etc. It was a low-scoring game, and I think Aaron Garcia was the starter. We got an early long pass for a TD and looked good for a while, but AZ brought the house, we turned the ball over, couldn’t get the run going, etc. That was the birth of how to stop the one-back offense!)

They never did win another game that year. It was George Santayana, or possibly Tom Landry, who said that those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it. So pay attention; the Cougs won’t win another game until they counter the blitz.

To say that UCLA was keying on Jerome Harrison in the second half is like explaining why robbers key on banks. That’s where the money is. Harrison was easy money in the first half. It had to be everybody’s guess that UCLA would gang up on Harrison and make the Cougs find another way.It didn’t happen. The first play of the third quarter signaled what would come. WSU guard Norvell Holmes pulled to lead a Harrison sweep right. You see the UCLA safety taking one, two, three steps in as the ball is snapped, cheating, anticipating. When the ball goes to Harrison, the Bruin DB abandons deep coverage and scrambles to the corner. The deepest defender on the field is suddenly in run support mode, forcing Harrison to cut inside where he is poleaxed by converging UCLA linebackers.It was the first of too many second-and-longs. Antidote? The tailback pass comes to mind. That’d work once, anyway. Beyond that?I’M NO HEAD COACH, AND I don’t play one on TV, but if I were I’d go to the section of the playbook that has a fullback in it.

The slotback, Michael Bumpus, was all but ignored Saturday, not because he’s not a potential big-play guy but because all Brink had time for was to lock on his primary target, Jason Hill. Too often, for Brink, it was put it up and hope you don’t break something while they’re taking you down.It’s time for tinkeering. Tight ends who block and catch, receivers who break off routes and adjust to the ball, maybe a fullback or H-back who blocks first, delays a count or two and slides into a short pattern. Give Brink an option. At the risk of sounding like Les Richter, two words come to mind here.

Safety valve.

In the steady, predictable, fatal drone of Saturday’s three-and-outs, there was only one really awful terrible crummy call from the sidelines. That came on third-and long-with less than six minutes remaining, the Cougs clinging to a 38-31 lead. Moments before, UCLA had turned it over on downs at midfield.Thank you, Cougar defense.The offense rode all that emotion to this: Harrison is thrown for a four-yard loss on first down. Hill catches a two-yard pass. This is where it got irretrievably worse. The Cougs on third and long sends Harrison in motion. Bruin linebacker Spencer Havner goes lateral, shadowing the Cougar tailback, pointing, shouting, sensing. Brink’s pass finds Harrison but Havner beats a block and leads the stampede that dumps the Cougar tailback a distant eight yards from the first-down sticks.That was every bit as predictable as Idaho going Republican.

Momentum, momentarily snatched, slipped away. Incredibly, with less than five minutes to go, the Cougs were ahead and losing at the same time. The next tormentor on the schedule, Cal, must be savoring those images. The Cal Bears will bring the house down on Brink. The challenge is fairly obvious.

Beat the blitz or pay the price.

Quick Derting story

October 18, 2005

FYI, I spoke to Talarico during and after the game on Saturday, and again on Sunday. He told me after the game, as they were milling around where all the RV’s are stationed, they walked by the Derting family RV. Of course the whole family was there, but also there, in the flesh, was big Will himself. Brandon looked right at him, and he said his eyes were beat red, definitely from crying his eyes out. He also was throwing down the beer, and was visibly shaken. He was surrounded by family, etc, but Talarico still decided to approach him. However he didn’t get far. Some huge wall of a man was standing between them, so he backed off without talking to him. He then told the guy to tell Will to keep his chin up, get healthy and get after it the rest of his final season!

Hmm, maybe the D misses his leadership more than we could have imagined? Again, obviously we aren’t around the team at all, but to hear a story like that sure makes you realize how much a kid like that really cares about winning! It must be killing him not being out there, because who the hell knows, IF he’s healthy and making plays in the middle, MAYBE we’re bowl-eligible RIGHT NOW!?! MAYBE they hold on vs. the Beavs if he makes that sack. MAYBE he doesn’t vacate the middle of the field and shadows Trent Edwards? MAYBE he covers better vs. Marcedes Lewis and makes just one more play, just one more stop??? MAYBE we’d be 6-0 today!?!?

Just something to think about in this almost-lost season.


October 18, 2005

Saturday will mark the 12th game–or second season–with little Alex at the helm of the sinking good ship Cougar.

After hearing nary a word about the Quarterback position from the coaches, I am left with one conclusion: CAL’s upset loss to the Beavs–where the Beavs’s Bernard ran for 187–left the coaches with the impression that the season is still salvagable with a win this weekend.

With that line of reasoning, it makes a little sense to stay the course and see what happens in Berkeley this Saturday night.

That all said, after we lose, and after another poor showing against CAL–AND YOU CAN BET THAT CAL WON’T WAIT UNTIL THE SECOND HALF TO STACK THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE–Brink’s continued presence in the lineup may reallymake me write off my favorite sports team in the history of ever.

Again, Saturday marks the second season for Alex. We really should see him turn the corner right now.

Hawk told me on Sunday that every single bowl team we’ve seen had a junior or senior quarterback starting. Well, Brink may be a sophomore, but he red-shirted a year and now has a full season’s worth of experience behind center. In other words, he’s a junior now–all the way.

THIS is the week for him to step forward. And if he fails, and the coaches stay the course, then I am off the bandwagon until I can recruit and organize the Brinkhater nation to take over Cougworld.

Go Seahawks.

Notes From the Weekend

October 17, 2005

One more complaint about Brink and then I’m done. He follows his receiver the whole way. Even Thrasher noticed that at the OSU game and its the reason he had 4 picks in that game. Not because Bienemin ran the wrong route.

I have a few other obscure notes from Saturday which I actually wrote down as they hit me:

1) Cougs need to Sh!t or get off the pot on the 2-back offense. Using it occassionally like they have produced nothing. I think it produced negative yards in this weeks game. I’ve been a big fan of the 2-back set but with #1 back there we don’t need it. If we had a mediocre back I wouldn’t mind taking one or our mediocre receivers off the field to run it. Just as long as we consistantly run it.

2) Mercedes is a girls name. And while we’re on that subject you can’t call it a mismatch when that guy runs across the middle and no one is covering him. Trent was lost back there, whenever Lewis ran by him he didn’t know what to do. How about a little help back there though. Maybe the safeties could keep an eye out for that guy. The play I’m remembering, when he caught a pass all alone across the middle, was after he’d already caught a TD pass along with a few other 1st down passes. Easy for me to say I guess.

3) I think I would rather pluck hairs off my sack one by one than listen to Mike Goldberg, D’Marco Farr and Billy Ray Smith talk football.

4) Can Leinart get inducted into the Hall of Fame without actually playing pro ball. I suppose not. Can you imagine how disappointing it would be if (God forbid) he had a career ending injury and never played a down in the show. I can’t wait to see what he can do.


October 16, 2005

That’s right, nothing. I never played organized football past my sophomore year in high school. I’ve never coached football, at any level. I’m not there on a daily basis with this team. I don’t break down film, I don’t help the offense or defense game-plan on a weekly basis. I don’t know these players, except for their last name on the back of their jersey and some sound bites to the media. I have no idea what the players and coaches are really thinking, and except for a random “insider” tidbit here and there, I have NO IDEA what’s going on behind the locker-room doors and in the coaches offices. Repeat – NO IDEA.

That said, I’m not a complete moron. I feel like I understand the game, somewhat, and have a general understanding, after playing a little and watching a lot of football my whole life, to have a basic idea of what is good and what isn’t, of what an offense and defense might try to do on a weekly basis, how a team might try to exploit a known weakness, etc. And, even the most fringe fan can see that there are problems at the most important position on the field.

There must be reasons that Joe Football Fan like me will never know as to why Alex Brink will continue to start. To be ok as a coaching staff with these collapses due to a failure of the QB to execute when the pressure is on, to continually defend this kid when even my wife can watch the second half and say “why is he even playing?”, that says a lot to what is going on. Have they decided to accept his success and failure this year, no matter what, with the idea he’ll lead us to a bowl game in 2006? Do they care about this year, or are they of the mindset that we’re young and playing underclassmen all over the field, and this is their learning experience? Well, LAST YEAR I WAS OK with that approach, but not this year! After our recent success, sure, a 5-6 season is acceptable as long as it happens during a “transition” season, and young players are on the field learning those valuable lessons of how to close out a game.

That said, we are really in a weird position. Suddenly our losses don’t look at that horrible. The second-half collapse vs. the Beavs is bad, but we were up 31-13 on that team, that same Beav team that is now 4-2 after winning at Cal. The Stanford loss looked bad, but now they just went down and won at Arizona, which is never easy to do and Stanford has won 2 road games in the Pac-10 already. That’s saying a LOT. UCLA is a top-10, undefeated team, albeit a little overrated, probably, but losing in OT is no shame. To hear Doba talk, the team is both fired up and pissed off about the loss, and they are keeping their spirits up big-time. That could be huge for the rest of the season.

Don’t many experts say that only through adversity do we grow, as human beings? There is an old belief that some monks actually pray before a long journey that they will actually experience adversity, so they can grow and learn from it! It’s easy to sit back and relax when everything is going your way, but in your life, you have dealt at some point with a serious setback or two. It’s how you learned from that setback and dealt with it is what helps define who you are today. Let’s just cross our fingers that this ISN’T the 2004 team that never learned a thing after collapsing vs. Oregon last year. Let’s hope they will grow from the last three weeks, and will be a stronger, better unit from top to bottom over the finishing kick of the ’05 season!

By the way, the bowl game possibilities just got a lot harder. By viture of a tiebreaker situation that bowl committees will use this year, EVEN if we get to 6-5, a bowl game isn’t a slam-dunk. Losing to two teams already, OSU and Stanford, that will probably be in the lower tier of bowl-eligible teams by the end of the year, REALLY hurts. Think about this:

Bowl-teams (guaranteed)
ASU (they’ll finish strong)


On the outside:

Not only do we have to finish 6-5, but we’re going to have to hope to pass a Stanford or OSU, two teams that will win any tiebreaker scenario possible.

Let’s just turn this thing around and get a W this week?

By the way, Michael, Reardon’s Reddest will be at the Cal game this week. You guys might want to try and meet up???

On the bright side, there WAS some very positive recruiting news from the game. While we didn’t get any official commits, we did get some great feedback. Check it out, via the premium board:

Does not sound like there were any verbals this weekend. Marcus Richmond said his visit rated a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, and that the trip certainly solidified his verbal. Richmond talked in terms of “we” when speaking about Washington State. Said he was surprised at how loud the stadium was, said it was louder at WSU than it was at ASU when he took in a game earlier there this year. He said the food was great, and had a “big ‘ol burger, it was like the size of a frisbee.” He loved the way the offensive line performed. Said Harrison’s performance was “spectacular”, and that he looks forward to trying to fill his shoes at WSU. Habben called the visit “awesome” and said he had a really great time with his host, Kenny Alfred. He needs to have something to compare it to, since this was his first official visit. He said the fan atmosphere was fantastic, and he couldn’t have picked a better weekend to go with regards to that. That was one of the things he talked most about going into the visit. His parents drove over there and he said they had a great time and really liked all the WSU coaches. But expect his recruitment to go on for a while, with the earliest he might make a decision probably sometime in December.


October 16, 2005

Its not how many yards you rush for, its how many times you rush the ball.
-Charlie Weiss, yesterday..

Those words represent my thoughts entirely. When you have a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter, run the ball, run the ball, run the ball. And when you’re tired of running the ball–be it for 1,2, -2, or 3 yards, run the ball some more. So what do we do?–run the ball, throw the ball for a 1 yard gain, throw the ball for a 3 yard loss–with everything to the outside and NOTHING up the middle. Even worse, instead of eating 2 minutes per possession at minimum, we eat all of 41 seconds…

I suppose that the Coaches argument is that running up the middle was impossible with the safety pinching up–which leads me to the question: then what the hell was Brink doing? If you have 15 guys and their mothers at the line of scrimmage, is the best that you can do is -3 yards passing (excluding the last 42 seconds)?

Again, this is the SECOND time that Brink has TOTALLY COLLAPSED in the second half. The THIRD time that he has been absolutely unable to rally the troops to get a game clinching score. How much longer can that be defended?

Either Brink needs to be benched, or the coaching staff needs to be fired (other than Yarno, who has these guys playing better than ever–did you notice no holding or procedure penalties)?. Either its time for some of the coaches to step down, or its time to bench little Alex..

The saddest thing of all, is that we will see #10 run out in the Berkeley night next Saturday. He’ll lead us to a halftime lead, and then we’ll lose again in the second half: the coaches will talk about the need of the D to finish, blah, blah, blah…

Until Josh Swogger plays and flails for a couple of games–I can not stomach watching Alex Brink anymore. And as long as #10 is on the field without seeing an alternative, quite frankly, I don’t care what they do anymore….

Consider me a 3 day a week poster instead of 7..

But, if we can just win next week……………………

Recruits for the weekend – BIG time

October 14, 2005

First, Rooster, you are right. Your reasonings make perfect sense as to why we’ll lose. If I could change picks right now, I would, but I don’t know, something tells me that even if we DO lose, it will be a close one. I’m still going to stand by my gut though, hey, you gotta believe, right?

Let me say this, if we lose by 1 point and we show improvement in all areas, including QB, are you more encouraged by that? Or are you more discouraged by letting another chance slip away and falling to 3-3? I know I’ll be sick if they let another one get away, yet I’ll be encouraged that they stood toe-to-toe with a team some of the national guys are starting to slurp.

HUGE HUGE HUGE recruiting weekend coming up! Just huge.

1) Marcus Richmond, big-time RB from Dobson High in Arizona. He’s the kid who verballed to WSU last spring, but he’s never been to Pullman before….a lot of insiders point that Pflugrad has been on this one since he was a frosh in high school. Anyway, he’s had a GIGANTIC year so far. His last five games, Richmond has rushed for 278, 230, 384, 240 and 215 yards. In seven games this season, he has carried the ball 193 times for 1593 yards, averaging 8.25 ypc and 227.5 ypg. He’s big (6-1, 205), fast, and physical and could be the ideal weapon in the one-back. The bad news is that the big boys are hard-charging at him right now, UW and Oregon specifically, and the Ducks even wanted him to visit this weekend but he said “Hey, sorry, I’m going to Pullman. You know, WSU, the place I verbally committed already!??” Still, it’s going to be a long haul and some nervous moments until signing day with this one, because he’s now saying that even though he’s verballed, he’s going to take more trips. Yikes.

2) Xavier Lucas – tall drink of water at WR (6-4) from Tempe, he’s big-play all the way. He averages over 25 yards a catch (WOW) on a running team. He leads his team in catches, yards, and is only behind the kicker in scoring. Not much else is known about him, but he’s another late bloomer that is starting to really get noticed.

3) Cody Habban – we’ve written about him before, but he’s the big o-lineman from Skyline that the Cougs have been after for some time. He’s got a big list of schools that are coming hard – The Cougs, OSU, Iowa State, ASU and UW are among the most interested, but more offers keep coming from places like Colorado and Utah. He’s been credited with 29 pancakes in 6 games this year, and he’s already big (6-5, 280) and real athletic. He fits that WSU mold of tall, quick lineman really well. The good news on Habban? He’s very interested in the Cougs, and he’s been to Pullman twice already, as well as attending the Grambling game on the sidelines, so he knows what he’s in for.

4) Jeffrey Solomon – Big (6-1, 185), fast, athletic safety/QB hybrid from Ingraham. He was one of the MVP’s at the Cougs summer camp this year at safety. He’s having a good year this year, too, 1001 yards and 10 TD’s passing in 6 games, plus 200 yards rushing and 2 TD’s. He even caught an 84-yard TD. He flies to the ball and loves to hit, though, and is always around the ball. Cougs, Beavs and UW are all working on him.

5) Vincent Joseph – Maybe the biggest “name” recruit of them all this weekend, this kid is a starting CB at Long Beach Poly. He’s been talking a LOT to the Cougs of late, and says he’s very excited to set foot on campus. Cougs, USC, Oregon, Cal and Colorado are his top five, in no particular order. He hasn’t yet received an offer from USC, but everyone else has. UW also just offered a few days ago. He’s not real big, 5-9 1/2, 185, but he’s VERY fast (4.39 40 at the USC camp last year). He had a gigantic season in ’04, notching 27 pass break-ups, 3 fumble recoveries, and (get this) 5 BLOCKED field goals! He also runs track, the 100, 200, 4X100, 4X400 and even long jumps. Also has a 37″ vert, 2.8 GPA but more importantly, a passing SAT of 920 already. He’s got visits to Colorado and Oregon in the next month, so this one has a long way to go.

Obviously, on the field this game is big, but off it, it could be even bigger. Get an emotional win in front of a revved-up crowd, it could be one of those games that pushes a kid over the edge. Then again, we had a lot of games like that in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and I must have missed all the high-school all-americans that verbally committed?? Believe it when Pflugrad says that what actually happens on the field is just a small piece of the puzzle in regards to getting recuits!

I Hope You’re Right Hawk!

October 14, 2005

I’m expecting that even if UCLA’s offensive time on the field is limited, they’ll make the most of it. Unless they totaly change the defensive scheme (5 guys on the line?) Drew is going to work the spot vacated by Will Derting and run wild. Jerome Harrison will keep us in it, UCLA 34 – Cougs 27.

USC 35 ND 21
Ducks 37 Huskies 17
Cal 42 Beavs 24
Trees 27 Cats 24

Why the Cougs can win, plus other picks

October 14, 2005


Ask yourself, are you REALLY afraid of the powder-blue and gold?

Seriously, reasons why the Cougs can win:

1) Jerome Harrison. Nearly 250 yards rushing last year at the Rose Bowl. UCLA has been weak against the run all year long. On paper, it’s by far the biggest mismatch you can hope for in our favor.

2) Improved efficiency from the QB. I have a hunch that they won’t ask the QB (Brink or Swogger) to throw more than 25 times, total, and just take care of the football by running it 45 times, controlling the clock and all the while keeping your young defense off the damn field! Forget Jason Hill, if he can’t play and it sounds pretty bleak, they have to figure it out, get the tight ends more involved, hope that Bumpus and Prater and Jordan will do what they are supposed to and catch the ball, and let’s go. Let’s own them on the ground and in time of possession. Let’s do to them what Stanford did to us. Keeping their talented, experienced offense off the field is the biggest key to this whole thing.

3) Letdown-City – UCLA just won their biggest game in the Dorrell era, by far, beating Cal in a comeback, emotional game. I believe they will sleep walk through the whole first half before they “wake up”. We need to take advantage of what is bound to be a flat, uninspired effort early on. Even better, as mentioned above, take advantage of that edge you have in the running game and just pound the ball the entire first half, keeping that O off the field and out of their rhythm! Remember, these are kids, and UCLA has been getting a ton of positive pub about how they could challenge USC, etc. This game is a serious landmine for them.

4) UCLA hasn’t won at Pullman since 1993, when JJ Stokes went wild vs. an undermanned Cougs defense. UCLA HATES coming to Pullman, even the quotes this week of racial taunts show they hate Pullman. Tight games, blowouts, it doesn’t matter, the Cougs have done a number up here on these guys.

Oh yeah, and UCLA hasn’t even had to leave the state of California for a game this year, and we’re already to mid-October!?! Their only road game was at San Diego State, hardly a tough venue against a weak team. This is up in the great northwest, where it’ll be chilly as the sun sets by halftime, in a place they publicly admit to hating. Heck, they will not be up for the Cougs anyway. For proof of how they perform when they don’t give a damn this year, look back at their game vs. UW. They were dominated on the ground by a below-average rushing team, and needed a 4th-down conversion and a last-minute TD drive to beat them on their home turf! UCLA has historically shown they are famous for fast starts and amazing letdowns to their seasons, only to fade once they hit adversity in the middle of the season. We have lost our last two games and looked bad doing it, so you know they will come in thinking blowout.

5) Finally, backs against the wall, circle the wagons, do or die, win one for the gipper, ABC TV, you name it, this is a BIG, BIG GAME for our Cougs. Certainly the biggest since the 2003 game vs. Oregon in the Doba era. Old Bill said it best, 6 quarters ago we were a pretty damn good team. It’s funny how things can change in a game and a half! Reading Pflu’s comments, it sounds like we have practiced extremely well and you know they are dying to get that bad taste out of their mouth.

Call me crazy, but…….Cougs dominate the ground game, they get up 21-0 or 24-7 early, and survive a furious UCLA comeback and hold on. Cougs, 31-27.

Other picks:

USC 44, @Notre Dame 38 (in OT, no less.)
@Oregon 34, UW 17
@CAL 40, OSU 27
@Arizona 17, Stanford 14