Archive for the ‘Bill Doba’ Category

Tuesday Ramblings – What Could Have Been

August 19, 2008

It’s easy to do, pondering what could have been. We do it all the time, in every walk of life. You often don’t realize the most significant decisions in your life at the time you make them. Like the line in Field Of Dreams, you realize them later on in life. You think “ah, there’ll be other days” but what if that was the only day?

So when you think about Gary Rogers and Alex Brink, it’s easy to think “what if”. What if Rogers would have been given more chances against Auburn in that 2006 opener? We remember that great drive that seemed to lift the entire team. Here’s your obligatory YouTube of that glimpse at the upside of Gary Rogers.

So young back then, a mere sophomore with so much playing time ahead of him. Anyway, Jim Moore asks the question in a very good article today, and it does make you wonder. Jack Thompson didn’t exactly hold back in his assessment of the, uh, situation:

“That could go down as the most mysterious choice ever made,” said Jack Thompson, a WSU quarterbacking great who has mentored Rogers. “God forbid if he’d stayed in and led us to a couple more scores and we had a full-blown quarterback controversy.”

Good point Jack. But not just saying the decision was a mystery. But through the throwin-Samoan’s sarcasm, you get an idea of what he’s saying in the “God forbid” part of the answer. And therein lies the problem.

I remember listening to Doba’s weekly radio show during the 2006 season, and so many times the QB question would arise, one way or another. Is Gary going to play? Why or why not? And much to the chagrin of the old man, he would quickly dismiss the idea, saying “Alex is our QB” and gives us a better chance to win, etc. Fair enough. But he would also go out of his way, several times, to point out that he really hated the idea of a QB controversy. He didn’t want to rock the boat, didn’t want to see the team divided, didn’t want to deal with it.


Why? Why should the QB position be exempt from a younger challenger who shows more upside? What if a wide receiver or an offensive tackle was doing on OK job, but another younger prospect had a much bigger upside and seemed to elevate his play and provide a major spark when he got into games? Why shy away from controversy, in lieu of taking a chance on making the team better at the end of the day?

Who knows why it turned out like it did. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Some tagged Rosey as a “Brink Lover” and point out the whole Brink-Swogger controversy as proof. And the same controversy was probably on Doba’s mind when the whole Rogers question came up. How could he, in his mind, abandon Brink when they chased Swogger off the team to begin with in favor of Brink? Doba’s of the generation where you don’t flip-flop, so to speak. You make a decision and you take it with you, you see it through all the way. Even if those around you can see the faults, you are dug in on your own belief that you are doing the right thing. And you can’t blame Alex for all those yards, TD’s, and of course, losses that kept us out of the post-season. It wasn’t his decision to make. He just did his job, the best that he could, and that was it.

One more element to the story, and then we’ll move on. Remember the Cal game in 2006? It was a warm afternoon in Pullman, and the 10th ranked Berkeley Bears were in control in the first half. We couldn’t do anything right offensively, and it looked like we might get run out of the building. But in the second half, on comes none other than Gary Rogers. Of course, a few series in, he dislocates his left shoulder and he’s done. Brink is put back into the game and we go on to lose 21-3.

But what happened after the game is the most interesting part of the story. When asked why they went with Rogers, Rosey was very coy in his response. It wasn’t the usual “we just were looking for a spark” but there was more to it, more like “we were looking to make a change and give Gary his chance”. In this story from Glenn Kasses in 2006, it’s clear that there was something else going on.

“He wasn’t playing poorly at all. But we had three points,” quarterbacks coach Timm Rosenbach said. “So the bottom line is, we’ve got to get in the end zone.”

Rogers didn’t do much in his two possessions and threw an interception on the second. But, in a dramatic shift from past instances in which Rogers has played briefly this season in a planned midgame switch, this time Rosenbach indicated that Rogers might have had a chance to stay on the field longer.

The sophomore backup had on his helmet on the sidelines after the interception while Brink remained in a baseball cap, usually a sign that Rogers would be going back in.

But, on Rogers’ third-to-last play, he separated his non-throwing shoulder and after warming up with Brink on the sidelines, the two suddenly switched headgear and Brink returned for the rest of the game.

Rosenbach said no decision was made, but talked about the possibility of giving the younger quarterback another chance.

“It never got to that point,” Rosenbach said. “We can be full of speculation and look at it every different way. Maybe we would have let him try to fight his way out of it a little bit.”

In other words, this wasn’t just a one-or-two series deal, ala Auburn. Rogers was most likely going to be given a true shot at this thing. It gets lost in the shuffle now, of course, as Rogers going down with the shoulder injury makes it a moot point. Besides, Brink responded with two of his best performances ever the following two games, dominating Oregon and UCLA that seemingly had us back in a bowl game, and the controversy was avoided. What could have been…

Moving on, we are officially in the “dog days” of practice. Guys are tired, beat up, worn down. The energy and newness of the situation has worn off a little bit, and practicing in 90+ degrees can sap the strength of anyone. This isn’t just a WSU-exclusive type thing. Mike Holmgren talks about it all the time with the Hawks, where tempers start to flare and things get a little chippy about halfway into camp. It’s like being at the 3-mile mark of a 6-mile run. You feel good about the first 3 miles, but you are starting to feel at least a little fatigued. And you know you still have several miles to go before you reach your goal (in this case, the Okie State game roughly two weeks away). But even coach Wulff sounds a little miffed at where things are, with the injuries in particular. Wulff’s quotes came after the second practice on Sunday, and he was probably feeling a little frustrated by seeing so many guys on the sidelines. Sometimes you need to get away from things for a day, and then come back recharged and ready to roll.
Hopefully things look better after the team had Monday off.

That said, one thing we can take from the first few weeks of the official fall practices in the Wulff era? This is a WHOLE NEW DEAL. Gone are the days of “Club Doba”. Heck, with the heat and the injury situation, Dobes might have given the kids a day off from a regularly scheduled practice, or sent the kids to the Snake for some R & R. But not this coach, not this year. These guys are learning now what it takes to get to another level. It’s a whole different approach to the commitment required to try and inch up the ladder. This is big boy football now, not a glorified high school or a JC extension program. Get on board, or they’ll find someone who will take your place.

Finally, recruiting took another step forward by landing a commit from WR Gino Simone of Skyline. Decent size at 6-0, 175, and a Largent-like 4.6 40-time. But the kid makes a ton of plays, soft hands, and gets open. Physical, can break tackles in the secondary and makes people miss. You can’t argue with the numbers either, per Scout.com:

Gino Simone led the Spartans to a perfect 14-0 record and the state 3A championship. He finished the year with 70 receptions for 1,420 yards and 20 touchdowns and was named to the Seattle Times All-Area First Team as a junior in 2007; he benches 225-pounds and squats 345.

Check out the highlights and see for yourself:

Looks good to me. And Simone’s commitment caused a bit of a stir when two other recruits, WR Kirby Moore of Prosser and safety Jamal Atofau of Bellevue visiting for the weekend, were mentioned in a premium story that they were about to commit as well…..however it appears Scout might have jumped the gun on that one. Still no official word that they have cast their lot with Wulff. But Simone is an excellent addition to the class, a top-10 in-state talent and in the top-59 WR’s in the country.

And, uh, not to take anything away from Simone, but checking out the highlights…..look at some of those throws! Not only was Simone open, but some of those balls were just right in the bread basket. QB Jake Heaps was only a sophomore last year but holy cow, what a prospect. Those are some big-time throws. You can understand the hype on that kid. And maybe you can understand why UW hired away his head coach from Skyline, Steve Gervais? Hmm. For what it’s worth, no, Heaps doesn’t have WSU listed in his favorites, listing seven other schools who all, by the way, have offered already. Oh well.

Happy Tuesday, and GO COUGS!

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So That Happened…

June 22, 2008

Well, what can you say? The Times story has broken, and it’s not pretty. Top-fold, front-page Seattle Times story about the struggles of your football program isn’t a good Sunday. Granted we’re at a point in time today that newspapers are in big trouble, and bad news sells papers (if it bleeds, it leads, etc). And I don’t care what anyone says, this story is to help placate some cranky UW’ers when their program was dragged through the mud for the scathing ’00 Rose Bowl champions run afoul of the law.

But I have to admit it…..I thought this would be worse. Yes, like all of you, I’m disappointed by what appears to be a program with kids making far too many mistakes in the Bill Doba era. Yes, Doba himself admits that they really blew it after the Holiday Bowl, getting “too big for our britches” or something along those lines. And Bill Doba looked the other way, ran too loose of a ship, etc. But was much of any of this stuff actually new “news”?

Now, obviously DUI’s are no laughing matter. Drive hammered, get nailed. DUI’s are big mistakes that kill a lot of people every year, and the penalties for such things should be severe, no matter the individual or the circumstances. And I was surprised about Mattingly drilling another kid with a frying pan (WTF?). That was a little weird. Then again, one of his friends had his teeth knocked out. Not to totally defend the action, but Mattingly was doing what a lot of kids that age do, which was to seek retribution for his friend. Stupid? Yes. Does it happen? All the time.

But all that said, was there anything that blew you away? Maybe all the bad news this offseason has made us numb to everything? No cover-ups by Whitman county prosecutors. No grades being changed by crooked administrators or coaches. No murder, rape, or weapons possessions. No plasma TV’s, $50,000 loans, illegal gifts to players, illegal recruiting practices or anything else that happens at a lot of other schools.

That said, the article is, overall, an embarrassment. It’s something that the coaches are going to have to address on the recruiting trail when Mom and Pops ask what was that all about. Wulff has said it since day one, that there is a real culture change needed on a variety of levels. He wasn’t kidding was he??

The thing I didn’t like most of all was what Courtney Williams had to say:

“WSU is a hard school to go to, man,” Williams says. “You ain’t got nothin’ to do but get drunk and smoke weed, and not go to class because you’re too tired from doing what you’re doing.”

Ouch.

And Leon Burtnett basically laid it out that we are the little brother in-state, never once in his time at WSU getting a player over UW. We have the built-in disadvantages, we have the small market, small stadium, blah blah blah. But again, nothing that we haven’t heard before, right?

But yet, you have to consider the individual as well. Aren’t people, even young men, at least accountable for their actions? Do angels come to WSU and suddenly transform into drunken, weed-smoking thugs looking to fight? Of course not. Is there something to the idea that there can be some slow times in Pullman, especially if you are from an inner-city situation and used to the bright lights? Absolutely. As the old saying goes, “idle hands do the devil’s work”. In other words, boys with little supervision and extra time on their hands can be a less-than-ideal situation! But the individual needs to figure that out and do the right thing, and the majority of them have figured out how to do just that.

But on that theme, Hooty weighed in on what was coming, and it is a perspective of reality:

‘Thankfully Andy Roof “only” broke that guy’s face. We can still fall back on the “at least our football players haven’t killed anyone” argument.

Rubbing alcohol mixed into contact solution? Is that really much worse than peeing in someone’s half-filled pitcher under the table at the Coug? We’re probably ALL guilty of that, right? Are you with me? Guys? Jen?

Fights on Greek Row are certainly no cause for alarm. I’d probably worry if there WEREN’T a scrape or two every now and then. I myself was once sucker-punched by Calvin Griggs. It’s part of life on a college campus.

Here’s the thing…

Every position in football (with a couple obvious exceptions) REQUIRES that in addition to physical skill, players have the ability to turn to a source of rage to get them through the battles of the game. Chris Spielman used to line up and look across the line, imagining the guys on the other side raping his wife and hurting his family. He said at times he’d have tears in his eyes when the ball was snapped. Is that healthy? No, but it’s what allowed him to play with rage.

One could make the argument without making too much of a stretch, that it’s unreasonable to expect an individual to completely harness that rage and limit it to the football field. It’s not a far cry from training a soldier to kill; send him off to war to do what he was trained to do; and then have him come home and immediately blend right back into life as we know it. It doesn’t make sense.

Before anyone throws a college-aged football player under the bus and passes judgment on him, they should first try and understand what it takes to actually play the game of football at this level; and then think back to when they were in college and all the stupid shit they did and got away with, because they weren’t subject to the scrutiny of the media.

What did the Times accomplish with their series on UW? Nothing. Water under the bridge as far as I’m concerned. It all happened at a different time, under different leadership. As far as the program was concerned, they had moved on. The only thing shocking about that story was the preferrential treatment some of those guys received from the judicial system. THAT’S your real story.

Just like UW, we too have moved on, so take your best shot while you have the chance. “

Finally, it’s not all bad. It only seems that way from the article. It was very lightly touched on, but for example, the team currently has a GPA of 2.72, highest in 30 years. Alex Brink was a model student and claims that the support systems are in place, but in the end the individual needs to be accountable for their own actions. They already cut ties to a kid that was looking like a potential problem in Calvin Schmidtke. And coach Wulff has already created a new approach, implementing something called the “Unity Council”, consisting of 16 players that will sit in judgment against players who make mistakes. They will recommend punishment from missing classes and meetings to more serious criminal charges.

More than anything else, Wulff has a personal stake in all this. Not only is he the head coach at a place he’s always wanted to be, but as a former player and student, this is HIS school, HIS team. I think Jim Sterk said it best in his e-mail:

“Although the attitude and behavior of our football student-athletes is not in a crisis situation, there is room for improvement,” WSU athletic director Jim Sterk said in an e-mail last week to boosters to brace them for today’s story. “While there are no quick fixes, the program is heading in the right direction.”

We should certainly acknowledge the mistakes, and not downplay them. They happened. But the focus should be on what happens today and tomorrow. At least now the stuff is out in the open and the coaches and administrators can talk about the things that are going right. But this is hardly a program that is out of control. And for that matter, don’t fully dwell on what went wrong yesterday. Today is all you can control anyway.

Program Reboot Might Take a While….

April 29, 2008

We’ve been saying it since the day Wulff was hired and the initial articles appeared. Wulff went out of his way on more than one occasion to mention the current culture of the team, and how he believes some things need to change. Now that he’s had a full spring practice session under his belt, spent time with the players on and off the field, what does he see? In a quote-heavy article with the Evergreen, Wulff opened up on where we are, and where we’d like to be.

When asked about the off-the-field issues of late, Wulff was candid:

“There’s improvement, but we’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We still have players that don’t fully understand the responsibility you have of being a college student-athlete, and that it’s different than being a college student. They need to be held to a higher standard – whether they like it or not they’re going to be – so they might as well accept it. There’s a lot of success so far, we’re just not where our culture’s gonna be yet. We’re working on that.”

Culture is a hard thing to peg. It’s not as easy as just being introduced at a press conference with a WSU hat on and the WSU banner and glowing quotes from all parts of the state. It’s much, much more than that. It’s the changes in the way things have been done, from the smallest detail to the actual football game itself, that Wulff and company are trying to correct.

I don’t want to throw Doba under the bus here. He did a great service to the school when Mike Price cashed his lottery ticket. He won 10 games his first year, including the Holiday Bowl which rates as one of the biggest wins in school history on his way to co-Pac-10 coach of the year honors. He got his kids ready to go in three out of four Apple Cups, something we will always be thankful for. He suffered a terrible tragedy with his wife that no man should have to go through, no matter the stage in his life or the situation. He was a class act at every step of the way.


But given the poor academics that are starting to show with the loss of scholarships, and the constant things we hear about the general surprise Wulff has felt in regards to the changes that need to be made in regards to depth and culture, well, it’s time to say it – Doba was over his head. It’s sad, it’s unfortunate, it’s generally too bad, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

We’ve heard the rumors just like you, about what things were like towards the end of Doba’s reign. The lack of organization, attention to detail, the attrition, the failure on the recruiting front on so many levels. Then you have the fake punts, the Brink/Swogger QB mess, etc. We don’t need to fully rehash everything. But maybe the biggest problem with Doba was the lack of the CEO mentality, because, well, it’s not in his DNA. You can’t become something you aren’t after doing something a certain way your entire life. The old dog-new trick isn’t just some stupid saying that has been around forever without having some substance to it. Doba was an NCAA assistant from 1977 through the 2002 season. To expect him to suddenly become this great head coach after carrying someone else’s clubs for over 25 years was just too much.

What the program needed was a no-doubter. You know, the guy who has someone carry his bags all the time? The guy who sits in the front seat, and the rest pile into the back of the van? When there is absolutely NO DOUBT who is in charge? The guy who has an ego, who has wanted to be in charge? Look around at the other successful programs in the conference right now, you’ll know what I mean. Dennis Erickson is a coaching nomad who is always looking for the next best thing. He’s got a reputation of things being fast and loose and his players reflect that. But when he walks into the room, he’s in charge. Period. There’s no uncertainty about who the head coach is and what the goals are. He’s a prick when he needs to be, a guy who can make big decisions without having each assistant chime in.

Look at Pete Carroll. He’s nicknamed High School Harry for a reason. They have a great time down there, but he’s also got the ability to reel everyone in when it’s time to get some work done. How that guy keeps all that 5-star talent focused in Hollywood every week is just remarkable. There was an amazing stat about Lawrence Jackson, the new Seahawk draftee who was a 4-year starter at USC. He won 46 games in his 4 seasons. 46 WINS!?!? I didn’t even know they played 46 GAMES in 4 years, let alone bag 46 victories. And to win that many in one of the best conferences around?? Amazing. We pat ourselves on the back for having three straight 10 win seasons from 01-03, but that is merely a flea on the shoulder to the mighty Trojans. And down in LA, there is, again, zero doubt who is in charge.

You can say the same thing about Mike Bellotti at Oregon, or Mike Riley at Oregon State. Think there is any doubt that Jeff Tedford is in charge at Cal? Neu-weasel might generally be a phony, dishonest, full-of-it clown, but things are very clear down in the land of powder blue as to who’s the captain of that ship.

So, the bottom line to this rant? The article opens some eyes to one big thing. This blanket term of “culture” is thrown around a lot, but changing culture is more than just placing someone as the head coach or painting the walls a different color. It’s so much more than that. And I am thrilled to hear these things already from Paul Wulff. He hasn’t even been in charge for 6 months and there is already a strong emphasis on changing the way things are done at WSU. No beating around the bush or hiding from the truth. And to that, there is NO DOUBT who is in charge! We have a head coach who knows the drill, and it’s in his DNA to be a head coach. But with that, we have to give it some time, have some patience. Understand that this isn’t going to simply turn over in the blink of an eye, but it will happen.

Happy Tuesday!

Doba Denies Resignation Rumor; 2003 Video (Including Holiday Bowl)

November 21, 2007

Not a shocker by any stretch, but, Doba has denied the resignation rumor to the Times today:

“I don’t plan to resign” Doba, 67, said Tuesday.

Even if he’s already cleaned out his office and has the motor home idling in the driveway, what is he going to say 3 days before the game? Yep, I can’t wait to blow out of this one-horse town and get back to Indy with some serious coin in the bank and 19 grandchildren waiting for me with open arms?? But seriously…..Doba’s just not the type and we’ve been saying it since midseason – it’s not in his DNA to simply quit at anything. But once again, Sterk says that his job will be evaluated at the end of the season, with no further comment.

Other points of interest on Hump-day:

  • The Times also has a story about that pesky Internet and how the different schools do – or do not – read this garbage. The thing is, the message boards or comments, it’s “safe haven” so to speak, where fans can unload with some sense of maintaining their anonymity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it’s better that someone unleash their frustration online vs. kicking the dog, punching the walls, or much, much worse.
  • Tony Harris is dead, and we may not ever really get the cause. Some claim suicide, some have no idea. What is known is that he basically disappeared for a few weeks and witnesses claim he was asking for food or money on the street. What a sad story. Sad for him, but especially his wife with their first baby due next month. Damn.
  • Howie has a good notebook in the P-I. Specifically the margin of loss for us this year is staggering. 24 points, and that INCLUDES a pair of 3-point losses? My God that is really bad. I don’t know who said it, maybe it was Jim Walden on a post-game radio segment, but someone said that a sign of a poorly coached team is complete inconsistency from week to week. That’s a pretty hard thing to define, because often in college football the talent is wildly different from program to program, and when a thin team like our Cougs are also inexperienced in a lot of positions, the results can be pretty frightening!

Finally, to help ease the sting of the Oregon State mess on Saturday, here’s some video goodness. This is from the 2003 season, a game in which we came back from a big deficit to win 36-30. That was the game that Scott Lunde kept catching slants over the middle, remember?

That 2003 team, easily one my all-time favorite teams to watch. Boy, that defense, man oh man could they play. The swagger, the speed on the edges with Acholonu and Brown, the power up the middle with Williams and Tupai, the linebackers fly around, the DB’s were fast and aggressive and many of them are in the NFL right now (Coleman, David, Paymah and Frampton), etc, etc, etc! But pay special attention to when the Beavers have the ball and not only listen to the crowd noise, which is great, but just watch the aggressive d. Those were the days. Check it out:

The next one is the final minute, plus some post-game, of the 2003 Holiday Bowl. The video is from the broadcast, but the audio is none other than the Jim-n-Bob show! Enjoy:

Not Feeling it? You will.

November 21, 2007

I know some of you aren’t really “feeling it” this year. It is, after all, as many are saying, a pillow fight between two 4-win teams. But you know what? By the time Saturday gets here, you WILL feel it. Just like you do every year when these two get it on.
Here’s the end of the 2005 AC in Seattle that I just ripped from a DVD and uploaded. That win capped a 4-7 season, but so what! They wanted it in a huge way. I’ve got more video to upload and I will do so in the next few days.
Especially pay attention at the 2:50 mark, as Willingham “big-times” Harrison, who crushed the Husky D for 206 yards that day, at the end of the game by barely raising his hand to shake it. Then he brushes by Trandon Harvey, the guy who took the bubble screen 40 yards to the house for the game-winner, as if he was invisible. I had forgotten how ugly that game ended and how it could have really turned into a bad scene, but luckily cooler heads prevailed:

Yes, Recruiting DOES Matter

October 10, 2007

We at the WSU Football Blog staff are first and foremost die-hard Coug fans. You know this when you read this stuff. So the following comes at you with the idea that this isn’t to rip on WSU, but to simply help further explain an angle as to why we are where WE are right now.
It’s a normal human reaction to play the blame-game. It happens in every sport, at every level. Joe Torre is likely out of his job this week after the Yanks came up short, again. Is it his fault that his starting pitching was so poor? Is it his fault Roger Clemens got $28 million pro-rated in one of the biggest wastes of money of all-time? Probably not, but Joe will get the axe. I’m not comparing the Cougars to the Yankees, but I am using it as an example that people want to blame someone for failure to succeed. And, obviously Alex Brink and Bill Doba get the brunt of the blame for where we are.
The thing I’ve been harping on, and something that some of you have downplayed, is recruiting. The hype and the 4-and-5 stars are overrated, you said. The Cougars are better off getting the lower-rated guys and developing them, and that there are a lot of highly-rated players that never pan out. But ask anyone that involved with this sport, at any level, and they will tell you flat-out that recruiting is THE LIFEBLOOD of a program. It’s a fun experience to win with a bunch of scrappy kids that the other big programs passed on for whatever reason, but it’s becoming painfully obvious that it’s harder than ever to actually pull it off with lesser talent. Things have changed drastically since our big run in 01-03, and diamonds in the rough are harder than ever to find. Not only do you need a lot of luck, but you also need a coaching staff that can coach ’em up better than the average bear. Beano Cook always said that Mike Price had to be one of the best coaches in the nation, period, because he always did more with less, and we always tout Price for finding guys that others overlooked, such as Rien Long, Jason Gesser, etc. You know the list.
Anyway, we said a few weeks ago to go back in time, and look at the recruiting classes under the Doba era. Go look at the first few years, especially 2004 and 2005, and then look at where we are today. I’m sure none of you actually did it. But Bud Withers did, and wrote an excellent article about how we got into this position. Among the highlights:
  1. 2003 – 16 signees, including Brink and Jason Hill. But only 7 are even in the program anymore.
  2. 2004 – Collins, Harrison, Bumpus and Brackenridge. But out of 28, only 13 are still in the program(!). That 2004 class is this year’s true senior class.
  3. 2005 – 21 signees, but only 10 are left. This is the biggest failure of any of them. Just 10 players left from a class signed two-plus years ago? BRUTAL.

Withers also points out the dreadful special teams – zero touchbacks this year, while the rest of the Pac-10 has 34. I was touting Drew Dunning’s excellence for bailing us out, time and again, and a huge part of our successful run (does anyone shudder at the thought of trotting Romeen out there, trying to make field goals against USC in that amazing 2002 game?? How frustrating would that have been??). Did you know that WSU kickers are 34 for 60 since Dunning graduated!?!? DOH.

This is the most powerful statement yet: “So of the 65 players added from 2003-05, only 30 remain. Of those who left, 12 were JC recruits who yielded mixed results, leaving 23 who simply washed out of the program.”

We’re a program that’s traditionally thin anyway, even under Price. But to have less than 50% of the players you signed from 2003-2005 that are still even on the roster?? Is there any doubt now as to why we are where we are!??

We are exhibit A of why recruiting makes you – or breaks you. I challenge anyone to argue against this point. Before you want to throw Brink under the bus, yet again, for “just not being clutch” or whatever else you can come up with, you must consider that less than half the players signed from 2003-2005 are even in the program.

Football Friday WEEK 6: Doba’s Last Stand

October 5, 2007

Greetings Cougah Nation. Welcome to the half-way point in what looks like a lost season.

BUT HAVE HOPE!

For one, the basketball team starts practice next week!

For two, while this represents the hugest of huge games for us, this game represents one of the biggest let down games in the history of ever for the Sun Devils. Why?

For starters, the ASU offense must be suffering from an acute case of the laugh-drools after watching film of us this week. They will be laughing because our D has made Stanford’s D look like USC. And of course, they will be drooling because visions of 70 points will be alive in their heads.

On the other side of the ball, while the Devil staff is probably trying to talk us up, the bottom line is that our offense has averaged a paltry 17.5 points a game in conference play. Moreover, this same Sun Devil D dismantled us last year in Tempe..Simply put, they CAN NOT be taking us seriously. For that reason, there really should be room for hope that if we can get out of the gates quickly, we can really make this a horror show for Erickson’s crew.

So, in order to win, we must score on our first drive (like we always do) and score on our second drive (which we almost do). The key, of course, is getting lucky and getting a couple stops early in the game. IF this team can jump out to a 21-7 or 14-0 lead, I think we have enough to win a shootout. BUT, if we don’t get a stop early, we’ll NEVER get one late. So, 1st Quarter D is going to be key for us.

Will we do it? Brinkhater thinks that it is possible.

But, what is THE MOST important aspect of this game is the development of this offense. Simply put, lose tomorrow and the pipe-dream of a 7 win season is done. That said, we can still DREAM of a 6 win campain IF the offense can start scoring some points!

Thus, a 42-38 loss tomorrow would not be the end of the world for us, because it would show that we do, in fact, have a chance at outscoring UCLA, Oregon State, Stanford, and UW as we close out the season. In Brinkhater’s view, that type of a loss would take significant heat off of Bill Doba and this football team as a whole. Lose big tomorrow, with only a handful of points scored, and you’ll have a boo and gloom fest not seen in a long, long time.

ASU 45 WSU 24 –Brink WILL become the all-time passing leader in this game; the table will be set for Doba to resign…

AZ 34-17: Battle of Brinkhater darkhorses. AZ may be coming out of the early season hole, Beavs seem to be just starting their digging.

USC 56 Stanford 0: Welcome to the Pac-10, nephew of Jack Thompson. This one is going to be REAL ugly.

UCLA 41 ND 10: Charlie Weiss is feeling the heat. The question is: Is he too fat to get out of the Sauna?

Enjoy the games.

Will You Boo When Brink Breaks the Record?

October 2, 2007

Ready or not, Alex Brink is going to break Jason Gesser’s passing record, and there’s a real chance he’ll do it this weekend. He’s now a mere 276 yards away from Gesser. Talk about a surreal scene if, say, sometime in the 4th quarter when we’re down 42-16, an announcement comes over the PA that Alex Brink has now passed the Cougar legend. What do you think the crowd will do when that happens?

Personally, to save the embarrassment for Brink, I hope he doesn’t break it this weekend. I hope he does it the following week at Oregon, and it’s merely a footnote from the game story. For reasons that would take weeks to explain, Brink has been the whipping boy for the program, period. He’s been ripped to shreds since he became the starter over Swogger, and while it occasionally faded, it always comes back into the debate after yet another disappointing loss.

Here’s a kid that was recruited by Boise State and Eastern WA, and was ignored in his own backyard in Oregon and all other Pac-10 schools for that matter. He’s not a tools guy, never has been and never will be, but he’s tough, efficient and smart. But even as he’s set to break all the school records, he’s just not “big-time” enough. I think it’s as simple as that. And to be a winner in the Pac-10, eventually the rubber hits the road and the elite talent separates from the mediocre. While Brink’s tools have been closer to Jason Gesser than Leaf, Bledsoe or even Rosie, let’s be honest – our homecoming fans are fed-up, tired of losing and downright pissed at the current state of affairs of the football team. And yeah, what fans that actually go to the game this weekend will be pretty drunk on Saturday, as is typical for a homecoming crowd (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). What do YOU THINK they’ll do when that record falls?? It could be a very, very embarrassing moment for our program when about 3/4th’s of the crowd rains down boos when that record falls. Of course, they’ll probably just spin it and say they weren’t booing, they were chanting “Brink, Brink, Brink”. Well, ok, not Brink, maybe “Frank Madu, Frank Madu, Frank Madu…..”

Brink isn’t such a bad guy. I know I wrote earlier this year something about why he’s never endeared himself to our hearts, and that something was just missing. Whether it’s his personality, or the blandness of his quotes or the lack of the signature win, something has been missing. But the Arizona Star ran a story last week about Brink that’s interesting. Actually I always find it a good read when a reporter from another school provides an outside-looking-in story about a player like Brink, someone we think we know so well. You don’t always hear about the GPA, or the senior thesis on racism, or so much charity work that the school can’t even keep track of it all. Stuff like that helps you see the forest as well as the trees, and sometimes an outside perspective is important in the grand scheme.

Meanwhile, Doba and Sterk are quoted today as saying 1) yes, Doba’s on thin ice, and 2) No WAY will Doba quit. I’m just glad that Sterk came out and said publically that yes, we are concerned, and he’ll be evaluated after the season (translation – a 2 or 3-win season and he’s out of here). And how can anyone be surprised that Doba would say no way would he quit? What’s he going to say at this point? Yes, I’m sick of this too and I want to quit?? Not only not is it in his DNA to quit when the going gets tough, but if he said something to the effect that he is going to quit now, the lid is sealed on a 2-win season. Let’s face it, the damage is already done, he’s lost this team and they are likely going to lose out, but for him to actually admit he’s thinking about stepping aside would make this train wreck of a season even harder on the eyes.