Archive for the ‘Bill Self’ Category

Wulff Lands Cal RB Montgomery; Bennett Talks to LSU After All?

April 8, 2008

Nice job coach Wulff. Heralded stud RB James Montgomery was in Pullman over the weekend on a transfer/recruiting visit, and early word was that things went really well. Guess what? It went so well he’s now headed to the Palouse! Montgomery’s high school coach gave the word to the Sac Bee last night, and now the P-I, Cougfan and Vince at have it as well.

No mention of the Pac-10 rule that used to penalize an extra year if a player went Pac-10 to Pac-10, but, Cougfan’s story stated that he will probably sit out this year, then have two years to play two, ready for action in the 2009 season.

Maybe the most impressive thing is that Montgomery chose WSU over Florida and South Carolina. You mean to tell me an all-everything RB took a look at SEC power Florida and also Steve Superior in South Carolina and decided to cast his lot with Wulff?? WOW. You never want to over-react to something like this, but it’s hard not to be excited. This is a top-shelf talent, a Parade All-American. And despite what it might look like on the surface, he doesn’t have a lot of baggage. Sometimes with transfers you just sort of roll your eyes and say “we’ll see” and then when the transfer is a 4-or-5 star talent showing up in Pullman, you wonder what gives. But Montgomery is legit and the fit just wasn’t there in Berkeley. He admits now that he originally went to Cal to be close to his ailing mother, but now she’s healthy and they believed a change was the best for everyone. By the way, hat tip to our own Brinkhater who had this story a few weeks ago from his “Cal insider” who said from day 1 that he was a huge lean to WSU.

There is no way around it, getting him is just a huge statement. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – I can’t wait to see what Wulff can do with some time to build this program in his own image. There are going to be growing pains, but given the depths that we were headed, Wulff deserves all the time he needs to turn this thing into something that gets you bouncing off the walls every Saturday!

Speaking of coach Wulff, he sat down with Jim Moore of the P-I and basically stoked the UW rivalry flames a bit. Yes, he doesn’t like UW. No, he’s not backing off those remarks he made the day he took the job. And, YES, he has passion about it. As Rooster and I commented the night of the football dinner, these guys, from Wulff on down, “get it” as far as the rivalry goes. This staff is going to have that team tearing the locker room apart before the Apple Cup. Yes, it will be handled with class, but YES, the rivalry is going to turn up a few notches. You also have to like what Wulff has to say about how in-state recruiting is going. Of course he can’t get overly specific at this point, and it’s still just April. But there is no doubt, this is a new era!

Wulff was also on KJR with Mitch yesterday. A good interview and you can check it out here. Not one of Mitch’s best interviews, but I liked what I heard from Wulff. If you’ve listened to him speak much since he’s been hired, he really sounds more and more comfortable every time I hear him. I think deep down he might have been a little overwhelmed with the situation itself, I mean here he is as the head coach of his alma mater, but lately he just sounds a lot more ready to handle the extra media that comes with this job.

This seemed to be way under the radar, but the Times today says Tony DID talk to LSU. The article speculates that LSU’s primary target is Clemson coach Oliver Purnell. Interesting part of that story is that they also talked to Trent Johnson of Stanford. And before you get too worried, also realize the story states that they talked “to several coaches” over the weekend. So it’s not like they flew him in, wined and dined him and whispered sweet nothings into his ear like he is their #1 guy. Hey, Tony, how about doing your season wrap-up press conference? How about proclaiming to Cougar Nation that you are happy in Pullman and looking forward to the future? We’ve heard you are happy and staying in Pullman from everyone, to your AD to your President to several media outlets…..except you.

Quite a game last night, eh? Memphis is going to lament that game for the rest of their lives. 9-point lead with 2:12 to go, and then they brick free throws, get a little sloppy with the ball, and Chalmers hits a miracle 3. Here’s the question of the day – do YOU foul Chalmers before he gets that shot off to tie the game? There were 4 seconds left in the game when he was starting to take that shot. If you foul him with 5 seconds left, he’s forced to go to the line without a chance to tie the game. Even if he makes both, you have just a few ticks of the clock left and you are still getting the ball back up 1. It reminded me a lot of UW’s loss to U-Conn in ’06, when they were up 3 but chose not to foul Denham Brown, who cooly drained a 3 at the buzzer to force OT. Not that I wept for them that night (I didn’t), but once again we see the same scenario play out. The team chooses not to foul, and the player nails the shot. Memphis was dead after that, losing Dorsey to fouls late in regulation, but the momentum was officially gone at that point. Great job by Kansas, but make no mistake, Memphis kicked this one.

I was a little concerned hearing about Bill Self’s Okie State ready to throw the moon at him. Why would that worry WSU nation? Because that means if he bolts, Kansas opens up. It’s major connect-the-dots stuff, but would Kansas call Tony Bennett? Brinkhater thinks absolutely not, and Kansas would look to the major rock-star coaching tree, guys who have been to Final Four’s, guys who have won their conferences, guys who have been winning for several years. I wasn’t so sure, but after thinking about it a little more, I have to agree with him. Tony wouldn’t be to Kansas what he was to Indiana. IU is living off Bobby Knight at this point, and they are in a major mess right now with NCAA sanctions. While it’s still a great job, it isn’t Kansas.

That said, I heard Dickie V say today that it’s highly unlikely Self will leave. He has the most leverage you could possibly dream of right now, and he’ll get everything he wants at Kansas. So it’s probably much ado about nothing.