Archive for the ‘Oklahoma State’ Category

Wednesday Ramblings

August 27, 2008

When is it NOT good to lose 300 pounds? Well, yesterday for one, as the d-line has shed some weight in the form of Andy Roof. Coach Wulff wasn’t thrilled with the decision, and per Vince at SR.com, one can understand why.

“From where he was a year ago, he has changed his life around 180 degrees,” Wulff said in the statement, “and as a coaching staff we have seen the positive impact he made on this program.”

When asked to elaborate, Wulff didn’t hesitate.

“For any … person on our team, we’re always looking for people to better themselves,” Wulff said during the conference. “To continue to make smarter and more wiser decisions. When people are doing that, and are clearly showing those signs, we want to continue to reward those people in our program.

“That’s what we’re here to do. They’re going to make mistakes, we’re here to help them along the way.”

There are some decent arguments on both sides of the fence on this one. Do you abandon a troubled kid who has suddenly turned things around? Wulff is right, kids are going to make mistakes and they want to have the support system in place. But he’s also right, in that good behavior needs to be rewarded, but bad behavior? Not so much.

The timing, for one, stinks. As “Kaddy” pointed out in comments yesterday, we’re less than a week from school starting. Roof was on campus, not only practicing with the team but also enrolled in school and had an apartment. Now that Roof has been expelled, well, who buys out his lease? Should the student conduct board pass the hat to buy it out?

Then again, as “Michelle” pointed out, let’s get real. It’s not like this was a one-time offense. Roof was on his fourth strike, and normally it’s a three-and-you-are-out system. He has to be held to the same standards as the other students on campus, and if he’s given a free pass, well, isn’t he just being enabled? Behavior like his cannot simply go unpunished. Regardless of how well he had been doing in the most recent of times, he had his chances, and the entire body of work is taken into account.

It’s a shame though, any way you slice it. And we certainly don’t know all the details of the latest offense, as there is a lot of talk out there as to what happened. But in the end, everyone loses – Roof, the coaches, the fans. The trickle-down to what it could mean to the defense is a big concern. On the surface, one might shrug at the thought of a backup tackle leaving the program. But this team? Where the tackles were thin to begin with? The young, thin defensive interior just got younger and thinner. And in this case, young and thin isn’t what you want on the inside….

Moving on, lost in the shuffle was Dan Rowlands stepping away from football while he still can. Bum shoulders have ruined his last season of football, so the o-line will continue it’s shuffle. Micah Hannam will now slide outside to replace Rowlands, and young sophomore guard Brian Danaher gets his chance. Danaher, well, we don’t know a whole lot. He did play in one game as a backup last year. I guess we’ll all find out on Saturday.

Next, is time running out for Mkristo Bruce and Michael Bumpus? Mkristo got off to a hot start for the Jacksonville Jags, recording 2.5 sacks in the first pre-season game. But then he had a couple of tackles the second week, and now after the third game, he didn’t record a single tackle. Meanwhile, the only first-round holdout still left in the NFL, Jacksonville DE Derrick Harvey, finally agreed to a contract last night after missing the first 33 days of camp. Hopefully old MKB can stick with the team, but, well, you can more or less read the writing on the wall.

Bumpus was making waves early on in Seahawks camp, routinely singled out by WR coach Keith Gilbertson and even the big show himself, Mike Holmgren. But after three catches in week one, then two catches in week two, Bump didn’t get a ball on Monday night in San Diego. Now Seattle did make a few roster cuts last night, including WR Joel Filani, so it still isn’t over for Michael. But Bump didn’t get much PT on Monday, and with just one game left on Friday night, this is it. Bump has been a long shot, at best, to make the final 53, but let’s hope he made enough of an impression to be on the practice squad. That’s not exactly the end of the world, and hey, Jordan Kent from Oregon was on the practice squad last year, and now clearly will not only make the club this year, but could even start in the 3-WR sets. Hang in there Bump!

Have you seen the new Martin Stadium sign?

It’s, well, it’s “alright” from the pics at the official site, which you can see here. A little different than I think we thought it was going to be, at least from the artist renditions.


It’s not the super-terrific Taj Mahal grand entrance that folks were dreaming of, but it is certainly better than what we used to have, which was, uh, nothing. Remember??

Yeesh.

Finally, we thought it would be a good idea to see what the Okie State blogs had to say about grand old WSU. I couldn’t find a whole lot, but there is some stuff floating around.

That’s about it for a busy Wednesday. Look for our first official “Football Friday…Only on Thursday” tomorrow. Enjoy your day, and as always, GO COUGS!

Mother’s Day Fishwrap – Okie State Spring Edition

May 11, 2008

As the opener is a mere 110 days away(!), what better time than to start looking ahead? Today we’ll examine our first opponent, Oklahoma State, in their post-spring state, to get an idea of what we’re in for August 30th.

Last year – The ‘Boys finished 7-6, culminating with a big 49-33 win over Indiana in the Insight Bowl. QB Zac Robinson capped his breakthrough season with 5 TD’s as the Okies rolled up over 500 yards of total offense in the blowout win.

Offensive Scheme – They are a very balanced team, with the ability to spread you out in the shotgun or run right at you via the I-formation. They throw a lot of different looks at you. How balanced are they? They were the only team in the nation to average at least 240 yards passing AND 240 yards rushing per game. Now that is BALANCE. However, the OC from last year, Larry Fedora, has moved on. He took the head coaching job at Southern Miss. They go forward with CO-offensive coordinators this year in an attempt to keep things as they are.

Defensive Scheme – The bad news, and one of the main reasons they only went 7-6 last year, was the defense. They finished ranked 101st in the nation in total D, including 103rd in pass efficiency defense. Part of it can be blamed on the adjustment to first-time d-coordinator Tim Beckman, who came from Ohio State as their secondary coach. But it was a long, tough season trying to stop Big 12 offenses.

Top Returning Offensive Starter in ’08 – It all starts with QB Zac Robinson (pictured). The junior-to-be absolutely exploded last year in his first go of it as a starter. Robinson threw for over 2800 yards, with 23 TD’s and only 9 INT’s as a true sophomore. But he gets it done on the ground, too, as he ran for 847 yards and 9 TD’s! All as a sophomore? He took over the job after the first game in place of Bobby Reid (he’s the kid who was the subject of the “I’m a MAN!” rant), and was only sacked five times, completing over 60% of his passes with a QB efficiency rating of 148.98. They brag about Jake Locker around these parts, but this guy was simply amazing. Excellent size at 6-3, 210, and obviously athletic, he has to be right there as one of the top dual-threat QB’s in the nation coming back in ’08. Don’t believe me? Check out the speed and moves:

YIKES.

Top Returning Defensive Starter in ’08MLB Patrick Lavine is a monster tackler in the middle. The 6-3, 225-pounder had a big sophomore year, racking up 81 tackles, just 1 tackle from being #1 on the team. He also defends the pass pretty well, with 6 pass-breakups, good for third on the team and tops among linebackers. Lavine was huge as a frosh, too, starting the last 9 games in ’06 and was #2 on the team in tackles with 70. Lavine is going to be on a lot of pre-season All-Conference and All-American lists this year, no doubt about it.

Other Top Player To Watch: Center Andrew Lewis – Remington Award watch list guy, Lewis was a large key to their success last year. He slid over from guard to center for the last 10 games on ’07, and developed into a force. The Cowboys were #7 in total offense, #8 in rushing and allowed only 11 sacks in 13 games last year. Lewis got a lot of the credit for bringing the o-line together as the leader up front.

Bottom Line: These guys were a machine in ’07 when they had the football, but did lose a lot of offensive firepower from last year’s team, including leading receiver WR Adarius Bowman and leading rusher RB Dantrell Savage. But Robinson is a star, and there is a lot of talent back. JC All-Everything RB Beau Johnson sounds like the real deal, and from all reports had a decent spring. He should emerge as the starter at RB in the quest to replace Savage. WR Dez Bryant was an emerging talent down the stretch last year, as the 6-1, 200lb frosh lit up Kansas for 8 balls and 155 yards, and Indiana in the Insight Bowl with a season-best 9 catches for 117 and two scores. With Robinson in charge, they should still be able to score with anyone this year. This is going to be a major challenge to slow these guys down in our first game this year. Defensively they have a leader in the middle in Lavine, but there are holes up front and in the secondary. They should improve with another year under Beckman, but after last year there is nowhere to go but up!

In a quick analysis, you have to wonder how will they handle the new WSU offense led by Gary Rogers, Brandon Gibson, a veteran O-line and good depth at RB? This isn’t the time for predictions and we still have an entire fall camp to go through before we even see accurate depth charts, but it’s clear that these two teams could put up a lot of yards and points on 8/30!

Happy Mom’s Day to y’all (Hi Mom!)!

If You Can’t Win, Fight

May 9, 2008

When you score 1 run in your last 32 innings(!), you are bound to be frustrated. So what the hell? Throw at guys and see if you can start something. But did you see the pitch to Sexson that started the brawl? It wasn’t exactly a head-hunter pitch.

Yes it was high and inside, but that was only after Felix plunked a couple of their guys. That was 100% pure frustration boiling over on a team that is completely losing it’s mind right now. You can bet the fire sale will start next month at the earliest, and right up until the trade deadline you’ll see rumors of M’s getting shipped off to contenders. I would expect Ibanez’s name to be out there, and maybe even Beltre. You might even see Batista or Washburn for teams desperate for a back-end starter for the stretch run. But at this point, outside of Ichiro, Putz and some of the kids, the rest are all fair game. What a complete disaster this thing has turned out to be, and it’s only May 9th!

The real question is whether or not Bavasi will still be the GM once the fire sale begins. His trade scorecard is pretty underwhelming, and ownership might have serious second thoughts about having Bavasi be the guy to rebuild this thing. It’s not unheard of to change GM’s in the middle of a season either. Cincy just did it a few weeks ago. But the bottom line is Bavasi’s plan has completely blown up at this point, and his track record of trades is less-than-stellar. It might be prudent to hire your next GM now and put him in charge of the rebuild that can begin with trade-deadline deals. If you don’t think rebuilds can begin with deadline deals, well, they can. Look back at Cleveland to see how it’s done. A few years back they dumped their ace, Bartolo Colon, for some minor-leaguers named Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips. While Phillips is now starring as the #3 hitter as a potential all-star second baseman in Cincy, Sizemore has become one of the best outfielders in the AL, and Lee is just out of his mind GREAT right now! The M’s are right at the crossroads now, and yet they still have some bullets in the holster to make some major strides to get better. But this thing is dead, and they have to move accordingly.

Moving on, I’m tired of the off-field stories. You know what’s going on. Roof is in trouble, Hicks to get some jail time, the APR sucked 8 scholies out of the program, blah blah blah. This week can’t end fast enough, and I’m just some lowly blogger. Imagine how some on the inside of the program feel right now!

Anyway, in the spirit of moving on, how about some Okie-State thoughts. August 30th is going to get here faster than we think (check out the new counter to the right that shows you when the ’08 opener approaches). We’ll have an in-depth look at the Cowboy spring session this weekend, but I thought we would look at their head coach and his now-famous “I’m a man, I’m 40” meltdown. In case you forgot….

Ok then.

For some background on the rant, he was pissed at an article written in what has been tagged as “worst paper in America”, the Daily Joke-lahoman, which ripped Gundy’s then-QB Bobby Reid for not exactly showing a good attitude, being a momma’s boy, etc. You can read the article here.

So there you have the tirade. A coach is mad because one of his players was ripped, even though he’s generally a good kid. There was even some applause after the meltdown. You thought it was over, right? Well, it wasn’t. In fact, it turns out the whole thing might have been a big put-on or a fraud to begin with. Reid and his mom said so after the whole thing:

“Honestly, the way I took it, I felt like it was all a front,” Reid says. “That it was all a big show. It didn’t feel genuine.”

Maybe it’s just a bitter player taking one last shot at a coach he and his mom couldn’t stand. Or maybe it really was just a bunch of BS. Nobody knows what was really going on behind closed doors between players and coaches. And Reid might just be a total flake that is tied to his mom’s apron. But when you see a coach with a melt-down like that, well, you wonder what the heck is going on under the surface.

Maybe it’s uber-donor T. Boone Pickens and his billions that put extreme pressure on the head coach to win games. After all, the Okie State stadium is named after the guy who donated an NCAA-record $165 MILLION dollars because he wants his Cowboys to win gosh darnit! Cougar faithful can smile about Pickens and his money, because it can buy a lot of things, but it couldn’t buy Tony Bennett! You might remember that Okie State was prepared to throw the bank at Tony around the Final Four, but we know how that turned out. And Pickens and his billions couldn’t land Bill Self either. It appears that some of the top coaches with a brain don’t want to answer to this guy.

But keep in mind Pickens donated millions towards the “Swift Boat for Truth” guys that smeared the military record of John Kerry. Whether you liked John Kerry or couldn’t stand him, even the most conservative of conservatives generally thought those Swift-Boater types were pretty out of line. But yes, the Swift Boaters are the same group that has hated Sonics minority owner Aubrey McClendon in their midst. While not busy telling everyone they never wanted the Sonics to actually stay in Seattle, McClendon spends a lot of money being “anti” a lot of stuff. He was quoted as saying he didn’t want “those kinds of people” in OKC when they happily sold the Seattle Storm to a local Seattle group. What a bunch of GREAT AMERICANS! Whatever. It’s their money and their belief system, they can do what they want.

ENJOY YOUR FRIDAY!