Archive for the ‘Rick Neuheisel’ Category

Spring Fish Wrap – UCLA Neuheisel’s Edition

June 16, 2009

Another day, another wrap. This time, a peek at UCLA and Rick Neuheisel.

You remember Neuheisel, right? Golden boy goes home to Westwood, shocks the world to open his era vs. Tennessee, then everything goes downhill from there in a lost 4-8 season? The guy who was, you know, going to take back LA from Pete Carroll??


Ummmm…..yeah.

In all seriousness, it’s early. WAY too early to draw many conclusions about Neuheisel’s ability to raise UCLA from the depth’s plummeted by Karl Dorrell and company. He is going to need a few more solid recruiting classes to get some things straightened out, but without a doubt, this looks like more of a rebuild job than even Rick himself had to see coming when he took the gig last year.

So, are things in fact looking up coming out of spring ball? Or has UCLA’s fall in ’08 buried them in the lower-half of the PAC for another year? Read on for more….

2008: 4-8, including a 3-6 PAC-10 record. The highlight, without question, the season opening shocker at home with the upset victory over Tennessee. The lowlight? Without a doubt, the very next week after the Tennessee highlight, which was a 59-0 embarrassment at the hands of the hated BYU Cougars. But even the 4-8 record might have been a little misleading. Outside of their win over Tennessee, the Bruins swept the Washington schools (who DIDN’T sweep the Washington schools ’08?), and beat Stanford by a field goal. They lost the rest. So a very tough opening act for Neuheisel.

FANS ARE: Eh. They understand the situation, with the lackluster performances by Karl Dorrell setting up the current administration for a lot of tough days at the office. They HATE losing to USC, but they also believe they are on the right track with Neuheisel. However, the honeymoon is clearly over. Fans want to see a much better product next season, especially offensively, or else there could be some real unhappiness in the land of tanned, beautiful people….

LAST TIME vs. WSU: A 28-3 snoozer where neither team was all that impressive. Actually, I take that back. The 28-3 loss to UCLA? Outside of the UW Apple Cup OT thriller, this game in ’08 might have been the best appearance by WSU last year. Seriously. It was 14-3 early in the third quarter after a Nico Grasu field goal, and there was some thought that a play here or there and it could get extremely interesting.


But alas, the WSU offense never got much going in Marshall Lobbestael’s first-ever NCAA road start, as the young redhead went 15-for-31 for just 149 yards. Lobbestael looked nervous and unsure for most of the game, and with very little rushing attack behind him (25 carries, 26 yards), UCLA had Marshall on the run for most of the evening.

OFFENSIVE SYSTEM: A multiple attack in a bit of a west coast “hybrid” under Norm Chow, a system that can utilize a lot of WR’s with various looks. They will use a tight end in an H-back mold, with a lot of motion, but can also spread you out with three-wideout-looks.

’08 OFFENSIVE RATINGS: One of the lower-rated offenses in the conference, UCLA was #8 in the conference in points (17.7) and total offense (283.2 yards per game). Nationally it was just as bad, finishing 109th in scoring and 111th in total offense. Worse though was the running attack, where the Bruins would finish dead LAST in the conference with 82.8 yards per game, as well as a conference-low 2.6 yards per carry. UCLA did finish 6th in the conference in passing yards, at just over 200 yards per game. But they joined WSU and UW as the only PAC-10 teams to finish with single-digit TD passes in ’08 (UCLA had 9, WSU and UW tied for last with 6).

’09 RETURNING OFFENSIVE STARTERS: A whopping NINE starters are back, and they get Logan Paulsen returning at tight end from injury. Experience is a good teacher, so, they will likely be much better with so many starters back….right??

TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER: This isn’t an easy choice, as the offense was a bit of a mess in ’08. Tight end Logan Paulsen will be back this year after missing nearly the entire ’08 season, and when healthy, he might be the best player on the UCLA offense. But Paulsen will share some time with Ryan Moya, who emerged in Paulsen’s spot last year as sort of an H-back/tight-end blend and earned 2nd team All-PAC-10 honors. So I will go with Terrence Austin, a WR/kick returning threat who has game-changing abilities.

Austin led the team in catches last year, with 53, as he emerged as the most dependable wideout on the Bruins. But he also led the team in punt returns and kickoff returns. While Austin never brought one back all the way on special teams, he did average 9.5 yards per punt return, as well as a season-high 82-yard kickoff return. He also set school records for all-purpose yards in a season with 1878. Austin should have a big senior year in ’09 and will definitely be on some pre-season all-conference lists in one way or another.

DEFENSIVE SCHEME: This could be a somewhat new look, as UCLA has a new coordinator in Chuck Bullough. Bullough has coached the fine UCLA linebackers the last three years, but now he gets the headset and will be making the defensive calls every Saturday. They roll with a 4-3 scheme, but they might do some things differently under Bullough. Maybe some more blitzing with his talented linebackers??

’08 DEFENSIVE RATINGS: 8th in the conference in scoring defense (29 ppg), 8th in rushing defense (169.8 ypg), and second in passing defense (167.7 ypg). On a bit of a down note, the Bruins were 6th in the conference in pass-efficiency defense, 7th in interceptions, and 8th in sacks, with 21.

’09 RETURNING DEFENSIVE STARTERS: Seven, plus a starter from 2007 in linebacker Kyle Bosworth.

TOP RETURNING DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Now this is tough, but in a good way for UCLA. There are legit all-conference players on the D-line, linebacker and in the secondary. D-tackle Brian Price was outstanding as a sophomore with 14 tackles for loss. Linebacker Reggie Carter is back for his senior year, and he led the team with 83 tackles in ’08 (including 20 tackles vs. BYU). But in the end, I’m going with maybe the best cornerback in the PAC-10 this year in Alterraun Verner.


Verner had an excellent ’08 season, where he led the country in passes defended (20), and added 73 tackles, good for number two on the team. Not that you want your top cover guy to also be a tackling machine, but 73 tackles is awfully impressive no matter how you look at it. He isn’t a huge INT guy, with just eight in his first three years at UCLA, but he’s made the most of it by taking three of them back to the house. I would look for Verner to be the guy that nobody throws at in ’09. So while his INT numbers will likely be down again next season, be ready for all-everything accolades coming his way all year long.

TOP THREE POST-SPRING PRACTICE QUESTIONS:

1) WHAT’S WITH THE QB?? The most important position on the field meets the biggest question for UCLA coming out of spring. And the early reviews were that the QB’s weren’t exactly ready for prime time once spring drills were wrapped. Kevin Prince has a slight lead on some other young candidates, as they love his arm and mobility at the position.


Prince looks the part at the very least – the redshirt frosh is 6-2, 226, and had a strong season of practice last year. Even in a down year, the coaches held off on burning the red-shirt in ’08. Prince still has four full seasons of eligibility. Oh yeah, Kevin Craft, last year’s starter and leading passer with over 2300 yards, is still hanging around for his senior year. But it doesn’t sound like he has much of a shot at winning the job. The staff loves Prince, and even though he didn’t run away and hide from the rest of the field in spring ball, he should be the guy to open the season.

2) OK, THAT’S GREAT ABOUT PRINCE. BUT CAN THE O-LINE KEEP HIM UPRIGHT TO EVEN HAVE A CHANCE? There’s the rub – who exactly can protect this young talent of a QB? It was a long, tough season last year, as UCLA’s unproven offensive line took a whippin’ in ’08. The Bruins gave up 35 sacks, the second-most in the conference last year (WSU “led” with 43 sacks allowed). Per Ted Miller, the Bruin O-line didn’t look like they improved much at all this spring, so there is some serious trepidation that it could be a repeat performance on offense next year. Now consider breaking in a frosh QB who hasn’t yet thrown an NCAA pass with this O-line? GULP.

3) AND OF COURSE, THE SCHEDULE?

UCLA’s got a tough road to respectability in ’09. They open with San Diego State in Pasadena, and that should be a game they will be favored to win. But then they go to Neyland Stadium, where 100,000+ orange-clad Vols fans will be lying in wait. This one will be a big-time revenge game for the ’08 stunner in LA. The last time a PAC-10 team went to Tennessee, it was CAL, who got whooped 35-18 in ’06. After that, the Bruins get Kansas State the following week back home in LA. But even with Tennessee in September, still, a 2-1 record looks plausible to start the year.

It gets sticky in October however. The Bruins play three of their five games this month on the road. After they come off a bye on 9/26, they go to Stanford on 10/3. But then they have to face Oregon and Cal on back-to-back Saturdays, yet the good news there is that both games are in Pasadena. Then they go to Tucson and face Arizona’s tough defense, before heading to Corvallis to close out the month. October is going to have a big say in the success or failure of UCLA in ’09.

WSU FOOTBALL BLOG SEZ: Sort of like Arizona, UCLA may be in a very similar situation. They will need their experienced, talented defense to keep them in games. There is no question they have the front-line talent to do it, and they should be ready to do the heavy lifting while the offense tries to find it’s stride early in the year.

What’s weird is that there were so many talented individuals last year, but they still finished in the bottom-half in the conference in so many defensive categories? A couple of theories were floated last year. One was that the defense was just stopped responding to DeWayne Walker, who eventually left to take the head coaching job at New Mexico State. And let’s face it, getting five-star talent to perform in LA? That can’t be an easy gig! Once those kinds of talents turn a deaf ear to your rants, it is only a matter of time before you either leave on your own or are shown the door by those above you.

The other theory is that UCLA’s defense was strong as can be expected, but they just wore themselves out trying to overcome such a lackluster offense. I mean when the team is in the 100’s nationally in total offense and scoring offense, well, there’s only so much the defense can do to even stay in games, let alone get a bunch of victories. But given what they are returning on defense in ’09, even an average offensive showing next year could vault the Bruins into bowl contention.

They come to WSU on 11/14, and that’s another weird deal. UCLA has had issues playing in Pullman over the years. But it’s not just Pullman. Overall the Cougs are 5-2 in their last seven against the Bruins. The last time UCLA came to Pullman, the Cougars were struggling while the Bruins were hot, sporting a 5-2 record and fresh off an upset win over Cal. But WSU prevailed 27-7 in a game where UCLA never seemed to even want to get off the bus, let alone actually play a college football game. I was in the stands that day, and without a doubt it was one of the flattest efforts I have ever seen from a WSU opponent.

But let’s face it, the Bruins hate to make that trip to Pullman, and they don’t exactly hide their disdain for the Palouse. Get them up in Pullman in mid-November, well, who knows what we’ll see from UCLA.

But overall on UCLA, it’s all about the QB and O-line play. If they are even average, they have a shot at a bowl. Otherwise it’s another year in the bottom-third of the conference.

That’s about it for today. ENJOY YOUR TUESDAY, and as always, GO COUGS!

Spring Fish Wrap – UCLA Bruins Edition

June 4, 2008

The Rick returns to the Pac-10. And the countdown is now on to see when he appears before the various NCAA infractions committee’s, such as the picture above. I’d give the over-under at, what, 3 seasons? Too high perhaps? Maybe 2.5 seasons. Anyway, you just know what’s coming down in Westwood.


The last we saw of Neuheisel after the ’02 AC, he was dodging bottles of 151 as he ran off the field at Martin Stadium, flipping off the WSU student section in the process. I am pretty sure I yelled something at him as he went to the tunnel, but I really can’t remember. It’s all such a blur. But does the thought of Neuheisel returning to the Pac-10 at UCLA worry you? He was 33-16 at UW and led them to a bowl game in all 4 years at the school. He got himself in a lot of hot water by pissing on the NCAA rule book, time and again, and just couldn’t stay out of the coaching rumor mill whenever a hot job opened up. He takes the brunt of the blame for UW’s situation, and his passion for finesse really turned the team into a shell of what they used to be in the 90’s. Yet here he is, with one more chance to make things right at his alma mater.

The best news for UCLA is who exactly Neuheisel has chosen to hire as his coordinators. DeWayne Walker is regarded as one of the top defensive coordinators on the west coast, if not the nation. Tyrone Willingham and company pushed as hard as they could and according to one report, they had him as the next UW defensive coordinator. Walker was even a head coaching candidate this winter, interviewing for the UCLA job and a rumored candidate at several other schools. But the moment Neuheisel took the job, he claimed his #1 recruit was DeWayne Walker, and sure enough, he kept him on the staff. That’s a strong enough move. But to also nab Norm Chow as the OC?? Now that is impressive. Chow was the architect of all those great USC offenses with Pete Carroll. Of course it helps that Carroll gave him Heisman trophy winners to run said offense, but, Chow’s rep is as a brilliant offensive mind and a guy who has done great work with QB’s. Many from the SC days claim it was his arrival that turned Carson Palmer from an inconsistent, “toolsy” QB into a Heisman winner and top NFL draft pick because of Chow’s guidance.

Here’s a look at the post-spring state of UCLA:

2007: A disappointing 6-7, but 5-4 in the Pac-10. Still it wasn’t enough to keep Karl Dorrell around, and he was quickly shown the door after the season. Except for one breakthrough season in 2005 and an upset of USC in 2006, Dorrell was basically a .500 coach, and that doesn’t fly down there for very long. The most disappointing thing about last year was because of yet another late-season fade. UCLA started 5-2 and looked certain to be headed for an upper-division bowl game, but would go on to lose 5 of their last 6, including the Las Vegas bowl. In fact, the 27-7 loss in Pullman started their annual tailspin into the abyss.

Offensive Scheme: Chow’s a versatile offensive coach, employing tons of different looks in his USC days. Some one-back with triple WR sets, some power or offset-I formations, some shotgun. Pretty much everything. The big difference here though is that UCLA is NOT one of the read-option, shotgun-exclusive offenses that are the rage right now. They are much more of your traditional, sophisticated NFL-style attack. This is a WELCOME CHANGE to a UCLA offense that was basically putrid last year. How bad was it? #92 in scoring offense, #101 in passing offense, and #99 in total offense. Peeee-U! However their offensive skill positions were devastated with injuries down the stretch last year, so some of those numbers are deceiving.

Defensive Scheme: Walker employs a 4-3 attack and will blitz when necessary, but they aren’t the biggest gambling defense around. They have had a lot of talent in recent seasons, and last year they were a top-30 defense, including 14th against the run. UCLA has become much more of a defensive team over the last several years.

Top Offensive Player: Make no mistake about it, UCLA is thin in the skill-position player department. But they do have Kahlil Bell back from last year, although he is coming off a knee injury. They are hopeful he will be OK to start the season. Bell led the team with 795 rushing yards, 5 TD’s and an impressive 5.6 yards per carry. He actually had 34 LESS carries compared to starter Chris Markey, who is now out of the program. If healthy, Bell has size, speed and moves. Check it out:

Top Defensive Player: The defense has some strong talent back, including DT Brian Price and his 7 sacks, LB Kyle Bosworth and his 74 tackles, or corner Alterraun Verner and his 75 tackles, 4 picks and 15 pass break-ups. But overall, LB Reggie Carter looks like the top impact player on D for UCLA in ’08. Carter had 62 tackles last year, not an overwhelming amount by any stretch and is good for third on the team among returning players. But he did have 12 tackles for loss last year, including a couple of sacks. At 6-2, 221, he runs extremely well and will now move from weakside to the middle. The junior will likely be in the 100-tackle range and will handle all the defensive calls in the middle of the defense.

Top Spring Questions:

1) What up with the QB injuries?

A good question after spring practices. Starter Patrick Cowan tore his left ACL and is already done for 2008. Backup Ben Olson broke his right foot late in the spring and will be out for several months. However UCLA does believe that Olson will be back as the starter by the opener. At least they hope so. If Olson is ready to go, he’s got to get better in a hurry. He was underwhelming in 7 games last year, completing only 48% of his passes with 7 TD’s and 6 INT’s. Olson has all the tools coaches dream of, 6-4, 235 and a rocket for a left arm. But he just hasn’t put it together despite all the hype of his arrival a few years ago, and all of a sudden he’s a senior and regarded as a reclamation project for Norm Chow. It’s now or never for Olson.

2) If Olson is OK, Who Will Protect Him?

That’s the scary part for UCLA’s offense. Just two starters are back on the O-line in tackle Micah Kia and center Micah Reed, but Kia is the only returning starter back at his original position. Reed is sliding over from guard to start at center. Even worse, eight of the top ten in the post-spring two-deep roster on the O-line DIDN’T PLAY A SINGLE SNAP in 2007! They are young, young, young up front, and that is a potentially lethal situation for any QB.

Bottom Line: The Bruins begin with a tough slate, including Tennessee to open the season and then travel to BYU on 9/13. This will be the third time in a year that UCLA plays BYU (kind of weird). Anyway, after the road game at BYU they host Arizona and Fresno State before the Cougs raid Pasadena on 10/4. That makes for 4 home games out of their first 5. Not to suggest that they will be looking past WSU, but UCLA does go to Oregon the following week. But 4 of the first 5 at home could set up some momentum as they get into the meat of the season.

Believe it or not, UCLA is starting to look like a rebuilding job more than anything else. But despite the losses of so many skill position guys, the young, thin O-line, the injured QB’s, etc, the first year might be better than people think. Neuheisel’s M-O is to basically show up and win immediately with the prior staff’s players. UCLA has recruited well over the last few years, so there is talent in the pipeline, even if it isn’t experienced. Neuheisel usually wins people over early in the game, like a breath of fresh air, and immediately things improve. But then things start to deteriorate, as you realize he recruits wide receivers, running backs and QB’s every recruiting class and basically ignores offensive and defensive linemen. He’s a sucker for the skill-positions and will load up on guys like that. But maybe this time he’s learned his lesson. Maybe the dynamic combo of Walker and Chow will be the forces behind UCLA’s resurgence. Time will tell, but this is regarded as Neuheisel’s last stand in the college ranks.

Say it ain’t so, Handsome Pete!

January 10, 2008

Am I the only one outside of Compton who is absolutely horrified by the idea of Pete Carroll bolting Troy to become the latest in the long line of head coaches who have moved between the NCAA and NFL; only to fail in spectacular fashion?

This phenomenon of the coaching world, which is neither confined to the sport of football, nor limited to moving “up” from the minors to the pros, demands further investigation. Is it for the ego; or the bank account? What on God’s green earth would compel a man to leave a position in which he were revered as a KING, for the unknown that awaits? Regardless of whether he wears the crown as King of LA in the media capital of the west coast; or the King of Poop Island in the home of the National Lentil Festival; I will never understand why a man would give up the keys to a new Cadillac for what’s behind door #3.
I don’t want to even imagine a Pac-10 without Pete Carroll at USC. When you really despise a team in college football, you despise the history more than you do the current roster. In baseball on the other hand, you hate the way the Yankees dominated the field for so long but you also grew to detest Steinbrenner, Jeter, O’Neill, Knoblauch, Brosius, and the like. You really spread the hate around. It’s healthy.
You really need at least one face to hate. With the ever-shrinking tenure of the average college football player, it’s practically impossible to develop a healthy hatred for one. I tried like hell to hate Reggie Bush but failed miserably. Before him, I tried hating a long line of former Trojan players but I just didn’t get a chance to know them. I guess I briefly hated Todd Marinovich after the Dad’s Day comeback in ’89, so I suppose there are exceptions. But occasional fleeting hatred aside, we need Pete Carroll (and Ken Norton for that matter) at USC so our hatred will be complete. With USC, I suppose we’ll always hate the perpetual loop of their fight song during every game and the constant “V’ sign from fans and players – but we need more than that!
Pete Carroll is the face of USC football and the face we love to hate. I actually look forward to every opportunity I get to watch him. There is simply nothing better than watching him work a game. He’s on the field more than USC’s long-snapper, constantly working the refs – buttering them up early so they’ll be in his hip pocket if the game gets close at the end. I take that back. The only thing better than that is watching his facial expressions during the ups and downs of a game. 98% of the time he just has that pompous look of arrogance that shames you into upgrading your trailer to a double-wide; but the other 2% of the time when things aren’t going right for his team – is absolutely priceless. He seems to maintain the arrogance through a look of disbelief and astonishment.

This is the look that says “How the hell did these idiots manage to fuck up my flawless game plan?!” With Pete at the helm, nobody really beats USC, they just get lucky. Just ask him.
So on top of this ice-cream sundae of hate, the proverbial cherry on top is none other than Rick Neuheisel. I can honestly say that I have never hated anything about UCLA and probably won’t until we face them for the first time with Slick Rick on the sideline. But if I hate Pete Carroll – I super-hate Rick Neuheisel. If Carroll were to leave USC for the Atlanta Falcons now, the inevitable speculation would be that on top of all that “nothing left to accomplish here” nonsense, would be that Pete felt at least a little threatened by the new coach at the rival school across town. I’d REALLY hate to see Slick Rick become the new King of LA by default.
I’m sure that by the time I finish breakfast in the morning Pete will come to his senses and announce that he’s staying “home” at USC and for that, the entire Pac-10 says “Hate On!”

Best Palouse Posse Member?

January 4, 2008

The new poll question is now live, for those of you that wish to participate. And it’s not exactly an easy one either. That’s Mark Fields above, ready to make yet another TFL in his 1994 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year season. But who was the best member of the 1994 swarming, disruptive, powerful WSU Palouse Posse? A strong case can be made for any of the top 5 names, so, cast your vote and state your position now!

Not too much else happening in the football world. OH yeah, DeWayne Walker stays at UCLA as Rick Neuheisel sticks a red hot one where the Husky sun doesn’t shine. Of course it’s 40 degrees and raining sideways these days, so, the sun never shines here anyway. But you get the drift. As our friend John speculates at UW Football Blog, something STINKS here, and this could be just round one of many jabs that UCLA’s own Rick Neuheisel takes at the school that fired him for something he protests still to this day. Hmm, let’s see. If the money is the same, and it’s 70 degrees and sunny in January, or it’s 40 and raining sideways? And my wife loves LA? Yeah, I’d pass on that job too. UW is now scrambling to find a new DC, as their other top choice, former Michigan DC Ron English, took the Louisville job. Oh, and UW also pissed off old-timers like Chris Tormey and Randy Hart, defensive coaches that would have been replaced had Walker been signed and brought a couple of his UCLA guys. Good luck with that situation.

An evening with Cougar Football coach Paul Wulff is now set for 2/29. If you are in the wet area of the state, clear your calendar and make an appearance. Our own Todd Thrasher works his butt off for that event, so check it out. It’s worth it. I know WSU Football Blog will be represented by myself and probably Rooster, so we’ll give a full report if you can’t make it.

In recruiting news, the center the Cougars are recruiting, Jonathan Solomon, now has Hawaii as his leader. But the kid went ahead and bragged about how Hawaii was going to beat Georgia “by like 20 points.”??!?!

“I think they’ll beat Georgia by like 20 points. I’ve been talking some smack about Georgia because I lived in Georgia for a bit and my old teammate, Tanner Strickland, goes there and I like to give him a hard time. But I really don’t think that anyone can stop Hawaii’s offense…”

Wait a second….yep….I think Georgia just scored again/sacked Brennan again/etc. What a blowout. But we’ll see what can happen.

Can’t say I’m all that sad for the Hawaii fans either. I checked out some of their message boards when the June Jones rumors were making the rounds, and they basically told anyone who mentioned Jones in connection with another job to PHUCK themselves. Pretty classy.

BREAKING NEWS: Wulff Lands First Recruit; Rick Neuheisel Wanted WSU Job?; When Will Derting Attacks

December 15, 2007

You may remember me from such incidents as “I’ll take U-Conn for $7000 please” and “FOR THE LAST TIME, I’m not interested in the San Francisco job!”


BREAKING NEWS as of 3:00 PM 12/15 – Wulff has landed his first commit of his tenure at WSU. TE prospect Skylar Stormo from Kamiak has verballed to WSU. Stormo is a big kid at 6-4, 220, and is a hoops player as well. A 2-star prospect, but a potentially nice addition to the class. Picked WSU over the NW Pac-10 schools.

That appears to be the rumor coming out of LA anyway. I guess trying to coach up Kyle Boller in wonderful Baltimore has become tiresome. Scott Wolf is pretty reputable, so I would think there’s something to this. However that’s already a couple of days old. The new hot topic is Neuheisel returning to his old haunts at UCLA.

The last we saw of Neuheisel after the ’02 AC, he was dodging bottles of 151 as he ran off the field, flipping off the student section in the process. I am pretty sure I yelled something at him as he went to the tunnel, but I really can’t remember. It’s all such a blur. Given all the bad blood and the way Neuheisel went about his business, I can’t fathom Sterk had any reaction other than “pass” when he called for an interview.

UCLA and Neuheisel, what a perfect fit. A soft coach who wins with the previous coach’s players and everything’s great at first. Then you realize he recruits 20 wide receivers, running backs and QB’s every recruiting class and basically ignores offensive and defensive linemen. All for a program that traditionally starts out hot and then fades into mediocrity, year after year after year? We’ve got a match!

But seriously, does the thought of Neuheisel returning to the Pac-10 at UCLA worry you? I mean he was 33-16 at UW and led them to a bowl game in all 4 years at the school. He got himself in a lot of hot water by pissing on the NCAA rule book, time and again, and just couldn’t stay out of the coaching rumor mill whenever a hot job opened up. He takes the brunt of the blame for UW’s situation, and his passion for finesse really turned the team into a shell of what they used to be in the 90’s.

Meanwhile, recruiting is starting to make a little news. Apparently Paul Wulff was out on the road Thursday night, in the home of Redmond’s Cody Mackay. Mackay is a UW commit right now, but he showed a lot of interest in WSU before the Doba firing. He is still considered a UW commit, but he wants to take a visit to Pullman in January to reassure himself of his choice. We heard rumblings from Paul Sorensen about this, that Wulff and company were going to take a run at some kids who have already committed, and they are all fair game at this point.

Now will it lead to anything? We’ll see. All I know is, from following this recruiting thing for many years now, you NEVER know until signing day what’s going to happen. I mean Michael Bumpus was a strong USC commit all the way until the week before signing day, when Dwayne Jarrett dropped from the heavens on USC and suddenly they wanted him to greyshirt. Next thing you know, Bam! Bumpus signs with WSU. Anything can happen between now and early February.

There is still some confusion over the coaching staff, and as Vince mentions today, it might be another week or two before things are settled. Right now we know that Levy is back, and Bruiser has been retained as well. But what about Rosey and Peterson? It appears that they haven’t officially been let go, but it’s really not clear at this time if they’ll be part of the new staff either.

Interesting tidbit that Vince mentions talk of Wulff trying to get a veteran defensive coordinator instead of giving the job to Jody Sears. I had assumed, like many others, that if Sears was coming he was coming to be the DC, but that looks like it’s not yet settled. I also wonder about Sturdy coming as the OC when the EWU job is sitting there. Sturdy is regarded as a spread offense guru, and how can anyone argue with the kind of numbers they put up this year. But Sturdy was a head coach for many years before that, and he may choose to throw his hat in the ring for the EWU head job vs. being an OC at a BCS school. Who knows. Maybe this could be part of the reason Rosey is still part of the program, as a fall-back in case Sturdy gets the EWU job? Again, this will all clear up in the next week or so, but it’s nice to see some things coming together.

Moving on, the new Big Cat, Wulff, was on KJR again this week with who else, Elise and Ian. Another good interview, give it a listen here.

Tip of the hat to Brandon Gibson. Not only was an first-team All-Pac-10 in a conference that is always full of excellent WR’s, but he’s now been named to Phil Steele’s All-American team. Here he is making yet another great catch on a fluttering Brink go-route that was wildly off the mark. Gibson was a 3rd team selection, but still, nice to see some national recognition for one hell of a WR. Let’s hope he returns next year to put up sick numbers in this WR-friendly offense! It’s easy to say that Gibson is probably the #1 recruit on Wulff’s radar right now. We pointed it out yesterday that an unknown sophomore WR at EWU named Aaron Boyce hauled in 85 balls for over 1300 yards last year. Just think what Gibson could do in ’08!

Finally, for not much of a reason…..WILL…..DERTING! This is a little clip from the ’03 Notre Dame game, where he tried to put QB Carlyle Holiday in the morgue. God how I miss that guy. Enjoy: