Archive for the ‘UW’ Category

Tuesdays With Moron

February 10, 2009


Welcome to Tuesday, and a new feature around here – Tuesday’s With Moron. Basically a dot-dot-dot type ramblings, with a look around at things not necessarily WSU Football-Related. We need to step outside the box now and then, and it’s the off-season, so, what the hell.

Leading off…..A-Rod, seriously? Why? Ok, you are an A-class jackass who is phony as it gets, but you were headed to Cooperstown sans juice. AND you lied to the world on 60 Minutes in 2007. Now you admit it, but spin it as the reason you did so was because of the immense pressure of $252 million? Poor guy.


The deal with A-Rod is this – here’s a kid who immensely wants to be liked by everyone, incredibly insecure and one who says and does anything and everything to be LIKED. Even if he sounds phony and rehearsed, Eddie Haskell style. And if everyone was doing it in 2001-2003 down in hell’s exhaust pipe (Arlington), you can see a guy like that totally giving in to the peer pressure and go along with the rest of the crowd. Still, it doesn’t excuse what he did, and it certainly taints everything he has done from that point forward….if he did, in fact, ONLY start in 2001? How can we even know for sure when he started dabbling in PED’s? Should we just take his word for it and root on his pursuit of the HR title? Did he simply move on to HGH, where there still isn’t a 100% reliable testing program? Maybe he’s still on something? How can we believe anything he says about the issue?

Well, congrats on blowing your Hall shoo-in, fraudulent one. And welcome to Pete Rose’s living hell. But at least you have plenty of company (McGwire, Raffy P, Barry, Rocket, Canseco, etc). Curt Schilling is a blow-hard who loves to hear himself talk but he is right on here. Expose the rest of the 103 names on the list failed steroid test. They were supposed to remain anonymous, but what other choice is there now? If they leave things as they are, they will eventually come out and it will be ugly when it does. Otherwise, as Schilling says, they ALL live under the slimy cloud of suspicion, witch-hunt style. Might as well “come clean”, so to speak…..

Christian Bale is a hot piece of property where every thing he touches is going to hit the $100 million mark and T4 looks like it will be a huge hit this summer…..but he sure sounds like a colossal PRICK on that tape.

I loved him in Batman Begins and Dark Knight, and he was good in The Prestige, 3:10 to Yuma, and American Psycho. But wow, did he go off. The next Russell Crowe, perhaps, right down to the surly off-camera a-hole-ness?….

So how ’bout that stimulus package? Let’s hope it works. MORE pork please! Maybe they can pack in some Martin Stadium money for phase IV? Come on Barack!…

The UW money grab appears to be dying on the table in Oly, per the biggest jerk in the House, Frank Chopp. He said in a recent interview that the UW stadium is “no longer a priority”, where he’s even getting mixed signals from Mark Emmert himself. ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY RECESSION!!…..Speaking of UW and dying on the table, so ends the brief mutt career of one Jim Michalzcik, as he’s decided the worst NFL job under the most insane, senile owner in pro sports is better than Montlake. The guy never lost a game in Seattle. But at least he was around to help Sarkisian sign the worst recruiting class in modern UW history. All for more money than Paul Wulff makes as head coach at WSU. Way to vet your choice there. And good luck Jim. We still love your Coug-ness, and you are now officially welcome to attend all WSU football functions and the like…..Tough times for UW huh? As BH boldly pointed out yesterday, let’s see….Sarkisian has:

1) Stolen USC’s Defensive Coordinator, and pissed off Pete Carroll in the process.
2) Went after SC recruits (and FAILED to turn them to purple-n-gold) and again, pissed off Pete Carroll in the process.
3) Went after UCLA’s Defensive Coordinator DeWayne Walker (and FAILED)
4) Stole CAL’s lead offensive coach…..making Jeff Tedford angry…..only to see him eject prematurely.
5) Offered Utah’s heralded WR coach and offensive mind a top spot, who takes it….then wakes up in the morning and says NEVER MIND!
6) Had a few recruiting violations and played dumb in the process…..even though he’s been a supposedly “big time recruiting force” in SoCal for many years?
7) Finally, tried to steal EVERY WSU verbal commit in-state, and went o-fer in that department.

Quite a start. And they haven’t even been blown out by LSU yet. Honeymoon is just about over…..


In the WSU universe, the Stanford game next fall has been moved to Thursday night. No blazing, blaring, official announcement yet…but check out the official Stanford schedule? Looks pretty clear doesn’t it? The question is, what network will host the game? FSN? Or maybe ESPN2? Rumors are out there that it could be nationally televised. Also a rumor to look for one more game to be moved later in the year to Thursday. Maybe on Halloween weekend against the team eternally dressed for that particular holiday?? We shall see….So should Tony roll with the kids or stick with vets to try and salvage this season? I am on the side of BH on this one. Play the kids or else face not only a disappointing post-season watching at home anyway, but a scary 2009-2010 season to boot….Have ya seen the guy pitching Sham-WOW? Wow is right, as in WOW are you ugly. That guy has a mug born for 3 AM infomercials. I heard the product is a complete fraud as well….So Chris Brown beat up the beautiful 19-year old sensation Rihanna!?!? WTF is that?


I recall Kevin Durant in a post-NBA draft interview saying his dream was to, well, you know….I won’t even say it….but Rihanna was prominently featured…..Larry Fitzgerald, enough already with the one-handed circus catches and game-changing TD’s. You’re great. We get it. Now please go back to sucking with the rest of the AZ Cardinals. Seahawk fans everywhere are ready for your to go away now….please……

ENJOY YOUR TUESDAY, and GO COUGS!

Pac-10 Sneak-a-Peek

July 21, 2008

With Pac-10 media day on Thursday, it’s time for our two cents (and they are a worthless two cents, if you believe the grumpy, crusty “couch slouch”, Norman Chad. When Chad isn’t hating on a growing medium that is both entertaining and informative, you’ll find him yelling at those kids to “GET OFF MY LAWN!” Or better yet, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, for the GREAT OZ has spoken!).


Anywho, here’s a sneak peek at the Pac-10, at least from these worthless, uninformed eyes:

1) USC – I dare you to find anyone who hasn’t picked them to win the conference, and for good reason. The defense is going to be a nightmare, with maybe the best defensive players in the conference on the d-line (Fili Moala at d-tackle) inside-and-outside linebackers (Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing), and safety (Taylor Mays). They are a sight to behold.

But offensively, hmm. Something seems a little off. Maybe it’s because everyone knows QB Mark Sanchez can be special, but he hasn’t yet inspired the masses that he’s the next great thing. But the kid has barely had a chance to work the room. Let him have a few drinks and get comfortable, then judge his game! Or maybe it’s that the WR corps have, thus far, failed to live up to the hype. They are All-Airport (you know, you see them in the airport and think OH MY GOD how are we going to stop these guys??) but the on-field production hasn’t been there compared to guys like Mike Williams or Dwayne Jarrett.

All that said, this is still USC. Nobody can match the overall talent, and of course, Pete Carroll has the magic touch with five-star talent. The home conference schedule is extremely favorable this year (Oregon, ASU and Cal all at home) so they’ll win their seventh Pac-10 title in a row. Think about that for a second. They have won at least a share of the championship for six consecutive years, and likely their seventh this year. I know it’s still considered a small “sample size”, but isn’t it time to stop proclaiming Pete Carroll as not just one of the best right now, but start talking him up as one of the best ever? 76-14 in a high-pressured job in a tough conference is unbelievable. There’s no greater pressure than winning big when everyone – EVERYONE – expects it. WSU Football Blog continues it’s man-crush on Pete Carroll.

2) ASU – I think the offense really takes off this year in Rudy’s last season as the changes Erickson implemented in the spring will help the offense. Rudy struggled with injuries and was beaten to a pulp with the well-publicized 55 sacks, but he still threw for 3200+ yards and a 25/10 TD-to-INT ratio. He could improve on that with another year in the system and with Erickson’s tweaks.

On D, eight of their top 11 tacklers are back, and their d-ends in Luis Vasquez and Dexter Davis are probably the best pass-rushing combo’s in the conference. They will be tough up front.

The Pac-10 schedule is rough though, at Cal and at USC in a tough two-game stretch to start October. And of course, they play a top-ranked UGA team to cap off September, so we’ll see what they look like after that one. All that said, I had a hard time between ASU and Oregon with #2. But I went with the Devils based on a second year of Erickson and the senior QB element. Plus, Oregon comes to Tempe on 10/25, and that game will decide second place.

3) Oregon – Losing Dennis Dixon and J-Stew and all those yards and TD’s from last year’s 9-win team would normally cause a panic in Eugene. But not this year. In a style we aren’t used to, Oregon’s D is going to rule the day. DE Nick Reed is the top pass-rusher in the conference, coming off a 12-sack season. Reed is undersized but has that high-revving motor that NFL teams dream of. And oh, that secondary. I will go as far as to say that Oregon’s threesome of Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmond III at corner is the number-one corner combo in the Pac-10, and has to be in the top 2 or 3 sets of starters in the nation. They are that good. And Patrick Chung as that rover/strong safety combo is just a fantastic senior who could contend for Pac-10 defensive player of the year honors.

But the cupboard isn’t totally bare on offense either. There is still impact talent at WR with Jaison Williams, at RB with Jeremiah Johnson and maybe the top newcomer in the conference this year in the mack truck known as JC transfer LeGarrette Blount. Finally, Nate Costa is going to be really, really good in this QB-friendly offense once he gets his feet wet.

With a relatively soft first month of the schedule, he’ll have the time to get comfortable. Our fine-feathered friends are, at worst, the #3 team in the conference this year. The main reason I have them #3 is the five conference road games (at WSU, at USC, at ASU, at Cal, and at OSU in the Civil War), which is against at least three bowl teams.

4) CAL – The star-power has left the building at Cal, and there are tons of questions on offense. Who will be the QB? Can Jahvid Best recover from injuries to be the top running back? And how is the running back depth now that Justin Forsett has graduated and James Montgomery transferred to WSU? The receiving corps suffered the most damage, losing the top five pass-catchers from ’07. Backup TE Cameron Morrah is the leading receiver coming back with a mere 13 catches for 155 yards? Yikes.

Defense will have to carry the load early, and they do look up to the task. They are going to a pure 3-4 defense this season behind former Coug Bob Gregory’s leadership as DC. 12 of the top 15 tacklers from last year are returning in ’08, including six of the starting front-seven from 2007. The linebackers in particular are loaded, with Zach Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder all experienced seniors. Outside of USC those guys are as good as you’ll find in the west. They COMBINED for an amazing 270 tackles last year(!).

The schedule doesn’t look too bad, with five Pac-10 home games, including Oregon and ASU, however they do go to the Coliseum to face USC in early November. But maybe the biggest question of all – can they recover from their big-time fold job of 2007?? They did rally to win their bowl game vs. Air Force, but otherwise lost 6 of their last 7 games. The damage done from that Oregon State home loss was remarkable, and to see a team with so many weapons just completely go into a shell is one of the most head-scratching things I’ve ever seen in this conference.

5) Arizona – Offensively throwing the ball Arizona is unmatched in the conference. Nobody has the scheme, QB and receivers that they do, led by Willie Tuitama. The top four pass-catchers return, as well as nine of the top 11 total from 2007. Top WR Mike Thomas is smallish, but catches everything in sight and reminds me a lot of the Bobby Engram-type, a guy you under-estimate because of his size but at the end of the day you look at his numbers and go WOW. Hard to argue with 83 catches, 1000+ yards and 11 TD’s. They have to run a heck of a lot better than they did last year however. They were an abysmal 114th in the nation in rushing in ’07, but the talent is there with Nic Grigsby, who averaged 4.4 yards per carry as a true frosh last year. And just an average-at-best running game would do wonders for getting the ball into the endzone. All that passing offense that finished 10th in the country in throwing the football only managed 28 points per game, good for a very mediocre 56th-ranked scoring offense.

The defense is loaded with new faces, as only four seniors will start and just three total starters are back from last year. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There was talk of some bad apples spoiling the whole bunch from last year’s D, and flushing the lousy attitudes could be the best thing for them. They lose seven of their top nine tacklers from last year, but #2 tackler, linebacker Ronnie Palmer, is back. He should be a big-time leader of the defense.

The schedule is the clincher for me . Idaho, Toledo and New Mexico leads to one of the softest non-conference schedules in the conference, if not the nation. Win those first three games and with 12 games on the schedule, they are already halfway to bowl-eligibility. And with five Pac-10 home games, well, it’s time. Arizona has been predicted to break through for the last few years, and finally, 2008 is THE YEAR they do it.

6) Oregon State – The QB situation is unclear, where it still sounds as though one day it’s Lyle Moevao, the next it’s Sean Canfield. Neither guy overwhelmed last year, and while Moevao gets the ink for winning his four starts at the end of last year, his passing numbers “reeked” (52%, 2 TD’s, 6 INT’s). Canfield struggled as well, throwing for more yards that Moevao (1661 vs. 876) but he tossed 15 INT’s in nine games before getting injured vs. USC in the last part of 2007. Most likely Moevao gets the job to open 2008. The skill positions look OK, led by the return of Sammie Stroughter as one of the most explosive players in the conference now that a disasterous 2007 is behind him. But they lose a true workhorse in Yvenson Bernard at tailback, and combined with some losses on the O-line with Roy Scheuning and Kyle DeVan, it could be a tough year offensively.

The bad news is that the defense has suffered some huge losses. The nastiest front-7 around against the run last year, the Beavers lose ALL STARTERS from the d-line and linebackers from ’07. They are also dealing with the loss of projected starter Bryan Payton at free safety, who abruptly left the program this summer, and the early-season suspension of Al Afalava.

The schedule doesn’t look too bad though. USC, Cal, Oregon and ASU all come to Corvallis, where the Beavs have gone an impressive 38-11 since 2000. Reser Stadium is a tough place to win, period. They go to Happy Valley to face Penn State in week two, and they also play at a tough Utah team on a Thursday night TV game, but otherwise it’s a schedule that could be another bowl season. While they won’t worm their way into the top-3, and they lose so much in terms of defense and a key guy like Bernard, they still have enough to get to 6th place. I don’t think this is the year that Riley’s magic touch runs out.

7) UCLA – The offense is, well, a mess. The QB’s are injured, but at least Ben Olson should be in uniform this fall. You can’t say the same for Patrick Cowan. But even Olson is taking baby steps, just now rounding into shape by doing easy treadmill workouts in recovering from a broken foot. He’s been banged up and not exactly productive over his career anyway, so even if he is upright and ready by the opener, it’s almost impossible to know exactly what you are going to get out of him this season. They could have RB Kahlil Bell back, and when healthy he’s pretty special. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry but was lost with an ACL injury and still remains a bit of a question mark for 2008. And all that is the GOOD NEWS?? The bad news of all is the O-line, or what’s left of it. They were already beyond thin coming into spring ball, but now this summer they lost a projected starter at tackle, Sean Sheller, to an ATV accident. They only have 16 combined starts out of all their offensive lineman, ranking #114 in the nation coming into ’08. Combine those question marks up front with an immobile QB in Olson, and it could be a long, tough season trying to move the football.

The defense will really have to improve in ’08 if they have any hope at a bowl game. They were a pretty good #29 in the nation in total defense last year, but they lost six pretty good starters from that group heading into this season. They still have some studs though, in linebackers Reggie Carter and Kyle Bosworth. And their d-tackle combo of Brian Price and Brigham Harwell will cause havoc up front.

The schedule is unforgiving, opening with Tennessee on a Monday night Labor Day special, and then after a bye they head to BYU, a team many are saying will upset the BCS apple cart. They also go to Oregon, Cal and ASU, and of course, the Neuheisel Bowl in Seattle in mid-November. This just in – UW fans HATE Neuheisel. And while Neuheisel will be a breath of fresh air, and he’s armed with the best offensive and defensive coordinator in the conference, this will be a very difficult season in Westwood.

8) Washington – Yes, Jake Locker is a phenom. He is the best running back in the conference back for 2008, and could probably start at running back, linebacker or safety on any team in the Pac-10. He’s breath-taking as a pure athletic marvel, like a faster version of John Elway. He might be the greatest running QB in Pac-10 history when it’s all said and done. But the passing game? Not yet. The worst completion percentage of any starter in the Pac-10 last year at 47%, plus a 14-15 TD/INT ratio shows a ton of room for improvement. Then you mix in that seven of the top nine receivers are gone from last year, and the top two back in ’08 are Michael Gottlieb and Curtis Shaw? Uh-oh. There is a TON of buzz on the young skill guys, however, and true frosh Chris Polk is touted as one of the fastest skill guys at Washington since Napoleon Kaufman. But it’s still a group in diapers, and they are going to have to learn how to crawl before they can run circles around Pac-10 defenses.

The defense will be better. I mean it has to be, right? The worst defense in school history last year, giving up a miserable 446 yards per game, they are pulling out all the stops by nabbing former NFL coordinator Ed Donatell to revamp everything. Will it work? Are college kids ready to fly with Donatell’s complex NFL schemes? The early word is that things are going to be better based on how the defense played this spring, but, it’s still a new system. But Donatell has the NFL credit to his name, and will command respect from the first practice. The talent is another issue. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim is big-time as a pass rushing force at defensive end and could be first-team all-conference, but the rest of the d-line is wet behind the ears. Leading tackler EJ Savannah is back, but he broke his arm in a freak spring arm wrestling accident and while he should be ready to play this fall, he’s battled some injuries to his neck and shoulder his whole UW career. You have to wonder if the mileage is catching up to him and if he’ll be the same player in 2008. The secondary will be better, with some experience back there in three out of four starters from last year. Mesphin Forrester should have a big senior season after recording an impressive 93 tackles from the corner position last year.

Oh yeah, the schedule? BRUTAL. At Oregon to start the 2008 campaign, with all those young skill kids to start the year? It could unravel in a hurry. Then it’s home for BYU, as mentioned before a real darling of the non-BCS types. The week after that, top-5 power Oklahoma rolls into town. They also get Notre Dame later in the season. Overall they have five Pac-10 road games, including at USC, at Oregon, at Cal, at Arizona and of course, at Pullman for the Apple Cup. While Locker should improve as a passer, and the defense will be better, they still might not have the wins to show for it.

9) WSU – I’m sorry. I didn’t want to do this. But if you have ever read our stuff over the years, there’s one thing we don’t do, and that’s run wild with blind homer-ism. And I look at the rest of the conference, I just see this as where we will end up.

I won’t go into the deep details as to our offense, defense and schedule, because you likely know as much as there is to know right now on this team. But taking off the crimson glasses and stepping far enough away from it, here’s what I see:

1) An inexperienced QB in a brand new system.
2) An unsettled running back situation with injury (Tardy) and academic (Ivory) questions.
3) A talented WR group, but it’s young, and it loses three of the top four from last year in Michael Bumpus, Charles Dillon and Jed Collins.
4) Unproven kicking game where one of Wade Penner, Patrick Rooney and the new JC guy will be a starter for the first time.

On defense, we have eight of the top nine tacklers back from 2007, but this from the 85th ranked defense in 2007. They improved by a wide margin down the stretch of the season, but, part of that improvement could be laid at the feet of the quality of the offensive opponent (Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State were in the lower half of Pac-10 teams in total offense last year). We are thin as hell at tackle, where A’i Ahmu will have to magically stay healthy for the first time in his career, and the other tackle is an unproven JC guy in Bernard Wolfgramm, Josh Luapo or fill-in guys like Matt Eichelberger. I love our linebackers, and moving Andy Mattingly to D-end could turn out to be the best move this staff could pull off when it’s all said and done. Mattingly is a beast in every sense of the word, and with his quickness and power off the edge, he could cause a lot of miserable Saturday afternoons for opposing tackles. I love Jody Sears and Chris Ball as co-coordinators, and they are already saying to get ready for eight in the box and a commitment to stopping the run, but the lack of depth at tackle could be a huge problem that could trickle-down to all areas of the defense.

The schedule isn’t too bad. Okie State is going to be a headache offensively, very much resembling Oregon from last year in terms of scheme and balance in throwing and running the ball. But defensively they were pretty bad, finishing a whopping 101st in the nation in total defense last year. After hosting Cal in week two, we go to Baylor, a team widely picked at the bottom of the Big 12. Then it’s home for Portland State before Oregon comes to town on 9/27. That first month is going to be an adventure, as there are so many unknowns at this point.

I know this is all worst-case-scenario, and it’s a gloomy outlook. Who knows, maybe everything comes together on offense and Rogers-to-Gibson will be a weekly headline. Maybe the running game comes together behind four O-line starters from 2007. Maybe the defense improves like we believe it will under the new direction of Ball and Sears. And maybe we stay healthy and the dreaded “d” word – depth – doesn’t become as issue. And yeah, that’s why the play the games, after all, and we will always have hope. But this is how I see it.

10 – Stanford – 2008 might not be quite as bad as last year, but it could still be a big-time struggle on offense. QB Tavita Pritchard didn’t have a stellar spring, and even though he started seven games last year, beat USC and is on top of the depth chart after practice sessions, it still sounds as though the job is open. Jason Forcier, a transfer from Michigan, will be in the mix to at least compete for the backup job, if not get some snaps with the 1’s. WR Richard Sherman looks like the top returning offensive weapon. Sherman had a team-high 651 receiving yards, averaging a strong 16.7 yards per catch to go with 4 TD’s. Sherman has really good quickness and size for the position (6-3, 190). WR’s Mark Bradford and Evan Moore combined for 90 catches last year, but both have finally moved on. Yet Sherman should still be a weapon to be accounted for on every snap.

Stanford has nine starters back on defense, the most among Pac-10 teams for 2008. That includes their three best defensive linemen and their entire starting LB corps. LB Clinton Snyder is the top guy on D. The senior is huge at 6-4, 241, and had 96 tackles last year, averaging 8 per game. He also had eight sacks, showing his all-around versatility. But they lost their d-coordinator Scott Shafer to Michigan. Shafer is though of as a defensive guru with a very bright future. But that said, it might be time for a new voice. Stanford finished 107th against the pass, and 98th in total defense, so maybe a new DC isn’t the worst thing in the world. You could also put some blame on the lackluster D towards the feeble offense. Nothing deflates a defense more than constantly having to come back on the field after yet another three-and-out by the offense. If the O can at least inch closer to average this year, the defense should benefit tremendously.

Stanford’s schedule is a little odd. They play their first two games against Pac-1o foes, opening at home vs. the Beavers on a Thursday night, August 28th game before heading to Tempe to take on the Sun Devils on September 6th. They don’t play out of conference until at TCU on the 13th, their third game of the season. But they play a total of seven road games, and that will be their undoing. While they are headed in the right direction, 2008 will still be tough. Losing their WR depth will hurt, and the QB situation still looks unsettled. Combine all that with the idea that they have seven road games next season, including at ASU, at Oregon and at Cal, it’s not a stretch to see a 10th place finish. But I will say this – this could be the last year in a while that we see them down here. Times are changing at Palo Alto, and Harbaugh has things headed in the right direction. Stanford is great in so many other sports, and I have a feeling that football isn’t going to languish much longer.

So there you have it. My thoughts on the conference, 2008-style. Look for more this week from Brinkhater, Hooty and Rooster as they share their 2K8 opinions on the Pac-10. Most of all, HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Boys Will Be Boys? Hardly.

January 31, 2008

So now that the Times has finished serving it’s 4-course meal of UW thugism (plus one inspirational story of Anthony Kelley’s success, despite the program) , what do we as Cougar fans think? Plenty, obviously. But I’m going to take a slightly different angle.

No jokes or barbs tonight. Why? Too easy to kick a dog while it lies in the gutter? Too easy to laugh and make fun of a program that was out of control because this level of thugism hasn’t happened at my school? Nope. I’m not going there, because it doesn’t feel right. At all. The jokes aren’t very funny when you think of the victims in all this. Like the girl who was raped by Jerramy Stevens, only to have the case hidden away from public view and Stevens got to keep playing. Or the battered women in the lives of Pharms or Curtis Williams. Or how about the regular, non-football people that were beaten senseless in all the assault cases and fights?

More than anything, I’m just embarrassed in reading all that stuff. I’m embarrassed for the victims of these thugs. I’m embarrassed that prosecutor Norm Maleng in King County chose to look the other way in many instances, if not bury evidence that only recently came to light due to the Times reporters requesting that records become unsealed. Like Vince said earlier in the week at SR.com, I’m mad too that people that were trusted in authority acted like complete idiots when they should have done the right thing, time and time again.

I’m embarrassed that 25 players from that 2000 team were arrested at some point or another during their stay at UW. That’s not boys being boys. That is much, much worse. I’m embarrassed for Rick Neuheisel. He should be, without question, absolutely ashamed of what happened on his watch. The element that was rampant during his run as head coach is pathetic and inexcusable. I seriously wonder what UCLA officials might have thought if these details came to light before they hired old Rick. He might still be a QB coach in the NFL right about now. Who knows, maybe Roger Goodell would suspend him if he were currently on an NFL staff! What a joke.

But most of all, I’m embarrassed for family and friends associated with UW in one form or another. Family and friends that adored that 2000 team, with all their Tui-led comebacks, and how tarnished that must feel now. I mean put yourself in their shoes for a moment – what if, say, the Spokesman suddenly rolled out a series of F-UPS from the 1997 WSU Rose Bowl team, or the 2002 Rose Bowl team? And what if it happened the week before letter-of-intent signing day, as well as in the drive to get the stadium renovated? I’d be bitter, angry, defensive, probably a little in denial. But most of all, EMBARRASSED AND ASHAMED THAT IT HAPPENED AT MY SCHOOL. I would only hope that we could learn from history, for those that don’t are doomed to repeat it.

Some of you know I have family with very deep UW ties, family that have donated and supported the UW program since before I was even born. Without question, I’m embarrassed for them, and I hope beyond anything else that they were as unaware of these things as you and me.

Ok, down off the soapbox.

A’i Ahmu got arrested for mixing it up at Pike’s, including underage drinking and busting a window. That’s now two projected starters, Xavier Hicks the other, that have screwed up in the last month. As Vince says in his blog, all eyes – including the eyes of players – are on the coaching staff to see how they handle these things. Wulff said himself the day he took the job that there needed to be a culture change in the program. Not to speculate – but that’s all blogs really do, speculate based on what’s in the news? – but maybe there is some deeper problems with this program other than changing the culture? All I know is that in light of these recent UW stories, the media near and far is going to be on high-alert in scouting out player indiscretions. Let’s hope Wulff and company do the right thing, no matter the caliber of player, if they cross the line that we all know is out there.

On a much better, happy note, I heard a great Wulff recruiting story today. Turns out that after the big recruiting weekend after the Oregon basketball game, a bunch of recruits and their families took a bus to Spokane on Monday to catch their flights home. Well, halfway to Spokane, the bus breaks down. They are in the middle of nowhere (you’ve made that drive a million times, so you can picture exactly where I’m talking about), and not only is the bus broken down, but there’s NO HEAT on the bus. Our Pullman source says it was 29 degrees INSIDE THE BUS. So Wulff gets the call that the bus is broken down. But what does he do? Yes, he gets the wheels in motion, so to speak, to have a replacement bus sent right away. But he also hits the road and drives out to where they are and waits with the players and families the whole time until the replacement bus arrives and takes them on their way! No way was he just going to sit there in his office while his recruits and their families shivered in the cold. And how did that work out? Every player on that bus – every one – ended up committing to WSU! Well, ok, that’s not 100% true. There was one player who did commit, but ended up changing his mind and is now headed for USC (you can probably figure out who). But otherwise, every other player is set to become Cougs! I couldn’t help but be impressed by that story. I know it’s not THAT big of a deal, but that kind of stuff goes a long way in the eyes of players and families. It shows what kind of guy Wulff is, and that uh, yeah, I think we’ve got ourselves one hell of a recruiter running the show! Major hat-tip to coach Wulff on that one.

I look to my left, I look to my right, I look straight ahead, and still no Erik Bedard. What a soap opera. Tonight, Geoff Baker has the audio clip of Adam Jones over the weekend telling the reporter that he had been traded in the Bedard deal and that he was headed for Baltimore the following day. Wow. What a weird story this has become. Why can’t trades just get done anymore? Now many claim that Angelos is upset that Jones spilled the beans and is trying a last-ditch effort to ink Bedard to an extension. Yet the offer of 4-for-Bedard, headlined by Jones, is by far the best the O’s are going to get. Especially when you look at the haul that the Mets gave the Twins for Santana, without giving up their top hitting or top pitching prospect? I guess there’s a reason the O’s have had 10 straight losing seasons, and really have zero hope for any success for the next several years. Angelos is borderline-insane in his mini-Steinbrenner ways, and he’s on the verge of seriously blowing it!

Monday Morning Information Overload

January 28, 2008

Lots of stuff buzzing so we’ll get right to it:

  1. Win some/lose some department – Cougfan has been all over the Cougar recruiting news, and there was some new info trickling out yesterday. Basically we stole one from UW (Cory Mackay, 6-4 WR, officially verballed to WSU); grabbed a 4-star JC defensive lineman (Bernard Wolfgramm, a pass-rusher everyone thought was headed to K-State); and finally, lost a possible diamond in the rough in Brian Baucham to USC. Baucham, you’ll remember, looked pretty good on tape last week. Only a 2-star prospect, but a kid with what looks like big-play ability. Come on Peter Perfect Carroll, you just had to steal one of ours? Didn’t you do that last year? Oh well. Maybe he’s mad about Bumpus refusing his grey-shirt offer in ’04 and coming to WSU when they kicked him to the curb for Dwayne Jarrett?

    There is some news that Kent WR/Safety Brandon Turner returned from his trip to the Palouse, but still no commitment. Turner is a 2-star player who interests WSU, but our own “source” in Kent says he’s good, yet not exactly a game-breaker. In fact, our source went on to tell me that WSU can probably go better and he’s a borderline D-1 player. Hmm, 6-3, 197, runs a reported 4.46? Sounds good to me!

  2. Yes, Brinkhater, we saw a return to Bennett Ball on Saturday. 56-55 is much more like it, but my God, I was sweating the last few minutes. Yikes. I really wonder where our heads might have been today had ASU won that game. Still, 4 homes games in a row coming up and a shot at 7-2 for the first half of the season if we can sweep the Bay Area schools. 7-2 when 5 of 9 games are on the road?? HELL YES I’ll take that!
  3. Speaking of the hoops team, looks like we’re #9 in the latest polls. Seems about right. A 1-1 split in the desert isn’t easy. And further, on the Arizona game – PLEASE STOP all the “we suck” talk. We don’t suck. But Arizona is better than we think they are. They had a white-hot weekend sweeping the Washington schools, as they blew out the Dawgs on Saturday. No matter what anyone says, they are still Arizona. We’ll see what happens when they cool off a bit and hit frosty Pullman next month!
  4. So, Erik Bedard – is he or isn’t he a Mariner? You hear Geoff Baker of the Times talk, the deal is now done and will be announced probably tomorrow afternoon after Jones passes his physical. I heard him on KJR this AM and he says it’s done. He also says that the M’s will sign Brad Wilkerson to a 1-year deal as soon as the deal is done to at least platoon in right field. The other names in the deal are George Sherill, and then it gets a little cloudy. Probably a combo of Tillman and Butler, a couple of minor-league arms with upside. Some had said it’ll be a 5-for-1, with another high-ceiling prospect going to Baltimore, but that isn’t clear yet. We do know that Jones has been yanked for good from winter ball, and Jones said in an interview that Bavasi told him to go to Baltimore for a physical and he was the centerpiece of a trade for Bedard. Hmm. Yet Baltimore denies it right now, and the windbag Peter Angelos hasn’t made up his mind yet?? He’s famous for pulling the plug on deals, he’s done it in the past and you know he’ll do it again. We’ll see, but stay tuned.

    I’ll say this – I heard Mitch Levy on KJR say it this AM, and I totally agree – the hardest things to find in sports are 1) a franchise QB, 2) an all-star NBA center, and 3) a legit ACE on an MLB staff. Those things don’t grow on trees. So when you find yourself at a moment that could see it happen, well, you go for it. I love what I’ve seen of Adam Jones, and I think he’s going to be a wonderful player. Better than Mike Cameron, and probably a parallel to Torii Hunter, if not even better when it’s all said and done. But Erik Bedard, my God, how do you pass on that? You know he was better than even the great Johan Santana in a lot of categories last year? And he’s 28, with 2 more years at least under contract? Jayson Stark said that he’s easily right there with Santana as the best lefthanded starter in BASEBALL. And he’s recently said that he’ll be open to talks of a contract extension? The very thought of pairing Bedard with Felix at the top of the rotation is really, really exciting. And the staff, 1-5, rounds out nicely with Bedard, Felix, Batista, Silva and Washburn. I’d put that 5 up against a lot of staffs in the AL, and it certainly matches up better with the Halos. And who knows, if these guys can get deep into games, the bullpen stays fresher, etc. It could be one interesting summer at the Safe IF this deal happens!

  5. So how about that UW story in the Times?? The story stinks so badly that they have to spread it out over FOUR DAYS of in-depth sleeze. Wow. And they want $150 million of King County tax money?? How many soccer moms in King County, who had no clue about any of this, are throwing up in their morning latte’s? Rape with Jerramy Stevens, among a long list of F-UPS?? Shootings with bloody fingerprints of Pharms, yet they let him play?? What’s next? It’s obvious the state reps have heard from some registered voters over the last week or so, hence the about face of Dr. Evil himself, Frank Chopp. But, remember, this isn’t just front-page sports page news. This is TOP FOLD, A1, front page news on the most circulated paper in the pacific NW. Hard to ignore these kinds of stories. I don’t know how much of you have read it so far, but it’s pretty disgusting. A fan of UW, WSU or Spokane Falls CC, the thing is an embarrassment for college sports.
  6. Have you heard the one about the most hated owner in the NW mocking a Sonics fan at the Key last night, to the extent that he did a “boo hoo” face to him and then had him ejected from the arena?? What a pile Cash-us Clay has turned out to be. No matter what happens, be it the city loses the case and they are out of here, or they are here for 2 more seasons, or he eventually sells, at least we know we won’t have to look at “crap with feet” forever. I just want the damn thing to be over with.

Enjoy your week!