Archive for the ‘Vince Grippi’ Category

Did EA Deliver the Goods?

July 15, 2009

I know, more video game “dorkus-melorkus” alerts. But yesterday is a bit of a landmark day around the country for NCAA fans, as EA Sports shipped out the latest incarnation of their college football experience. And lo and behold, the game was sitting on the doorstep when I got home from work last night. Cool.

As a Coug fan, what else could I do but pop it in the X-Box 360 and give it a go with WSU? So I immediately went in and chose Stanford at WSU, the Cougs’ season opener this year.

First off, as you can see, they more or less missed on some key spots of Martin Stadium. Namely the renovation, yeah, it didn’t make it. No new stadium entrance sign, no new facilities along Stadium Way, no new scoreboard, no new CUB addition. Basically nothing new whatsoever from last year. And hey, the big white banner is back! Wasn’t that ripped off in, like, 2005?? For whatever reason, the stadium is a version from a couple of years ago.

That said, I’m not too nit-picky. It’s still nice to look at, and they did a good job. The overall experience did feel like you were watching a game in Pullman. The lighting in the game with the sun and clouds and shadows is really dynamic. But maybe next year for little ‘ol Martin Stadium?

The game itself is alright. It’s not the greatest game ever, but it’s still entertaining. They introduced new camera angles this year so you can see more of the field, so that’s cool. There are some new animations with catching and throwing. I even had some plays in the rain where wide receivers slipped running routes. My QB even slipped as he was going back to pass, and had to put his hand down to avoid falling to the ground.

I know uniforms are always a good topic, and this year EA lets you mix-n-match. This should stop the bitching from the fans who complain that they “didn’t get the fourth alternate version of our road uni’s in the game! LAZY EA PROGRAMMERS!” Now, I’m not as hardcore as some others out there, who spend hours ripping EA Sports for not giving teams their correct shoe-and-sock combination. I just like to pick up and play the thing, that’s all.

It’s not all good however. As always, there are some issues with this year’s game, including some woefully out-of-date rosters that shipped on the disc and a big problem with the defensive pass-rush, or lack thereof. But I haven’t spent any time with it to really know. I do know that my Coug offensive line had a hell of a time trying to block Stanford, and both Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael took some wicked-hard shots from their defensive line. Pass rush seemed fine to me!

Erin Andrews is in the game this year! Suh-weet! She hosts some game mode called “Road to Glory”…..uh, yeah.

She also pops up in-game for her ever-informational sideline reports, such as player injuries.

Works for me.

Oh, and yep, the Cougs are pretty much awful in the game. EA rates them I think around 111 in the country or some God-awful rating like that? Yeesh. Oh, I did have one cool play, a long kickoff return that nearly went for six. Check out the video highlight after the jump….

EA Sports: NCAA Football 10 Video

He could…go…all…the….nope, didn’t make it. Of course, the offense would stall and I was forced to kick a field goal. And what are the cheerleaders looking at?? We know you are all about entertaining the crowd, but TURN AROUND! The game is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!

Finally, we’ll use NCAA 10 to simulate the upcoming season. Each week we’ll have the Cougs square off against their opponent, and we’ll report back on the results, including photos and video. Sound good?

Moving on, Grippi at the Spokesman dragged out the screen and slide projector to share his summer vacation with the Cougar Nation. Pretty cool experiences overall. I missed the part where he says he saw Transformers and Star Trek about 100 times, but that’s for him to tell?

There’s another new diary at Cougfan, this time by senior defensive end Kevin Kooyman. It’s a pretty good read, detailing the hard work in the weight room and some highlights in skeleton drills.

But he also took questions from the masses, including this one:

Response to SelahCoug: The d-tackles are looking very good. I think we’re going to see a lot from Toby Turpin, who is nearly 300 pounds now, and Bernard Wolfgramm, who is coming back strong after his injury. We are going to have good size and speed across the entire d-line this year. We fully expect a dramatic change in how the d-line plays this year.

SelahCoug? We’ve got a SelahCoug who posts here. HAS to be the same guy?? But seriously, I like the sound of the d-tackles looking good. You can feel that Toby Turpin could have a real breakthrough season, but I really like hearing Bernard Wolfgramm is coming back strong after his injuries. There may not be a more important position on the field that needed improvement than the defensive front, and any tidbit of good news is GOLD BABY, GOLD!

Teddy “Football” Miller weighed in on his “Don’t Be Surprised…” series with WSU. And his quote in bold pretty much says it all:

Don’t be surprised if …Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk, no matter what happens this season, remains optimistic that coach Paul Wulff is going to turn things around.

The only thing we could argue there is that IF it’s more of 66-3-type performances? Even Sterk will let some air out of the Wulff balloon. Would anyone remain optimistic no matter what happens this season? We’re understanding of the situation and trying to be patient, but optimism will wane big-time if it’s 2008 all over again.

That’s it for a Wednesday. Enjoy it, and as always, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR WASHINGTON STATE!

Who’s Carrying the Mail?

July 10, 2009

First off, a hearty WELCOME BACK to Sir Vincent Grippi, the best of the best Coug sportswriter in these here parts! Grippi has returned from a several-week hiatus, back to provide the fantastic coverage in ways only a champion can do. As many folks have already commented on the Spokesman-Review site, he’s a welcome sight for these sore eyes….

And in the usual fashion, back from vacation and some big news breaks. You probably heard already, but WSU’s budget information is making the rounds as of yesterday afternoon, and guess what? Per Sir Grippi, it ain’t bad. The gist: No sports have been cut, as all 17 men’s and women’s programs will continue to soldier on. But still, when you are dealing with nearly a million in revenue shortfall, you aren’t going to get off totally unscathed:

The athletic department, according to Sterk, had already instituted cost-cutting measures – “We’ve got a hit list about a page long of things we’ve done,” he said – and those will continue. They include leaving open positions unfilled, cutting back on travel for international recruiting and professional development, using ground transportation to competitions within 400 miles of Pullman (including Seattle football games), limiting the number of athletic publications and possibly cutting travel-squad sizes.

All sound, responsible decisions in these tough times. But you know what? Even in tough times like these, it’s those who have been fiscally responsible all along who will survive. And WSU is no stranger to being responsible, per the article from the AP in late June. We are used to doing more with less, so this shouldn’t be THAT big of a deal??

Moving on, we continue to look at the state of our Cougs on a position-by-position basis. Earlier in the week it was the QB’s. Today, it’s running back. Who’s going to carry the mail in ’09? Will someone emerge from what looks like it could be a crowded backfield? Or will it be a by-committee approach, where everyone will get a chance to do some heavy lifting? Let’s take a look-see….

First of all, we would be remiss if we didn’t look back at the running game from last year. And in 2008, it wasn’t pretty. As in 95.1 yards per game, good for a measly 110th in the country in rushing yards. And in those 95.1 yards per game, they averaged just 2.7 yards per carry.

Not good is it? Generally you want at least three yards per carry (three yards and a cloud of dust?), but something closer to four would be nice.

That said, in a weird way 2008 wasn’t all that bad in that there was some depth that emerged at the position. Dwight Tardy led the team in carries (133) and yards (481), but still averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. But the numbers overall for Tardy were down across the board compared to his pre-knee injury days in ’07. In that year, Tardy had 676 yards and 6 TD’s, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, before going down in the 8th game vs. UCLA. That 3.6 yards per carry is over a full yard less per touch compared to ’07. And looking back to ’06, Tardy logged 667 yards and four TD’s on 4.6 yards per carry.

So ’08 was definitely a down year across the board for Dwight.

So, was his downturn in performance related to the knee injury? It’s hard to say. I think it’s reasonable to look at his performance at times last year and wonder if he had lost some of his explosiveness. But at the same time, there were moments where he ran extremely hard. He had 75 tough yards vs. UW, and the following week vs. Hawaii averaged 4.1 yards per carry, scoring the only TD of the game for the Cougs. But it also must be said that the offensive line woes contributed mightily to the situation. The O-line was a jumbled mess through the first several games of ’08, where the same lineup didn’t start consecutive games until well into the latter part of the schedule. Such a lack of continuity made the running game suffer, heck, the entire offense suffered last year and a lot of the blame can be placed on the “fluid” situation up front. But that’s a post for another day….

The bright spot? Logwone Mitz. The kid is one physical dude, a bruising package at 6-1, 225. And who can forget his huge 57-yard TD run vs. UW in the third quarter of the Apple Cup, a play that seemed to lift the entire team in the second half?

While Mitz was second to Tardy in carries (90) and yards (441), he did tie for the team lead in TD’s with three. But the most impressive thing about Mitz? His yards-per-carry came in at nearly FIVE per touch (4.9). So even just sharing the load, in his physical style of play, he still was effective in moving the pile. Impressive stuff from a redshirt frosh, and a necessary ingredient for a balanced, effective running game. Flash-n-dash is nice, but man, you gotta convert those short yardage situations. Mitz is the lunchpail and hardhat type, unafraid to get a little dirt under his nails during a hard day’s work. Yes, WE LIKE MITZ around here!

The wild-card, without a doubt, is James Montgomery. The heralded transfer from Cal, Montgomery was a Parade All-American in high school, where he ran for over 4900 yards and 82 td’s. had him as the 14th-best running back coming out in ’06, and after a redshirt year, he played in every game for Cal in ’07.

Now after sitting out ’08 due to transfer rules, the junior-to-be is ready for action. More of a home-run big-play type compared to Mitz and Tardy, Monty will be right in line for plenty of carries this fall.

Yes, there are others in the mix, like Chris Ivory and Chantz Staden. But right now, it’s clear that the position is all about Tardy, Mitz and Montgomery. Per the spring depth chart, Tardy was listed as the starter, while Mitz and Montgomery were backups. But I think we can all agree that those three guys bring something a little different to the table. And, no matter who prevails as the starter vs. Stanford 9/5, you can bet that all three are going to get significant opportunities for touches.

So what do YOU think? Does Tardy get the starting nod, based on his experience as the senior returner? Should Mitz get more looks as the feature guy, and not so much the short-yardage type? Or, is it time to hand the keys to arguably the most talented offensive skill position player on the roster in James Montgomery and see what happens? Let’s get your takes on what could be the deepest, most productive position on the ’09 Cougar offense!

That’s it for a Friday. Enjoy it, and as always, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR WASHINGTON STATE!

Tuedays with the REAL Moron (BH)

February 24, 2009

How you doin’ Cougar Nation?

Hope you’re having a great start to your week.

Well, after being accustomed to the great rantings of Uncle Sedihwak each Tuesday, homeboy had to go fire up a three day set of all day meetings in the A-T-L.

So, I’m pinch hitting for him this week.

That said, because I already AM a total moron, I’m going to replicate Sedi’s great work by simply doing what I do:

Be REAL dumb.

With that in mind, here we go:

IS Taylor Rochestie an NBA player?

A couple of months ago, I would have told you absolutely “NO!!!!!!!” But after watching him over the last couple of weeks, I am not so sure. Granted, there have been times that he has tried to do too much. But, if you put that aside (and the context which creates it), why not consider his upside?:

1) Fantastic conditioning and stamina
2) Very good on-the-ball defender
3) Solid ball handler
4) Changes speeds well
5) Shoots fairly well on the move
6) Has Decent Range
7) Has a high assist-to-turnover ratio
8) Comes from a winning program

For BH, that’s a lot of upside. Moreover, after seeing my non-main-man Jose Barea play a couple of times over the last two weeks

I can tell you that I like Taylor’s chances even more. After all, Barea now plays about 21 minutes for the Dallas Mavericks even though he stands at only 6 feet, has no hops, and really doesn’t defend that well. But, he shoots well and distributes.

If Taylor wants it, I think there’s a two or three year roster spot for him somewhere in the league….
So, Andy Pandy Katz says that there is NO WAY that WSU can make the NCAAs as at large team.

I only half agree with him. There’s NO WAY that we can make the NCAAs. But if we did, it would be AS AN AT LARGE TEAM.

Although the pundits don’t agree with me, none of them are lifetime wanna-be-bracketologists.

And that’s why they’re actually paid sportswriters.

In my opinion, the magic number for this group is FIVE. That’s right FIVE.

Win five games before our exit in the Pac-10 tournament and we dance for three years in a row. Consider the four ways we could do that:

1) Win one regular season game and then win the Pac-10 tournament. Result: we’re in. (but we can never win 4 games in 4 days with Taylor playing 38+ minutes a game. That will NEVER happen).

2) Win two regular season games and then reach the Pac-10 tournament final. That winds up being 11-11 in conference and 19-15 overall. That’s a bit of a stretch because of the Taylor fatigue factor, but it also probably gives us 4 wins over ranked teams in the seasons final 2+ weeks. Result: with a soft bubble, we sneak in.

3) Win three regular season games and then win two games in the Pac-10 tournament. Result: we finish 11-10 in conference and 19-14 overall. Lots of losses there to be sure. But, depending on how the conference splits over the next two weeks, we would have road wins @ASU, @UCLA, and @UW. Plus we’d have home wins over AZ & ASU, plus a neutral court win over ASU, UW, UCLA, or CAL depending on the split.

That’s “in” folks, no matter how anyone else wants to cut it. Twelve seed here we come!
Since winning the 2008 Washington Sportswriter of the Year Award, our main man Vince Grippi has been tearing up the blogosphere. Yesterday, he did his best Uncle Remus post:

In that post, Grippi describes the happenings of the song birds in his yard.

And in other days, well, he does what Vince does:

He reports.

Its not that I dislike Vince’s reporting ’cause god knows I WANT TO BE GRIPPI and I troll the internet hourly waiting for what he has to say.

But I think that I echo the sentiment of many in Cougar Nation in asking Vince to give a bit more of himself. Like, give his opinion early, often, and FOREVER.

Take yesterday’s post an example. In that post, Vince talks about the rat-race that the Pac-10 has become.

Vince, what I WANT in a post like that is for you to tell us what the hell is going to happen in that race, not provide some vague metaphor for how the race relates to the Robins and the snow!

So tell us what’s going on inside of YOUR BRAIN instead of just telling us what’s going on in general.

It’s YOU we’re interested in Vince.

It’s you!

Now What?

November 24, 2008

It’s Monday morning, and I think the fans are STILL ON THE FIELD.

As we bask in the glow of another Apple Cup triumph (now four out of the last five), even in this worst-ever season, it never gets old to win your rivalry game. The beer tastes better, food tastes better, hell, the mundane like going to work or school gives you a little pep in your step.

Now, sure, no crowd has probably ever stormed the field after beating an 0-11 team… least I doubt it has ever happened…..but does it even matter? Look, if you are a Coug, you have suffered this year. You have been there debating on message boards and leaving comments about what is wrong today, how difficult this change has been on the players and coaches, and maybe even more so, you have dissected when and how it all went wrong. We all have our theories or sources or whatever. It has been that kind of year.

But all that frustration of 2008 came rushing out late Saturday afternoon. After all the hard work, all the embarrassing blowouts, all the local and national talk of WSU looking like one of the worst BCS teams of all time? That all went away – at least for a while – when Grasu calmly drilled his third and final field goal of the day.

Quick side note….what did I tell you about taking the underdog in a rivalry game?? Especially when the teams are relatively even in terms of record, etc. Said underdog has now covered the spread in seven of the last eight Apple Cups. It’s no fluke. But I also have to raise my hand to say that yes, I called UW to win this thing, 17-16. ON a field goal by UW! Whoops. Never, ever been so happy to be so wrong.

Speaking of predictions. Brinkhater and I were talking, and decided to actually tally up our picks from 2008 Football Friday on Thursday, and how we stood up to the experts. And who better to compare ourselves against? How about the top local guy and national guy who do these things on a weekly basis, in the people’s choice, Vince Grippi, and ESPN’s Ted Miller?

Even if you aren’t curious, here are the updated numbers, through Saturday’s games (note that these are NOT against the spread, only winners/losers):

Ted Miller: 54-15
Vince Grippi: 53-16

Brinkhater: 52-19

Sedihawk: 51-20
Longball: 22-9

Note that we’ve picked more games than they have, as we usually make a national game pick outside of the Pac-10. But still, not bad for a few hacks in blogger-ville.

But seriously, now what? There is, after all, a game this Saturday night over on the island. Will coach Wulff get them excited to do more than hang out at the beach? It’s pretty clear, at least what Wulff said yesterday in his Sunday presser, that he has his work cut out for him.

“It can be (difficult) if we don’t handle it right,” said Wulff, the WSU coach. “The other thing is, you come off a big, emotional game, then you go to a place that’s historically challenging to play at for anybody.

“So yeah, this is going to be a tough, tough test for our psyche.”

Maybe that’s at least part of the reason they are a 28-point underdog to a 6-5 WAC team?? However, WSU has now covered the last three games, so we’ve got that going for us….but let’s face it, college football is one of the most emotional sports on the planet. As Keith Jackson has famously said, trying to predict what 18-22 year olds are going to do on a weekly basis will drive you crazy.

That said, maybe, just maybe, this Apple Cup win, a game they pulled out in the face of adversity, will be a turning point? A game in which the team had so many chances to just give up, when it looked like UW was going to salt this thing away, yet someone kept stepping up to keep it close? Maybe, just maybe, some of these guys are starting to believe?

We’ll take a closer look at Hawaii later this week, in our usual way. And the Wulff radio show will air TONIGHT, so we’ll have our usual recap up tomorrow morning. As always, ENJOY YOUR MONDAY, and GO COUGS!

Grippi Accepts, WSU Football Blog Concedes Defeat

November 6, 2008

Pullman, WA–Amidst a flurry of controversy surrounding the outcome of the election, the Grippi-Blanchette ticket today shocked the world by declaring themselves the victors of the highly contested contest for Washington State College Sportswriters of the Year. In a statement released on the Spokesman Review’s website, Grippi said:

Though there is no way I can make a victory speech as literate and as moving as our next president’s, I can make one that fits the tenor of the recent election held on the WSU football blog. Yes, I know we didn’t get a majority of the votes (though we did get a plurality, which makes us the winner – see Dino, I told you an Italian could win in this state), and yes, I know Bud Withers voted 22 times for us (thanks, Bud), and, yes, I’m aware Jim Moore thought he was ordering a new lite beer from Miller called Sedihawk when he accidentally voted for our esteemed opponent, but still we are thankful there are 89 people out there who had nothing better to do than waste their time … sorry … express themselves, in such a manner. We are truly humbled. And we promise to serve all Cougar constituents as well as we can over the next few months. Unless, of course, we win the lottery.

Following the announcement, Sedihawk and Brinkhater convened with campaign chair Longball, as well as the campaign’s lawyers, where they apparently decided to concede. Moments later, Brinkhater released the following statement:

After much deliberation, it became apparent to our campaign that Cougar Nation has spoken and spoken loudly. While we wish that the outcome of the election had been different, we wish to offer our congratulations to the Grippi and Blanchette campaign for the quiet–in fact silent–eloquence that they exhibited throughout what was a grueling 10 day campaign.

Now that they have won the election, Sedihawk and I promise to work alongside Grippi, Blanchette, and the Spokesman Review staff to provide Cougar Nation with the best sportswriting in the country.

In addition, it is also our intention to work alongside Vince Grippi in a new campaign to make sure that JT Levenseller is appointed as the starting quarterback of Washington State University’s football team as soon as possible.

Thank you.

While Brinkhater’s innuendo was interpreted by some writers and school officials as flip, sources close to both campaigns suggested that a collaboration between the WSU Football Blog and Sportslink was possible if not imminent:

“One thing we know now is that none of the previous rules of reporting and engagement apply,” the source said.

“This is a new age for print and cyber media folks alike and the uniqueness of this Cougar Football season only adds to the novelty and complexity of the current environment. One can only imagine what might be possible and forthcoming with this new, post-partisan coalition of WSU Sportswriters.”

Stay Tuned.

WSU Football Blog Aims to Hit Home Run

October 25, 2008


ONALASKA, WA–“Hello, Logger Nation!” exclaimed Brinkhater to a capacity crowd on Day two of the WSU Football Blog’s campaign for College Football Sportswriters of the Year.

“Its good to be back in the place where all things that start off Purple and Gold grow up to see the light of Crimson and Gray! And on a clear day in Onalaska, legend has it that you can actually see Russia!”

According to campaign officials, the purpose of the Blog’s swing through the battleground of Southwestern Washington was for Brinkhater and Sedihawk to present a set of talking points which they hope will lead them victory in November.

With that goal in mind, campaign officials hoped that the two might be able to construct a narrative around the three pillars of their campaign: Experienced Leadership, Trust, and Fiscal Responsibility.

“In this day and age, any Tom, Dick, or Sherry can start a blog” noted Sedihawk, the Blog’s co-founder.

“You know that, I know that, and the American People know that.”

“But I also want you all to know and remember that Brinkhater and I started the WSU Football Blog before those large newspapers even knew what a Blog was. So, I ask you: when times are uncertain as these times are, who can you really trust to advance the cause of Cougar Nation when you need things done right?”

“Also too,” noted Brinkhater as the applause subsided, “You will hear all of the other candidates talk about their records of outstanding journalism and how they are worthy of your trust as such. But I ask you–I beseech you–how many of those other corporate, liberal media types have shown something even more important?”

What I am saying is, how many of them have adequately proven that they actually trust YOU?”

Amidst a chorus of boo birds, Sedihawk noted that other media outlets have made life miserable for those who wish to comment on their Blogs. Among the hassles he noted on opponent’s web-sites were constant mandates to disclose e-mail addresses, names, addresses and zip codes, phone numbers, and dates of birth.

“The only thing they don’t ask for is your Social Security number,” Sedihawk lamented to the crowd.

“But we at the WSU Football Blog have never done that!” Brinkhater interjected to thunderous applause.

“And we never will!”

“You have our word on that,” the two exclaimed in chorus. “And that is why we are running for College Sportswriters of the Year!”

While the two were supposed to include additional discussion of their record of Fiscal Responsibility, they apparently forgot to do so. And, instead, quickly dove into the crowd.

In other developments at the event, the WSU Football Blog also announced that fellow blogger Longball was appointed Chair, Adviser, and Manager of the campaign.

In the first definitive act in his new role, Mr. Longball addressed reporters after the event.

“These guys are really something. You know, at first, I was just a lonely guy who posted on the Blog every once in a while. But then one day, they asked me to join the team. Next thing I know, I have a new job and I’m getting regular offers from Fortune 500 companies just about every week.”

“So, the message we’re trying to put out there is that these guys are more than just outstanding sportswriters, they’ve also got a proven record of creating jobs.”

“So it’s my role in the campaign to make sure that America sees that.”

But sources close to the campaign suggest that doing so will be no easy task.

In only two short days, the trio has completely exhausted its limited budget and is struggling to find sources to supplement their weak cash reserves.

“The fact that Brinkhater still lives with his parents helps” a source close to the campaign noted, “but look what they’re up against: three multi-million dollar corporations. And their name recognition is barely polling in the double digits.”

Over the coming days, the trio plans to make their way up the I-5 corridor en route to traversing towns around the Olympic Peninsula including Hoquiam, Chehalis, Sheldon, Sequim, Quilcene, and Neah Bay.

“We will not stop until the entire state has heard our message.” Sedihawk promised.

But there’s only one week left. Stay tuned.