Archive for the ‘WSU Flag’ Category

Wednesday Fun With Video

November 26, 2008

Well well well….look who’s missing from this week’s ESPN “Bottom Ten”? Or better yet, look who’s #1?

Ouch. Never mind that we would probably be seven-or-more-point underdogs to at least half the teams on that list, but the point is we’re no longer there.

Kind of a weird week, what with the holiday and all. So I thought we’d take a look at some of the video from this last week, and there is some great stuff out there. We’ll look at Hawaii later, for our usual Football Friday, but for now, some video.

First, of course, the Apple Cup. Our own Hooty had a great shot of the game-winner, and the mad dash to the field. If you haven’t seen it already, or would like to see it again, you can check that out here.

But there are others out there who got some video up as soon as that game was over. CougarChris624 had this great look at the game, with photos and actual video from the game (including the Wulff shuffle).

Sorry coach, I think Jean Claude Van-Damme’s dance is better.

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Anyway, good work Chris. CougarChris624 is actually Chris Boyd, a 2006 WSU grad who has done some other excellent Coug video. We will likely do some things with him in the future.

Another clip, this one from KXLY. It has some good sideline shots, but the big thing here is to hear Bob-Rob & Jim call the winning kick.


Finally, Saturday was ESPN’s Gameday feature on the WSU flag. It’s quick, only about three minutes and change, and they do make fun of us as being pretty bad. But still, hey, it’s nice that they threw us a bone.

It’s pretty amazing to think Crimson and Whitey have made the trip for 74 straight shows!?!? Always a source of pride to see it Saturday mornings.

That’s it for a light Wednesday. Enjoy your day, and GO COUGS!

Apple Cup Primer

November 22, 2008

Still hanging in there, week after week. Great job Will and Stephanie Walker, yet again with the screen caps. There is supposed to be video of Don Pounds’ interview with Gameday to come, and we’ll try and link to that as soon as it’s available.

So Apple Cup is here. Excited? There have been so many fantastic games over the years, even last year was a real shoot-out. But no matter what happens, I can’t get 1992 out of my head. I watched some of the replay the other night from that game, where Drew Bledsoe absolutely cemented himself into legend on that crazy day.

The game was something else, with the snow and cold and all that. But one player rose above it all. Bledsoe, wow, just wow. Watching some of those throws he made in that game were truly remarkable. There was one deep 25-yard slant where he hit the WR right in the chest with an absolute bullet. And there was another deep crossing pattern in the end zone where he hit the WR in the corner for a TD with such touch and precision.

But the throw of throws, the catch of catches, was the Philip Bobo deep post, where he slid into the snow bank as he held on with one HELL of a catch. Who can forget that?


The kid was in the zone that day. I mean we knew Bledsoe was going to make millions playing on Sundays, but to see him again on TV this week, after all these years, just stand in there and throw lasers, it really was something else. And even better, he still says to this day that even after the NFL career, the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowls, etc, the most fun and memorable game in his entire life was that Apple Cup.

The other cool thing about that game was what Don James said, after the fact. He said flat-out that WSU was the better team that day, they beat UW, no excuses. But also something else. This was only years later in an interview, but he said without a doubt, the way Bledsoe played in those conditions, the level at which he stepped up his game? It is probably the greatest individual performance in the history of the Apple Cup. Very, very cool indeed, to hear that come from him.

One other thing to take from that game? The size and strength of the athletes, on BOTH sides of the ball. To see those athletes with their speed and strength, some of those guys were just ripped. Maybe that’s where both UW and WSU have fallen a bit, in terms of their size and strength? We know we have stepped back, but UW as well. Just take the “eye” test today while watching the game, and you’ll know what I mean when I say that.

Anyway, great memories. I hope we get something special today as well. You never know, it is the Apple Cup after all, and things just seem to happen in rivalry games. Most of all, I’m just going to have fun with the game today, root for my Cougs, and hope they can pull it out and ease the sting of the worst-season-ever.

That’s it for now. We will probably have a game thread, for those of you not at the game, so drop by if you feel so inclined. ENJOY THE GAME, and GO COUGS!

Need a Reason to Care Today?

November 1, 2008

Happy flag day, once again. For what it’s worth there was a good write-up in the USA Today about the WSU flag. Kind of cool to get some national pub, so check it out.

So today the Cougs take their vaudeville act on the road. This traveling mockery of the sport of football will face a resurgent Stanford team down on the Farm and I am sure many of you are wondering if there is any reason to tune in to the Bob-Rob and Jim radio-only broadcast. I say, emphatically, yes. Yes there is. This weekend you will get to see the vicarious fulfillment of Longball’s childhood dreams. As promised by Coach Wulff, a Pullman Greyhound and native son of the Palouse will take the field as quarterback of the Washington State Cougars.

Admittedly this dream-come-true could end up in 7 interceptions and a broken leg, but for now let me indulge in the hometown hero, scrappy underdog, legacy fulfilling, made-for-TV glory of JT Levenseller’s unlikely rise to quarterback of Quarterback U. Now you all know his dad, and by now you’ve probably heard the prophetic inspiration for the name JT, Jack Thompson. His name represents both ends of one of the greatest Cougar passing attacks of all time. Seriously, this story writes itself.

Three years ago I was in the Tacoma Dome as JT, a Jr. in high school at the time, led Pullman to a state championship over a powerhouse Arch Bishop Murphy team. The victory was sealed by a late game drive capped off by a game winning touchdown pass from JT to his buddy Aaron Pflugrad (does that name sound familiar?). These guys were good. In fact they were so good that year they beat a Prosser team that finished runner-up in the state finals in the division above them. They started their season by blowing out a Hazen team that went to the state playoffs two divisions above them. That team’s success was in no small part due to the leadership, competitiveness, and raw athleticism of their field general, JT Levenseller.

As a kid who grew up in Pullman dreaming of doing what JT is about to do this Saturday, my analytical powers may be compromised by an imagination run wild. I really, really want JT to be the next great QB to lead the Cougars. It would be the fulfillment of a great Cougar legacy and an enormous source of pride to us Pullman natives. But my optimism is also based in the reality that in JT the Cougs have a great athlete, fierce competitor and a proven leader.

So today, sometime late in the first half (3rd or 4th series according to Wulff), I will be holding my breath as JT gets his chance under center. With the state of our team, his opportunity to shine is definitely limited. Our expectations should be tempered by the ominous facts Brinkhater and Sedihawk alluded to in their predictions, not the least of these being the Furd’s vaunted pass rush. But don’t be surprised if the kid from the Palouse, son of a crimson legend and namesake of one of our all-time greats, shows us the same kind of mettle and fortitude we saw in a scrawny freshman on a balmy night in Hawaii in 1999.

Flag Spotting, Week Eight

October 18, 2008

You just CAN’T KILL IT. Cougar Pride, again on display on Gameday. Thanks to all who make it so.

I don’t feel like breaking anything down right now. We know what’s going to happen today and it probably won’t be pretty. But I, like Brinkhater, will watch. Not because we are gluttons for punishment, but because I really want to see how we look against this type of team. Can they grind through a couple of quarters and keep things interesting before folding up the tents in the third quarter? Or will it be an onside kick 15 yards out of bounds to start things off, leading to an epic wipeout from the first minute, ala Bill Doba 2004, turning it into a horrible yawner of a game?

I am curious to see how the crowd is today. Of course, I cannot be there in person. But will those that make the trek bail at the first sign of trouble? Will the reserved side be half-empty to begin with, seeing how awful the team has been, the march to the inevitable that this week has been, and oh yeah, it’s on TV?

And will we see a better performance at the QB spot? Can Lopina take care of the ball (for once), instead of forcing throws into triple coverage? And can the offensive line protect him? Or will it be the USC defensive linemen lining up, like kids at the candy store, just waiting to pummel Lopina?

TRY and enjoy the game. Look for little spurts of improvement. For that is all we have left right now. AND SCORE! Blocked punt, fumbled snap, INT for a pick-6, whatever it takes. Keep that meaningless streak alive!

Enjoy your Saturday, and GO COUGS!

Flag-Spotting, Week Seven

October 11, 2008

Yep, even in these dismal times, the flag is STILL making it to Gameday. It just continues, MY OH MY!

Good for you Coug fans. The flag sighting is, once again, always a source of pride. I know it’s the first thing I look for when I flip on Gameday on a Saturday morning. And thanks to Will and Stephanie Walker for the screen cap.

Moving on, we’ll keep it brief. We’re beat up right now, to the point that Logwone Mitz is going to likely get a lot of time at running back today, with very little behind him. Chris Ivory is out and Dwight Tardy was limited this week, so, IF we are going to see any semblance of a running game, it’s going to be a lot of Mitz. Let’s hope he can do more than run for a couple of yards and then fall down.
That said, I don’t care if you have Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders or Adrian Peterson carrying the ball. Behind this offensive line, the holes have been few and far between. We ran for 114 yards vs. Okie State, but the passing game was so off, and the special teams killed us that day, so it was of very little consequence. But consider these rushing numbers:

57 net yards vs. Cal – LOSS
77 net yards vs. Baylor – LOSS
277 net yards vs. PSU – WIN
79 net yards vs. Oregon – LOSS
26 net yards vs. UCLA – LOSS

Pretty bad, and aside from the PSU game, which is a throwaway if you want to know the truth? This has been one of our worst string of rushing performances in recent history. Historically, when we’ve run the ball with some effectiveness, we’ve been successful. WSU is now 10-4 since the start of 2006 when we’ve ran for over 100 net yards in a game. You can do the math and figure out that when we sputter on the ground, in the old offense or the new one, we lose. A running game today would do wonders for the confidence of Ocho Rojo, eat up some game clock, keeping the defense off the field, etc, etc, etc. The trickle-down could go a long way towards keeping things respectible.

One more thing – for the third week in a row, we are starting the same five guys on the offensive line. From left to right, it’s Lesuma, Roxas, Alfred, Danaher and Hannam. While it’s still a group missing some depth, and also quite young with Lesuma the lone senior of the group, at least it’s the same group for the last few weeks. You have to believe they will start to gel, at least a little bit more than they have?

The other side of the story, the defense? That’s another story. Our rushing defense is bad, bad, bad, giving up over 6 yards per carry on average. We’ve basically been steamrolled by any team with at least an average running attack, and that’s beyond worrisome for the Jerome Harrison clone we’ll see today in Jacquizz Rodgers. Just hope we see the defense stay in their lanes and most of all, TACKLE WELL! There was improvement last week, just 325 total yards allowed, and they did rally to the ball on the ground, giving up exactly 100 net yards. Considering where this group was coming into last week, that’s a huge improvement.

Maybe we can look to the Beaver Believers for hope. After all, they are the kings of the circling the wagons, so to speak.

When things have looked their bleakest for the Beavs, they have dug deep, come together and turned it all around. They’ve been 2-3 in 2006 and 2007, and both times have won out, except for a loss to USC last year. I know it’s a stretch to look at them for inspiration, but they have become a program that I sure envy. I would love to see us follow in their footsteps of upgrading the facilities, then have a coach who wants to be there build layers of depth, punctuated by strong offensive and defensive lines. After all, the Beavs are one of the most successful Pac-10 programs of the 2K decade. They have passionate fans and play with a real edge at home. They are what I hope we become.

We’ll have something up for the game. Until then, enjoy your Saturday, and hopefully, enjoy the game today. GO COUGS!

Saturday Flag-Spotting; WSU Verbal Meinken Shaky?

October 4, 2008

Another Gameday, another appearance. Great job as usual, and the tradition lives on for another week. Even in the darkest of times, this WSU flag continues to still get out of bed and show up for work. And thanks again to Will and Stephanie Walker for the screen capture. BRAVO!

I don’t want to just throw a bunch of links out there, as we’ve kind of shied away from doing that of late. But there is a bit of a disturbing story about one of WSU’s top verbal commits, Geoff Meinken. We were dancing in the aisle after Meinken committed to WSU back in May. Meinken is an excellent athlete out of Lynnwood, a 6-4, 255 pounder who is big, strong and fast already as a 17-year old. There was a good profile of him in the Seattle Times here back in early September. We wrote about his commitment here, as there were some interesting nuggets about him in regards to track and basketball as well as football. He looks like a real player on the rise, and along with the classroom smarts, is exactly the kind of in-state talent that Wulff and company are counting on to rebuild this program.

But there is a distrubring thing here. Jim Harbaugh has come out of the woodwork and offered the kid a full ride (damn it Jim!). As Cougfan points out, they are basically saying “name your position” as well, telling him he can play anywhere he wants, and oh yeah, at the end of the process he’ll earn his degree from Stanford. Yikes.

While Meinken is still listed as a verbal commitment, well, that could change. While I won’t highlight anything in the story as it’s a premium article, you can read between the lines when it says Lynnwood athlete who gave oral pledge to WSU earlier this spring says he has some thinking to do”.

That’s the kicker about verbal commitments. For that is all they are, a non-binding pledge that they will sign with you in February, but this kind of thing happens every year, to almost every program. It just happened to UW, when the top in-state player, Garfield’s Deandre Coleman, backed off UW and is now out flirting with Cal. It happened to Bill Doba too, with players such as ASU defensive end Luis Vazquez. He de-committed from WSU and hopped down to ASU when Dennis Erickson was hired, AND Rob Akey went to Idaho.

But that’s only a recent example. Heck, Michael Bumpus was a 100% verbal to USC all the way until the last weekend before signing day, when New Jersey phenom Dwayne Jarrett fell into Pete Carroll’s lap. Carroll decided to give Bump’s scholie to Jarrett while asking Bump to delay his enrollment until January, Bump said no, and suddenly he was a signing day surprise for WSU.

The other issue is the whole recruiting process itself. This is the time of year when the coaches heap praise upon praise on these high school hotshots. And like many 17/18-year olds, a lot of them slurp it up. For it’s easy as a human being to start to believe it when everyone, including NCAA football coaches, keep telling you how great you are. It’s not hard to think you are a REALLY big deal.

I also used to think that the whole horrible start that this team was off to wasn’t going to have that much of an effect on recruiting. Wulff himself has said on his radio show that fans are often surprised when they hear quotes from commits who say that it doesn’t matter a whole lot what the current team is doing on the field. Often times the recruit is more worried about playing, and playing early, when they make that step to the next level. And uh, yeah, playing early at WSU? Pretty much WIDE OPEN at this point! If you are young and you are good, you will get a chance to play, and that is the message Wulff and company have been sending out on the recruiting trail. And, while we got hammered on the recruiting trail last year (when the coaches were actually out there recruiting?), it was because of all the Doba speculation. The other coaches like Harbaugh can’t use the instability argument against WSU now, because Wulff isn’t going anywhere.

But given the monster losses of all-time proportions this year, well, I’m starting to wonder like the rest of you. Watching the team get blown out on TV, week after week, might have more of a detrimental effect on these recruits than we might think. Embarrassing performances on the field can lead to embarrassing feelings off the field for fans, alums and even perspective recruits, so, who knows.

We’ll see how it all shakes out. Meinken is a projected defensive lineman, exactly the kind of kid Wulff is after in terms of size, strength and frame, with the “right kind of weight” on his body for his age. Clearly he sees something he can build here, and losing him could really sting. Besides, Meinken is a defensive lineman, an area of severe weakness today, but could be even weaker next year. The door is wide open for an impact talent up front, and losing Meinken from the group could be bad news. That said, there is still a long way to go in recruiting, and Wulff has said repeatedly that the defensive line is the top priority for this year’s class. They are out there busting their asses in trying to land talent, and I don’t doubt that they will fill this potential hole. My hope right now is that if Meinken does back away, that this isn’t the start of a trend? So far it’s a solid class, so think good thoughts for Wulff and company to keep it together and ride this thing out.

We’ll be back this evening with a game thread before the 7:15 kickoff, so, if you are watching and want to vent, feel free to stop by. GO COUGS!

Good Morning Sunshine

September 20, 2008

This is actually from last week’s ESPN Gameday…..but Erin Andrews and the WSU flag, how could we pass on that? Even though she knows nothing about WSU, other than our hoops coach is pretty hot….but here’s a screenie from today:

Will and Stephanie Walker, doing their best every Saturday. Even in these worst of times, arguably the worst three-game stretch to open a WSU football season in recent memory, they are still at it. Great job, again. If you want to see their gallery of flag screenshots, check it out here.

I don’t know if any of you watched gameday this morning, but they did a feature on SEC defenses. It’s startling to see highlights of how these teams play defense, and their size and speed is pretty incredible. But the #1 thing that Tommy Tuberville and Nick Saban pointed out is the size, speed and depth that these SEC teams have on the defensive line that is just incredible. They are all big, strong, and can run sub-5 40’s. I know it was an eye opener when we went down to Auburn in ’06 and got a load of their speed in the linebackers and secondary, and the issues Alex Brink had in getting anything done through the air. But their defensive line was just another animal altogether, and it was a shock to the system. I shudder to think what an Auburn or LSU defensive line would do to our offensive line right now! You watch those programs, then look at us, especially up front? We’ve got a long way to go (thank you captain obvious!).

There are some links and such on gameday morning, and you know where to find most of them. Vince has a quick breakdown of the game today, and as usual, keeps it real. But I thought the Bud Withers story today was exceptionally good, and really dials in on what we were preaching yesterday – CHANGE. Everything is different this year, from what and how they eat all the way down to what you see on the field, and they are all still adjusting. But to think about it in real-world situations, here this organization went from a laid back, folksy type in a grandfather figure like Doba to a structured, disciplined, detailed system with Wulff.

“I’ve come into a situation that’s no different than somebody else taking over a new business,” he says. “There were some things internally that maybe weren’t exposed. It’s no different from any other major business. You evaluate it and you start building it and fixing.”

Most have bought in to this change, but not all. And it’s those who resist the changes as the ones who are probably struggling the most.

“It takes day-after-day consistency to really develop,” he says. “Sometimes it takes a little tough love to get that across. But ultimately, that’s what they wanted. The kids that really wanted to excel wanted that.”

That’s one thing that gets a little lost in all this. It’s easy to look at these huge kids and think of them as full-grown men, but they aren’t. They are still just kids, texting, playing video games, trying to deal with girls and maturing and getting passing grades. It’s a ton of pressure on a regular student, but factor in all that is new in the football program, and you can understand it a little more. A lot of them deep down need the system, the structure, the discipline that maybe they haven’t had before.

Let’s go out and get a win today. We need it as fans, but think how much these players and coaches are dying to feel GOOD after a game!


Flag-Spotting, Week Two

September 6, 2008

Another week, another appearance. Once again, a fantastic job. Hats off to “CougWill”, Will Walker, for making the trip to Gainesville for this one. Just a great job, and another week of flag-spotting comes through to shake the foundation of ESPN Gameday!

Ok, maybe not shake their foundation, but still. In your face Lee! Speaking of Lee, I doubt he’ll pick us as his upset special this week. As you probably know, he did pick us to win last week, and went out of his way to say “how tough it is to play in Pullman, and this one’s in Pullman!” Just a week too early. I wonder if he knows Bill Doba, his old coaching buddy from Indiana, is actually not the head man anymore? Whatever. Hey, any time we’re on ESPN, it’s gravy as far as I’m concerned. Besides, Lee is probably fresh off another round of Hooters commercials, and you know his mind isn’t where it should be about 90% of the time.

Moving on, nice to hear the talk about the 1988 Aloha Bowl team reunion happening today. Of course Coach Wulff was the center on that team, but man, that was one heck of an offensive line. Mike Utley and Chris Dyko were downright nasty up front, and Cal’s own Jim Michalczik joined Wulff to form a strong middle of the line. Grippi wrote about this a few days ago, and the relationship between Michalczik and Wulff. Bonds formed in weekly battles against the opponent, it sounds as though Wulff and Michalczik are friends forever.

That ’88 team was something special though. The 9-3 record in Erickson’s second year. The upset of UCLA, where people on campus that day still say that right when that game ended, you could hear a collective yell throughout the area, with everyone basically celebrating at once when it was finally clear we were going to win that game. Of course, the thrilling Apple Cup comeback victory, 32-31, when Rosey ran it in. Here’s a trip down video lane:

Rosey would have over 3400 passing yards that season, and actually got Heisman votes. Tim Stallworth had a huge season at WR. But maybe the biggest testament to that team’s success was the running game. Steve Broussard had 1280 yards rushing that year, but Rich Swinton came off the bench to go for 1,018! We’ve never had two players go over 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. In fact, we’ve only had twelve instances – EVER – to even have a player go over 1,000 yards rushing in one year. To think that two of those times happened in the same season? Not only were they talented backs, but that was one hell of an offensive line.

Finally, the experts have weighed in. Have you seen anyone calling for the upset? Doubtful. But have you seen anyone even calling for a close one? Sportsline’s Harmon Forecast has it at 10 points, 30-20, and that’s about the closest I’ve seen from the national guys. However Grippi picks Cal, 28-23, and I think he’s right. We might be in for a very close game today.

But most of all, the thing I’m hoping to take from today is IMPROVEMENT! A close loss would sting, no doubt, but this season is about getting better.

We’ll be back during, and after, the game today. Enjoy your day, and most of all, GO COUGS!