Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Coug-ing it in style!

Just a couple of weeks ago the Cougars were seemingly headed to the Sun, or Holiday Bowl. This week they play Washington in an attempt to get a vacation to Hawaii to play the Warriors on their home turf. What has gone wrong with a team that lost to Arizona at home then followed it up by getting blown out by left for dead Arizona State? For one thing Alex Brink isn't executing well, the running game isn't working, and the defense has suddenly become porous. Sounds pretty much like Washington.

WSU has one big thing in favor this week, they are playing in Pullman. The weather is going to suck in Pullman as usual, and not a lot of Dawgs are going to feel it is worth making the snowy trip over the pass to watch another stinker. Another thing is Brink definitely has a definite edge over the current UW QB situation. I expect Bonnell, and Durocher to be able to play, but they are really just one hit away from taking the bench to make way for Felix Sweetman. Another thing in favor for the Coug's is that Washington is coming off a humiliating loss at home to Stanford. The odds are that Washington isn't going to be able to recover mentally, or even physically enough to play in the cold of Pullman.

On the Washington side if you are half full glass man you have to convince yourself that UW cannot possibly play as bad as last week even though they are playing a better team. WSU has been in just as big a freefall as UW, and the Huskies always show up for this game. You have to think the seniors want to wipe the bad taste out of their mouths and go out with a win. You know that history dictates that the Cougars are capable of losing to anyone, anytime, and especially when they are favored. You realize the coaches will pull out all the stops to get the team prepared to move the ball, and you know the defense will show up. What if Ranking or James is able to break loose to loosen things up? If Stanford can beat Washington, UW can upset the tiring Cougars on a given day.

If you are a glass half empty type of guy the big question this Saturday is the terrible Washington offense that has lost the ability to run, pass, block, or pass. Last weekends performance was statistically one of the worst in the history of the program. What exactly do you think they can come up with to help two immobile, beat up QB's who are going to be facing eight in the box again? WSU is going to make them to throw, and Lappano of course will try to throw over it to loosen things up. The missing intangible is the speed of the healthy Bonnell, and injured Stanback, when Washington had that going for them it masked a lot of the teams problems.

WSU under Doba hasn't reached the heights they did under Price, but playing a little over .500 and going to a bowl three out of five years is enough to keep your job in the Palouse. Hopefully that won't be the case in Seattle, but we aren't exactly even at that level. Beating the Huskies for a third consecutive time also goes along way in ensuring that you retire rather than resign. The Cougars simply have more weapons, and potential attitude than UW has going into this one. The Cougars are playing for a bowl, and Washington is playing for next year.

I am pretty sure it is going to be stinker on both sides of the ball. I think the team that makes the least mistakes wins the game. The only hope for Washington is to get a running game going, and score some points with defense, and special teams. The receivers need to help their QB this week, UW has to stop dropping balls, and block better downfield. The biggest key will be if Bonnell can recover, stay loose, and stay healthy.

In the end only an insane person would bet on Washington this week even with 10 1/2 point spread. The Cougars may need only a touchdown and a couple of field goals to cover. Willingham needs to create some magic Saturday, he is in an uncomfortable corner.

2 comments:

prrbrr said...

Color me insane, I am like Baird. While everything favors the cougs much like it did UW last week, that's why they play the game. I thought we panicked way too early last week, with 12 mins to go and again with 9:47 , we were throwing 30 yd plus routes with not a single receiver in the 10-20 yd area, plus both CB and JD tend to lock onto their 1st receiver and throw regardless into double coverage. Funny how QBs have their fav targets, IS with SS and CB with Cody Ellis, JD with Russo. Also, no screen passes to KJ when it was an obvious bull rush passing down. One thing that has irritated me all season long is 2nd/3rd and long and our WRs end up catching the ball 1 yd short, in other words they didn't even run to the first down marker. Last week, we also had a few 5 yds to first down and we throw very deep, what the hey. Kudos to CB for gutting it out in the fourth, he looked like a crab sidling out to the huddle. I thought when we had the ball withh 3:30 to go and needing 3 scores, it was time to truly honor the seniors and let Sweetman pass for one and let Shelton S carry the rock, plus put in the walk ons who hadn't played. That time led me to believe that if another player quits the team and comes back under TW, words be damned, he will carry it against you forever. If Braunstein were to get another year due to threat of lawsuit, TW will never let him play. Remember for those of us who were there, TW is the HC who called 3 consecutive Time outs in the pouring rain (had rained 3 days straight) at Stanford in the game CW got hurt to try to ice John Anderson b4 halftime. I liked what TW did so far as bringing back crispness and urgency, but there have been numerous what ifs on game day last second coaching decisions,( USC, Cal,ASU etc) Its time for him and his staff to sleep in the Graves building, I do not think he will survive a losing season next year.

Health Insurance Expert said...

I would like to see a lot of guys get some time on Saturday. We have the stuff to beat WSU, you don't play Cal and ASU like that and not have it. We just need to bring it all to the table on Saturday for one final time. Winning this game would send the program into the offseason on a positive note. Lose badly and it is going to really hurt recruiting.