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Blog Poll Monday, Week III

Good day Coug Nation.  I sincerely hope you all enjoyed the weekend.  Time to take a look around the WSU universe, plus review our weekly blog poll submission.  So let’s go.

First, this was left in comments but thought it should be out there, as our own Kaddy was on the sideline for the SMU game.  Here’s some of his report:

That was as much fun as I’ve ever had at a game. It was cloudy the whole game, but it was warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt.

These coaches have this team, as Hawk pointed out. When the O-line struggled, Etheridge was there, pumping them up, and Wulff came over, got on one knee, and every players’ ears perked up and eyes focused on our coach. Wulff had a tremendous calm to him, and looked them all in the eyes, as he explained what they needed to do. Message received.

Ball and Levy are teachers, pure and simple. They never stop talking the players, after good plays and bad ones. Always positive.

I never realized how loud our crowd can be – even with 22,000. When Phase III is done, the environment and noise in Martin is going to be unconscious. No kidding. We’re getting close…a little more money, and a few more luxury seats committed for, and we start building.

The sideline is awesome. If you ever have a chance to bid on sideline passes at an auction, I highly recommend it.

Thanks Kaddy.  I agree about the crowd noise, especially if you stand in front of the student section.  At the beginning of the Stanford game, we were on that side for the first series before we left the field, and man, it was loud.  Louder than you might think, even if it is a smallish crowd.

I know that people often question the fire and intensity of some of the coaches, even some complain that coach Wulff doesn’t show enough jumping around and screaming at people.  But I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem his “way”?  There are coaches who are screamers, there are coaches who are middle of the road and get excited from time to time, and of course, there are coaches who wander the sidelines and look completely stoic while chaos happens all around them during the game.  I would put Wulff into the middle of the road, know what I mean?  I’ve seen him get upset, and we all saw the post-Apple Cup dance of pure joy.  But I like the idea of him being a rock, calm and cool during games and not losing it.  You want some emotion out of players, of course, and we want coaches to get fired up too, but there is a line in the sand that you don’t necessarily want to see them cross.  I’m sure there are moments where coaches like Wulff want to go all Mike Stoops on people, but it’s nice to see some restraint.

Anyway, great work Kaddy!  Those types of reports, even if it’s just a few paragraphs, are always appreciated.  That goes for the rest of you too.  Have something you want to share, an at-the-scene report or some pictures or whatever, feel free to let us know and we’re happy to make it part of a post.

Meanwhile, another week, another round of bumps-n-bruises.  This time, BJ Guerra is out 6-8 weeks with a sprained knee ligament.  Vince is reporting it to be 4-6 weeks, so we’ll see how quickly he can bounce back.  At least it’s not a torn ligament, which would surely end Guerra’s season.  The line is going to be shuffled yet again this week, as Zach Williams is already out with his high ankle sprain suffered vs. Hawaii.  I know that there was some real sentiment towards seeing Jeff Tuel on Saturday, but Todd Sturdy said that they were concerned not so much with the game situation, but more so about the state of the offensive line!  They certainly don’t want to get anyone’s head knocked off back there, but to throw a true frosh into a competitive game with an already patchwork offensive line?  Didn’t we already see what happens in this situation, like, oh, I don’t know, LAST YEAR when we lost three QB’s by early October?  I want to see Tuel too, believe me, but I want the kid to be upright after the experience!  He’s a unique talent, a guy who many believe can be a real difference maker to a program, so let’s hope they handle him the right way.

Read on for other stuff:

Grippi has a good rundown after Sunday’s media report from coach Wulff.  Wulff stresses that they want to start better by simply relaxing, and that we are seeing the young kids far too tight to start games.  We touched on this on the Football Friday thing, about how slow we’ve been starting games going back to last year, but it’s hard to argue with the numbers.  Of all the offensive TD’s this season – five in three games – four of them have been in the second half (one vs. Stanford, two vs. Hawaii, one vs. SMU).  And clearly we’ve given up some huge points on defense in the first half as well – 22 vs. Stanford, 35 vs. Hawaii, 24 vs. SMU.  But at least vs. Hawaii and SMU, they have done some really good adjustments in keeping the points down in the second half.  In fact, in their last two games, WSU hasn’t even given up a TD in the second half, just one one field goal vs. Hawaii, two field goals vs. SMU.  Interesting, no?

One last thing to take from Saturday?  And maybe this will help put things into perspective, but for much of the game on Saturday, the Cougs rolled with a three-man defensive line in that 3-3-5 defense to help slow the run-n-shoot.  But as Howie Stalwick reports, the three guys up front?  FROSH! Travis Long a true frosh at one end, Dan Spitz a redshirt frosh sliding out to the other defensive end, and Anthony Laurenzi, another redshirt frosh, playing nose tackle.  How many teams in the PAC-10, no, strike that, how many BCS teams in the country actually play an entire frosh defensive line?  Maybe in total/complete garbage time when the game is far out of reach, but wow.  We are young, young, young pretty much everywhere, and it’s especially apparent up front!

Finally, the blog poll.

Rank Team Delta
1 Florida
2 Texas 1
3 Alabama 1
4 California 2
5 Mississippi 3
6 Penn State 1
7 LSU
8 Cincinnati
9 Miami (Florida) 12
10 Oklahoma 2
11 TCU 6
12 Virginia Tech 4
13 Boise State 3
14 Southern Cal 12
15 Ohio State 4
16 Georgia 4
17 Kansas 5
18 Oklahoma State
19 North Carolina
20 Missouri 3
21 Michigan 3
22 Houston
23 Nebraska 8
24 Florida State
25 Washington
Last week’s ballot

 

Dropped Out: Brigham Young (#9), Georgia Tech (#13), Utah (#14), Oregon State (#25).

Some movers-n-shakers in our little world include Cal and Ole Miss moving into the top five.  Miami took a huge jump based on their nice start, and after Florida State’s whacking of BYU, Miami looks that much better.  BYU took a huge hit with their horrific blowout loss at home.

Of course, USC took a tumble, big-time, and Ohio State falls with them based on them losing to what looks like a very ordinary USC team right now.  Speaking of USC, 0-for-10 on 3rd downs vs. UW?  Three turnovers in the red zone?  Hard to beat anyone doing that.  And one more thing from that game – Why oh why did USC get away from the run?  Midway through the 2nd quarter, USC was up over 100 yards rushing and was getting five yards a pop on the ground.  Why go away from that, with your frosh QB making his first-ever start and have him throw so much?  There might be a little heat on Carroll this week, and for good reason.  But USC has some issues right now.  Not only were they missing Taylor Mays on defense, a huge loss especially on that last UW drive to get down the field so easily in crunch time, and they are young at QB and off to a slow start there.  But while they have a strong stable of all-everything running backs, is it me or are they lacking a serious deep threat right now?  Damian Williams is a fantastic WR and a major mismatch for anyone we’ll trot out there to try and cover him on Saturday, but in the games I’ve seen from USC thus far, they are missing that home run threat who can stretch the field and open things up.  UW never had to worry about anyone getting loose behind them, so they could play tight up around the line of scrimmage and clog some of the short passing lanes.  We’ll see what adjustments they make this week, and with their level of talent, there is a reason it’s a 43-point line this week.  But still, something is missing in the land of Troy.

All for now.  As always, GO COUGS!

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