First of all, Michael, BrinkHater?? I’m sorry but that’s too harsh. I know after a brutal loss it’s easy to over-react, hell I said yesterday that we’d lose out, but come on!
This is a kid who was only making his 9th career start, and we’ve been screaming for years that it takes ONE full season before the QB totally gets this offense. At times like this, it’s good to look back at our QB history and really put some things in perspective.
Rosie, Bledsoe, Leaf, Gesser – best QB’s in the Erickson-Price-Doba era, hands-down. Guess what?? They all SUCKED early in their careers. And believe you me, we never won a damn thing when those guys were going through it all the for the first time, you KNOW it. Make their teams better??? Absolutely NOT.
1) Rosie led the Pac-10 in picks his sophomore year, first time in the system. He even asked Erickson to move to TE it got so bad! He turned it around his junior year and even got Heisman votes, leading the nation in total offense in the process and beating #1 UCLA, but he went through 3-7-1 his first season.
2) Bledsoe took a horrible beating his first year, and while he showed flashes, we were a 3-8 team back then. He didn’t do a damn thing to make them better his first g.o-around. It was all about mistake after f-up, mixed in with some beautiful flashes of potential. It wasn’t until he was a junior that we made a bowl game, in 1992, but his first full season in 1991 was just plain bad.
3) Leaf was a disaster. I was in the stands in 1995 at Berkley when he replaced Chad Davis and saw action for the first time in his career, and he was dreadful. Something like 1-for-12 with 2 picks and it looked even worse than that. All of us were looking at each other saying “THIS is the highly touted QB we’ve heard so much about?!?!” His first full season in 1996, he showed some flashes, but he had some serious duds too as we still went 4-7. The 34-20 loss at Arizona that year was especially painful, as he was driving the team towards a tie when he floated a ball in the flat that was run back for a a TD in Kenny-Wheaton style. Remember the 1996 Apple Cup? For 3 quarters Leaf was a complete joke as we were down 21-0, but he caught fire in the 4th quarter to force OT, yet we still lost, still had a losing season! Junior year he was 3rd in Heisman voting with one of the greatest Pac-10 seasons ever by a QB, ’nuff said!
4) Finally, Gesser. He got off the bench in 1999 and didn’t really do anything at all, a few flashes here and there but nothing special. He showed no arm whatsoever, I mean all he could do was scramble! That team went 3-9, beating Hawaii after the Apple Cup in which Gesser showed some guts, but, we still suffered through a heartbreaking 4-7 season in Gesser’s first full season, 2000. I was at the first game in 2000, vs. Stanford, and Gesser was absolutely TERRIBLE, I mean he really couldn’t have looked worse. I remember a bunch of people sitting by us literally laughing at how bad he really was late in the game, it was just dreadful. He had no clue and a wet noodle arm to boot. We even lost TO IDAHO that year. But 2001 was a whole different story, and for two seasons he was as good as we’ve ever had.
The point to this QB rambling???? The labor can be brutal to watch, but the baby usually turns out ‘purty! Back off on Brink. Statistically, not just yesterday, but in pure stats, his improvement from his first start @ OSU last year is remarkable. I guarantee it’ll get better.
Now, for the last thought on yesterday, then I’m all Stanford – As you pointed out, things totally changed when Hill went out of that game. All the articles say as much today from the beat writers. They went man on the outsides, had a safety playing CF, and put the strong saftey in the box, making it an 8-man front. OSU chose to take away the run, period, and make Brink beat them without his best weapon (and really, one of the premier weapons in the Pac-10, period.). Unfortunately, Brink still isn’t ready yet to win one like this, not all on his own.
On the picks – Do you blame Brink? Everyone said after the game to not put it all on Brink’s shoulders. Sure, from what I read he had a couple of “what are you DOING!” throws, but Bienemann says that two of those picks were completely his own fault. One of which he admitted to flat-out running the wrong route, the other one he just fell down in the middle of the field!
All I know is, if you turn the ball over 5 times, on the road, against a team that is almost as good as you, you will lose. Besides, there are two sides to every collapse. One side has to fall apart, but the other side has to still step up and make plays. They deserve some credit, they took advantage when we fell asleep, so there you go.
Then when you consider two other gigantic missed opportunities in the 2nd half, either of which COULD have put the game out of reach. Bienemann not scoring when everyone thought he was gone, including the radio guys, leaving first and goal on the 1. Jed Collins does a false-start, suddenly we settle for a 33-30 lead. The Bumpus fumble was the worst, though, talk about a swing. If Bumpus takes it to the house, that’s a 10-point lead midway through the 4th quarter, and I’ll absolutely take our chances there. Instead, it gets punched out of there, they return it back the other way, then 3 plays later Hass takes it to the house when all accounts had Derting whiffing on the sack! Instead of 40-30, it’s 37-33. Just a brutal swing.
Ok, enough of the captain obvious rehash. On the positive side – from Hill to Harrison to Brink himself, they are still extremely confident and said so after the game. They aren’t going to give up, and they aren’t going to put any W’s or L’s in ink at this point! They’ll be ready, they’ll respond well this Saturday and we’ll beat Stanford. Then it’s get ready for the Bruins, who NEARLY STARTED THEIR ANNUAL SLIDE A FEW WEEKS EARLY LAST NIGHT! Jeesh.
I hate to admit it, though, but it sure looks as though UW is going to really shock someone before the year is out. Not sure who it will be, maybe in 2 weeks at Oregon, but they will bite someone in the ass this year.
Anyway, the mantra for this season is, without a doubt, GET TO A BOWL game. Period. Scratch, fight, claw, cheat, do whatever you can, but just get to a bowl game. Get those 15-20 extra practices for the young kids that are going to be so big for us next year and beyond. Let the media write about the Cougs for an extra month as they prepare for the Who Cares Bowl presented by AFLAC. Let some recruits come in for visits while you are PREPARING FOR A BOWL GAME. It means so much this year, more than ever, just get into postseason play and reap the rewards that come with it.
Did I mention they need to get to a bowl this year??