First off, the big news – how is Swogger? Well, the news ain’t the worst, but it’s not great either. The official word is his PCL is partially torn. The good news? There is NO pain or swelling, and he’s going to wear a brace and practice. He wants to play, and Doba said he’ll be re-evaluated again Tuesday. However, a word of caution – reportedly they are STILL evaluating the MRI, so we’re not out of the woods yet.
On the flip side? It’s a good move this week, no matter what, to float a little doubt for Arizona’s coaching staff. Make them guess a little bit until our offense takes the field as far as who is going to play. They are different QB’s, so make Arizona prepare for both!
Plenty of good news from the game, as we were better in every facet – running game was strong, the o-line did a decent job with no sacks or holding penalties, Swogger had 4 TD throws in the first half, all was good. Also, Jason Hill – have we found a superstar?? Over 200 yards receiving last week, then follows it up with 3 TD’s in the first half this week? Further, he’s the guy who caused a first-half fumble on a punt return by Idaho, then scored a TD on the next play! He’s got size and speed, and now he’s showing a knack for just flat-out making plays. Hard not to be excited about a sophomore like that!
The running game was very strong, and Bruhn ran with purpose. Quite a few extra yards after the first hit, and he looked much less tentative. I think the Shotgun was a thing of beauty, and we even had a few 2-back sets which was a sight to behold! Much better approach to committing to the running game, and that gives some hope for the future.
Ok, ok, all things have to be taken in context. This was Idaho, who, if you watched the game, is nowhere NEAR WSU in terms of size, speed, depth, experience, you name it. They have to be one of the worst D-1 teams, hands down. Last year we actually struggled with them, only scoring 1 TD while Dunning kicked what, 6 field goals for a 25-0 win? So even though it was Idaho, so many positive things happened for a young football team that you can’t help but be happy with the end result!
The most frustrating thing? As Lawson and I discussed late Saturday, Swogger looked exactly the same as he did vs. Colorado! The difference is these guys caught the f-in ball! ZERO drops. That’s got to be a youth/focus problem more than a talent problem. There were a couple of amazing catches, Marty Moore specifically had a great catch, and a couple of catches Hill had that were absolutely perfect.
All that said!??! I’m scared about this game. I watched 3 quarters of the Arizona Wisconsin matchup, and we have a lot to be concerned about. Arizona’s defense flies to the ball, definitely a Stoops-Oklahoma approach of speed and aggression, causing havoc. They are active up front and I see them giving us complete fits trying to run the ball! We get in 3rd-and-long, they are going to bring the house.
So, the big questions:
1) Will we see more shotgun? Did it actually help the offense this week, or was it just a product of playing a 5A high school team??
2) Will Bruhn continue to be aggressive? Or will he revert back to the dancing fool who looked slow and indecisive the first couple of weeks?
3) Can Swogger with a bulky knee brace avoid the rush and get rid of the ball to the right spot? Will the coaches give him extra pass blocking help with keeping a tight end in to block or keeping Bruhn or Harrison in the backfield to pick up the blitz? If we thought New Mexico and Colorado was tough, wait until we see what Stoops unleashes on Saturday. Ok, they aren’t the desert swarm, I mean talent wise they aren’t the same, but they are playing with a chip on their shoulder, a much different attitude than the last few seasons.
4) Have we really improved at catching the ball, or will the young WR’s get nervous again, on the road against a physical team like Arizona?
5) How will we handle the heat? It is supposed to be in the 90’s, but it’s a “dry heat”. Then again, it’s going to be about a 30-40 degree temp change for these guys vs. what they’ve been living in since mid-August. Our depth is going to be crucial, especially on the D-line. Doba reported yesterday that both Ropati and Cook are extremely doubtful for this week, but he is hopeful for both returning for the Oregon game. The good news is Ropati showed some progress and will actually test the ankle on Wednesday, so you never know, but Cook is certain to miss the game.
6) Finally, Brink – if the injury to Swogger is worse as the week goes on or re-aggrevated early in the game, can Brink keep it together and win the game for us? Or is he just the remedy for Arizona to win their conference opener??!?! I hate to see what Stoops would do if Brink is in the game. Talk about deer-in-the-headlights.