As Jim Moore in the P-I writes today:
It’s Swogger time.
I admit it. I was wrong. I have been wrong the whole time. I was seduced by young Brink and his grasp of the offense, how good he looked in beating 3 hapless opponents, thinking he “got it” and was actually ahead of the 1-year-of-sucking learning curve that is typical for all Coug QB’s. I bought into all the positive press after the 3-0 start, all the raving about Brink and that he sees things the other QB’s don’t see, how tireless a worker he is watching film, etc.
The sad reality is that, as of right now, Alex Brink just isn’t good enough to beat anyone worth a damn. Yes, he was efficient vs. UCLA last year, but he was only asked to throw the ball 24 times in that game, as Jerome Harrison just went off and UCLA absolutely looked past that game (they went up to Eugene and beat Oregon the next week). He won the Apple Cup, which will always be a positive in my mind, no matter what, but that was against a 1-9 team. But, CHAD FRICKIN’ DAVIS WON AN APPLE CUP! Think about that. Plus, he was horrible the week before vs. ASU, a Sun Bowl team with a lot of talent that just ate him alive.
Normally I’d be fired up today for UCLA, and I’d defend Brink, raising arguments like
1) he didn’t have his “Reggie Williams” in Jason Hill,
2) he didn’t have WR#2 in Chris Jordan and had to make do with a bunch of #3 WR’s,
3) the defense was young and slow and couldn’t get the Cardinal off the field (37 to 23 time of possession advantage, just brutal),
4) the special teams continue to haunt this team, in both punt returns and kickoff coverage, just horrible field position,
5) Again, the defense is missing two huge pieces in Ropati and Derting, both of which were replaced with true frosh that just don’t know what they are doing, plus they didn’t force a SINGLE 3-and-OUT THE WHOLE GAME!?!?
6) BLAH BLAH BLAH
Those are all excuses, decent ones, but enough of all that. Brink is a 3rd year sophomore making his 9th start, plus extensive playing time vs. Colorado. He had a chance to put the team on his back and lead them to a huge, season-saving win, and he failed.
Ask yourself this – he had a running game that went for well over 200 yards, against a team ranked in the 100’s in terms of passing D and total D…yet he could only muster 165 yards and a couple of picks through the air?? Against a team that knew we were going to run, a team that had to put 8 in the box yet still couldn’t slow down Jerome, AND he still couldn’t throw for more yards or move the team consistently? You know his confidence is absolutely shot after that OSU meltdown, I don’t care what he says in the press at this point. OSU and Stanford have been just horrible this year vs. the pass, and while he got a lot of yards vs. OSU, he killed his team with int’s. I shudder to think what he’s going to do with the next 5 games all against the cream of the crop.
Anyway, I’m in the give-Swoggs-a-chance camp. I’ve been down on Swogger, mocking his horrible completion %, but he has done some good things here. As a frosh, led us to wins vs. UCLA and ASU in November of 2003 after Kegel left with first-quarter injuries. Swogger rallied to big road wins in 2004 vs. New Mexico and Arizona, when all hope seemed lost he made big plays. He even tried to rally them against Stanford last year, but it just wasn’t to be, playing the second half with a broken foot.
So, let’s see what we’ve got now…before it’s too late. What do we have to lose at this point? Yes we could split up the team into Brink vs. Swogger, and that’s a problem that won’t go away next year either (unless one of them transfers, which these days is becoming more and more common), but if they keep rolling Brink out there to throw weak int’s and struggle with confidence, the team will be divided anyway! The funny thing is, even right now, there is still a small glimmer of hope that they get the ship righted and sneak out a few more wins to be bowl-eligible. UCLA is going to really have to work to charge up their emotions after their tremendous win over CAL, so it might take them a half to wake up. ASU showed they are very beatable in only scored 17 points in a home loss vs. Oregon, and remember, they have to come up here in November. Oregon isn’t perfect either, and again, that’s another home game in November. UW, who knows how they’ll survive the rest of their schedule, but as we know, anything goes in that game.
Bottom line – it’s time to find out if Swoggs is the answer. Because Brink clearly isn’t right now.