This post is a few days later than I intended. Admittedly, this was caused by the game starting at 9pm here on a Friday night. Combine that with some frustration at the play on the field and an extra beer or two more than planned was consumed. Since its late and the CougCenter guys have already began their great analysis of the game I'll go for something a little different this time. I'll have a few points I remember from the game without re-watching it (that's for good writers). Also, I'll be flying to Washington this week and making it to the game in Pullman so I'll list some things I want to see in person that is more difficult to see on TV.
Here are 2 quick thoughts from the game:
1. Everyone loves a good QB controversy, myself included, but based on what I saw Friday this one is over for me. While I believe that Jeff Tuel has struggled thus far this season, it was pretty clear that the Halliday we saw throw for 500 yards last year is just not ready to be a consistent starter. In Leach's book and various other places he mentions the #1 thing he looks for in a QB is accuracy. Not moxie, not arm strength, not the mentality to just "F*ck it, go deep" that all fans love. Leach wants to control the ball using runs and short passes that help open up play downfield. I want to see Halliday learn for the year, have a full offseason to practice, and take the reins next year. However, its a huge plus for us to be able to have a guy like that ready for when Tuel is feeling "ridiculously healthy".
2. Everyone should subscribe to and read Cougar Sports Weekly. Jeff had an excellent write-up about the O-line which is a must read. Adding on to his thoughts I think a huge problem we're seeing is the constant shifting of players due to injuries, lack of depth, and what seems to be a lack of true positions. Just from memory it seemed that throughout Spring and Fall camps guys were constantly being played at different positions. To be frank, I don't think our guys are talented enough to constantly move around and be successful. Once the coaching staff can figure out where they see guys playing long term (or have enough bodies to play) I think the O-line could really take off. I'm still concerned about the line not getting much of a push against what should be inferior teams. What happens when we play teams in conference with future NFL lineman?
What I'm looking for from the stands this weekend:
1. The Cougar Football Project, I can't wait to see it in person.
2. Are the WRs getting open? I've heard both answers from different people. Aside from the obvious plays where someone catches the ball with no defenders in sight I have no idea what the WRs are doing.
3. The DBs. Again, hard to tell from TV what they're doing, but for the most part its looked pretty bad so far.
4. A big game from our QB, whoever that might be. This is probably the last team we'll be favored against, time to put up some points.
5. How big is the target on Deonne Buchanon's back? The hit against EWU was awful and the subsequent suspension warranted. But, I really didn't think the hit at the end of the UNLV game was bad at all, much less a penalty. Was this 2nd flag warranted or is he now a huge target for refs?
6. Stadium atmosphere. As a freshman in 2006, there were some great crowds. The Oregon and USC games in particular come to mind. My girlfriend got to school in the Wulff years and the Eastern game was only the 2nd or 3rd good crowd she had ever seen (UW in 2010, ASU last year). Suffice to say it dramatically changed her impression of Cougar Football.
7. Cougar Country, what Pullman trip is complete without it?
Anything else I should be looking for this weekend? (Besides Pullman sundresses of course) Thanks for reading!
*Edited to add #5