No, I am not making that up. Alex Hoffman-Ellis told Mike Gastineau on KJR-AM in Seattle today that the Cougs saw a team that nearly got beat by an FCS team and figured they had a win in the bag (my words, not his):
I'd probably say it was just we watched game film and saw they squeaked by a I-AA team and took that as, "Oh they probably will just come out and give us the victory." We came out really flat and came out with this attitude that they were just going to hand it to us, and it really backfired.
-Ellis, winner of the obvious statement of the year award.
My first thought was, "WHAT?!?!?! How can this team possibly take someone lightly?" But, in a rare moment of clarity, I think Gastineau makes a fair point -- that can happen to young teams, who often have to learn lessons the hard way.
I'm betting it won't happen again (the taking lightly, not the result; we're clearly going to see that again). You can listen to the rest of the interview via the player below. It starts with Jake Locker -- I know you all want to listen to him, but in case you don't, Hoffman-Ellis starts at the 8:00 mark.
Sort of going hand-in-hand with this was an interview Ian Furness did on the same station yesterday with defensive coordinator Chris Ball. In case you missed it, Ball has taken a lot of flak for this quote: "You can’t expect coaches to come out and get them fired up. Players are responsible for getting themselves ready to play mentally."
Well, I'm guessing it got back to Ball that it wasn't such a good idea to say that, because he starts off the interview saying the exact opposite. If a listener wasn't aware of the existence of that previous quote, his talking might sound a little odd -- as if he's trying to convince everyone of something. Put in context, he clearly is trying to convince us of something: That he didn't really mean what he said.
I don't want to hammer Ball too much -- he said what he said right after the game, and I guarantee every single one of us would say something stupid at some point with a microphone shoved in front of our faces just minutes after an embarrassing performance. So I'll give him a little bit of a pass on this one.
One thing I do love about this interview? This quote:
They're coming to Pullman, and we're hungry. We're going to get this thing fixed. We're going to play with a lot of emotion, we're going to fly around, we're going to be excited -- we're not going to be tight -- and we're going to play some dang good Cougar football this weekend.
Man, I sure hope so. Audio in the player below.