Like all of you, we hear the whispers and rumblings going on. We, here at CougCenter, have made a conscious decision to stay away from the speculation running rampant about the possibility of a new coach. It's an effort to keep the conversation moving forward, not devolving into baseless speculation and innuendo. What follows is somewhat of a break from that, spurred on by John Blanchette's Sunday column.
I've been meaning to do some research in order to gain an insight into how Bill Moos works. Sure he's been on the job since May, but none of us have looked very deep into how he operated as an athletic director in the past.
I want to play a game. Below are a few quotes from Bill Moos, both past and present. See if you can figure out who he's talking about.
"The adversity they’re facing now will only make them so much closer," he says. "I don’t see much finger-pointing or excuses by players. That shows really good character. No, (blank) has not lost his team. In fact, in the past three weeks, they’ve become even closer as players and coaches. They’re on the verge, in my opinion, of breaking this thing loose."
"You can have good football teams without a good football program, but they are going to be hit and miss and they're going to be quick fixes," Moos said. "If the program itself is solid, it will produce winning teams.
"As I observe this, that's the direction (blank) is trying to take this program."
"I’m supporting him, and I love the players, every one of them," Moos says. "I’m very impressed with how resilient this group is, and hardworking. (blank)'s done a fabulous job."
The first and last quotes are about Ernie Kent in 2005 at Oregon. Amidst rumors of personal troubles and a terrible season on the court, speculation was running rampant in Eugene. Fans and boosters were calling for Kent's head, yet that was how Moos addressed it. It was, in essence, Moos saying he supports his coach, likes the direction of the program and will address Kent's status after the season. And he did, keeping Kent as a coach, but failing to trigger the rollover incentive in Kent's contract, a mere formality in most years.
Fast forward to this year. The second quote is about Paul Wulff. And, again, it sounds almost exactly like what he's said in the past, in the few times he's been faced with hard times in a program he oversees. What we see here is consistency.
Maybe Moos has already made a decision. Many of us have heard the rumblings of a quiet, behind the scenes coaching search. Does it even matter? Any athletic director worth their weight -- and I think we all can agree Moos is -- would quietly put out feelers when the program is in trouble. It doesn't mean a change is imminent, but it never hurts to see what's out there.
This season poses a different kind of challenge for Moos and the athletic department. The season ends a week later than usual, after the Apple Cup was pushed to Dec. 4. Again, this is why a quiet coaching search would make sense. Does the athletic department have time to make a change, then conduct a coaching search with signing day coming up fast? Probably not. Think of it more as preparedness.
I'm convinced the Apple Cup has no bearing on whatever decision will be, or has been, made. We've got almost three years of games to determine whether the coaching is adequate. Why, then, would it come down to one game? It's not a situation where a strong, or weak, performance should be the tipping point. I don't know, however, if reading into Moos' words means much.
To me, it sounds like the same line he's pitched every time he's had a crisis. Put on a public face, do the work to evaluate the situation in the background and announce a decision, whatever decision that may be, after the season ends. But reading into Moos' unwillingness to publicly endorse his won't get us very far. It's just how he operates.