You might or might not have noticed that I've been posting less frequently at CougCenter. That's because I've been devoting a lot of my time to creating the best product possible for the separate venture that is Cougar Sports Weekly. Here's an excerpt from the most recent newsletter:
It's far too simplistic to try and ascribe blame to one unit for the second-half outburst of the tight ends, but I will say this: On four of the nine catches -- including two of the three TDs those guys caught -- either Deone Bucannon or Tyree Toomer were simply flat beaten from their safety spot by a tight end. And unless those two guys start playing significantly better in pass coverage going forward, this defense just isn't going to be very good.
It's tempting to just say that WSU won't face another set of tight ends like that this year, and you'd be correct in saying so. But it's not like both were simply outmuscled by Stanford's big targets; instead, they both exhibited staggeringly poor technique that allowed the tight ends to run free on multiple occasions -- technique that has also shown up in other games, notably San Diego State. It wasn't such a big issue last year, given that teams rarely had to pass effectively to beat WSU. Both were free to simply come down and tackle guys, something Bucannon especially excelled at. But now that the front seven is managing to provide at least adequate run defense, the pass defense is front and center.
This is my worry: That other teams are going to see this and be able to exploit the safeties in one-on-one coverage, undermining all the good things that are going on in front of them.
Beginning Monday, Cougar Sports Weekly will continue on as a paid subscription. CSW is part of my grand plan to eventually again become a full-time writer -- something CougCenter just does not yet afford on its own. If you like the work that I do and want to support the time it takes to produce it, you can sign up for a subscription here. The cost is $1.99 monthly or $19.99 annually, and it gets you three mailings a week during football and basketball seasons: The main Cougar Sports Weekly on Monday mornings, a Mailbag feature on Wednesdays, and a Pac-12 weekend preview on Thursday or Friday (depending on if there's a Thursday night game). You'll probably get two mailings a week during the offseason, from April to August, but I haven't quite decided what that will look like. (It'll probably include a fair amount of Cougar baseball, though.)
If you're not already on the free list and want to check out the last two free mailings, you can sign up for them here. And if you're not already on the free list but just want to see a full copy of the main Monday newsletter, hit me up with an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to send you the most recent one.
And lastly, if you're already a subscriber to the free list, just note that you need to sign up for the new paid subscription by Sunday in order for your mailings to continue uninterrupted.