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Jim Mastro leaves WSU for Oregon

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Only one assistant remains from Mike Leach’s original staff

NCAA Football: Montana State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

And then, there was one. With the disappointing news that Oregon once again poached a top flight WSU assistant, this time running backs coach Jim Mastro, offensive line coach Clay McGuire stands as the only coach who was on Mike Leach’s original coaching staff. I don’t count Jason Loscalzo, Dave Emerick etc. because, while they’re essential to WSU’s success, they’re not on-field coaches.

Mastro’s departure has been in the works for a while, and there’s good reason to believe that he agonized over the decision. In the end, it probably came down to an opportunity to advance his career, along with financial security. Mastro will have the title of running game coordinator, and as fellow writer mentioned, will likely have more influence over the offense than he ever would have under Leach.

Additionally, the Seattle Times is reporting that Mastro’s three year contract will pay him $375,000 per season, which is $124,000 more than WSU paid him in 2017. My guess is that WSU tried to make a competitive offer, but anyone who follows the Cougars is well aware of their budget issues. Oregon has no such issues, and we can assume that WSU’s offer couldn’t come very close to matching Oregon’s Swiss bank vault. Given the numbers above, Mastro would have been crazy not to take the deal. Even one of his star players thinks so.

Reading between the lines, that tweet suggests that Mastro handled his exit in the classiest way possible. He’s certainly a better example to follow on that front than cowards like Bobby Petrino and Todd Graham. One aside - I wonder how Max Borghi feels about all of this.

Mastro is now the third assistant to leave WSU for Oregon, following Dave Yost and Joe Sala’vea. Whether Yost’s loss was impactful could be debated, but I’ll take the side that WSU didn’t suffer at all when he left, seeing as how he didn’t recruit. The jury is still out on Sala’vea, as new defensive line coach Jeff Phelps seems to be doing a solid job. One area where Sala’vea’s departure will almost certainly be felt is recruiting in Samoa. Hopefully WSU can overcome that.

Mastro’s departure hurts, badly. Finding the next running backs coach now falls upon head man Mike Leach. Leach has done pretty well when it comes to replacing assistants at WSU, and given that he’s an offensive-minded guy, I expect Mastro’s replacement to be at least adequate. Whoever it is needs to be a damn good recruiter, because Mastro excelled in that area. Best of luck at Oregon, coach Mastro. Here’s hoping the Cougs beat your ass next season.

Football

Running backs coach Jim Mastro leaves Washington State for same title at Oregon | The Spokesman-Review
Nearly one month before his departure, Mastro, who was also renowned for his proficiency on the recruiting trail, delivered the Cougars a final gift by convincing highly touted three-star running back prospect Max Borghi to sign with the Cougars.

Junior college offensive lineman Keenan Forbes joins Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Keenan Forbes, a junior college offensive lineman from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, has signed a letter of intent with Washington State, the Cougars announced Saturday.

Washington State announces hire of safeties coach, ex-Utah State assistant Kendrick Shaver | The Spokesman-Review
Shaver is a former FootballScoop.com Co-Defensive Backs National Coach of the Year who’s helped lead Utah State to six consecutive bowl games and a 2012 Western Athletic Conference championship.

Washington State’s Mike Leach: ‘No real signs’ leading to Tyler Hilinski’s suicide | The Spokesman-Review
Leach, the sixth-year WSU coach, spent countless hours with Hilinski during the football season – some of them on the sideline at Cougars football games, some inside the quarterbacks meeting room and plenty more at team practices in Pullman.

Pac-12 reaction: Arizona beats Stanford, USC's surge, UCLA's regression and more
The financial reality is that the Cougars aren’t on the same playing field as everyone else in the conference.

Pac-12 football picks for 2018: Washington rules the North, edge to USC in the South
Can Mike Leach really keep winning eight or nine games without a setback?

Pac-12 Conference Roundup: Final Rankings, Top Players, Coaches, Games | College Football News
The Pac-12 wasn’t all that close to getting into the College Football Playoff, the top teams were beaten up in a few key non-conference games, and the bowl season was a complete and total disaster.

Basketball

Ernie Kent and his Cougars face Utah Sunday night in Salt Lake City.

[Headline from 24 hours in the future]

Ernie Kent and his Cougars lost again Sunday night in Salt Lake City.

Utes about to conclude a month of Sunday play | Deseret News
Washington State has five Sunday games, while Utah and USC have four. The Cougars and the Utes, though, are the only teams that have stretches of four consecutive weeks of losing out on a weekend day of rest (no practice or school).

WSU Looks for Weekend Split at Utah Sunday - WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars are looking to snap their seven-game losing streak to the Utes.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Had some good beer, but with the news that Green Flash Brewing is massively scaling back distribution, I’m going to recall my favorite beer they made, Dia de Los Serranos double stout. The IPA-heavy company seems to have stopped producing it, but it was among my favorites.

Craft Beer Is the Strangest, Happiest Economic Story in America - The Atlantic
Corporate goliaths are taking over the U.S. economy. Yet small breweries are thriving. Why?

Non-Sports

How It Became Normal to Ignore Texts and Emails - The Atlantic
Digital messages mimic the speed of real conversation, but often what people like best is the ability to put them off.