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CougCenter roundtable: The WSU All-Century team debate

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Who are the best players to wear Crimson and Gray in the 2000s? We debate.

William Mancebo/Getty Images

Kyle Bonagura, of ESPN's Pac-12 blog, came up with All-Century teams for each program in the conference. He picked the best players at each position going back to 2000, and since these sorts of things are lovely topics for debate -- WSU Football Blog already offered a take -- we decided to riff on it, too.

Inculded are Brian Anderson, PJ Kendall, Craig Powers and Kyle Sherwood for a roundtable discussion on what we'd change.

First, here's Bonagura's list:

ESPN's WSU All-Century Team

OFFENSE DEFENSE
QB: Jason Gesser DL: Rien Long
RB: Jerome Harrison DL: D.D. Acholonu
CKenny Alfred DL: Mkristo Bruce
OL: Calvin Armstrong DLTravis Long
OLJoe Dahl LB: Raonall Smith
OL: Josh Parrish LB: Will Derting
OL: Derrick Roche LBGreg Trent
TE: Troy Bienemann CB: Marcus Trufant
WRBrandon Gibson CB: Jason David
WRJason Hill S: Lamont Thompson
WRGabe Marks SDeone Bucannon
K: Drew Dunning P: Kyle Basler

*****

pjkendall
Ok, here goes. For the offense, I went with an Air Raid design because we had so many good receivers and only one or two slightly-above-average TEs.
OL: Calvin Armstrong, Joe Dahl, Josh Parrish, Derrick Roche, Kenny Alfred.
Outside WR: Jason Hill, Brandon Gibson outside, Michael Bumpus and Gabe Marks inside (yes, I know he's an outside guy but he's more suited to play slot than Hill or Gibson).
RB: Jerome Harrison.
QB: Alex Brink.

Craig Powers 
Ghost is a given. Curious to see why Brink over Gesser, PJ?

pjkendall
I think he was a better QB. Not much more to it. Gesser had a higher YPA, though. Brink's completion percentage was over 60, much better than Gesser. I don't know, just like Brink better for whatever reason.

BA
Career Stats For Gesser And Brink

Brink_Gesser_Stats2
Brink_Gesser_Stats

Craig Powers
Interesting context to consider for the stats: Who had the better supporting cast? Gesser a better OL? Brink better skill players?

BA
All things being equal, I'd go with the guy that wins a ton of games and finished 7th in Heisman voting in 2002.

pjkendall
I was just thinking about that too, and I agree on both counts, but I'd say Gesser's receivers were better than Brink' line, if that makes any sense. Also, I was looking a line above Brink (at Rosey) when I wrote down the wrong percentage.

Put the 2002 defense on the 2005 team. Or 2007. Our media guide says they averaged 40/game in 2007. That's not close to accurate.

BA
We don't need to get too into the weeds on this. Your argument for Brink is that Gesser was a product of being on better teams? And vice versa, that Brink was hampered by some bad teams? So, Brink is the better QB?

pjkendall
Gesser's defenses were far better than Brink's. So when you say "I'd go with a guy that wins a ton of games..." you can't ignore that.

sherwood
This is all just window dressing until Falk is on the list next year.

pjkendall
I almost put him on this one.

BA
I honestly didn't anticipate there being very much disagreement over Gesser

pjkendall
I'm probably the only one

sherwood
My three receivers are Brandon Gibson, Gabe Marks and Marquess Wilson. My three will beat your three

BA
WR Stats

WR_stats

sherwood
Hill's biggest skill was getting open deep and Wilson was better at it.

pjkendall
Wilson obliterates Hill's TD total if he doesn't leave (and stays his senior year, obviously).

BA
I'd also go with Gibson and Wilson, but I don't think I can leave Hill off...as much as I like Marks.

pjkendall
That's why I went Air Raid. We can have Gabe and Hill!

BA
So, I gather all of us want Wilson on the list and ESPN made a mistake leaving him off?

pjkendall
I really thought about him. He would have been my next guy.

Craig Powers
I'd go with Wilson over Hill as well. He had to do a lot more. Played with less talented guys around him.

sherwood
Wilson put up video game numbers even when defenses were keying on him.

Craig Powers
Are we just leaving Gabe off to make him mad and prove us wrong?

sherwood
Do we have the power to motivate Gabe Marks? I can't be trusted with this responsibility.

Craig Powers
Hill had some absurd stats on fewer targets than Gabe.

sherwood
My memory of 2004-06 is lost to the brown liquor but I feel like we sent Hill deep at least once per series.

Craig Powers
Gabe catches a lot more short passes of course

BA
That's pretty accurate, Sherwood. He also caught a lot of them.

Craig Powers
Yeah, and then some games he would have like 220 yards on 10 catches with 3 TDs or whatever (I think that was at Cal in a loss, of course)

BA
Gabe is 648 yards and 8 TDs off the school records. Those will fall by the end of October. I've changed my mind, we can keep Marks in over Hill, I'm cool with that.

sherwood
I would also like to challenge Ghost's inclusion knowing full and well Boobie Williams is going to win two Heismans

Craig Powers
Ghost finished 9th in the Heisman voting on a 4-7 team, which should get some sort of special award
Gabe over Hill then. Ghost over Boobie because Vine stats don't count just yet

BA
Anyone have any offensive line changes? I was fine with those.

Craig Powers
Same. Dudes with all-con accolades. Hard to go wrong. And man, there have been some trash O-lines in the last 15 years (2008-2012 specifically).

sherwood
LESS TROY MORE JED

Craig Powers
I'm all about including Jed

BA
Same, but Jedzilla was more a fullback type than a TE type.

sherwood
Between Troy, Jed, Cody Boyd and Devin Frischkneughsts, I'm a bit sad we don't play TE's anymore.

Craig Powers
Jed was just so fun. And he has put together quite the NFL career. Should we add a FB?

sherwood
Whatever gets him on the field

Craig Powers
Put him over Gesser at QB then. Anti-Air Raid.

BA
Troy only has him by 14 recs and 173 yards. Add a FB and remove the TE, or call Jed a TE and take him over Troy?

Craig Powers
We'll go with FB/TE. And choose Jed

BA
I like it

Craig Powers
*dusts off hands* offense is done. Now to argue over LB-sized dudes that played D-end. Let's start inside out. Defensive tackles. Have you guys heard of this Rien Long guy?

sherwood
Rings a bell

Craig Powers
Looks like ESPN has us playing with three d-ends.

pjkendall
I've got Rien Long and Ropati.

BA
Outland Trophy winners are overrated.

sherwood
I was going to say J-Dub (Jeremy Williams).

Craig Powers
Same

sherwood
Who I believe is still the most heralded recruit in WSU history.

pjkendall
Cougar legend Terry Mixon would like a word.

Craig Powers
Same on Ropati, I meant.

sherwood
Xavier Cooper is also someone who plays football.

Craig Powers
Yes, true. Wow, didn't realize DT would be so hard.

BA
Rien Long, Acholonu, and Bruce all need to be on there

sherwood
That's why we only got one! Because of the embarrassment of riches.

pjkendall
That's my three, BA, along with Ropati.

sherwood
I have those three and Williams but I know when I'm outnumbered.

Craig Powers
Agreed on those three and Ropati. DD had 17 dang sacks in 2003.

BA
I'm good with moving Ropati above Travis, too.

sherwood
And that's only because he let Ike have a few

pjkendall
LBs I have are Travis Long (does that one year he played Buck count?), Derting and Don Jackson, who was a monster in 2003.

BA
Raonall Smith was a BAD MAN

sherwood
See now this is where I fight you all for the inclusion of Scott Davis

BA
Smith and Derting are my only locks. KAMIAKIN HIGH STAND UP.

Craig Powers
The Greg Trent inclusion is only because he had 4000 tackles, I think.

pjkendall
True. Smith was an incredible athlete. I think there are tons of guys I'd put in before Trent.

BA
Trent started 42 of 48 games in 4 seasons and made 323 tackles, with 21 TFLs. Honorable mention his senior year and second team All-America as a freshman ... and I'm pretty OK with the idea of putting Scott Davis in there ahead of him

Craig Powers
Same.

pjkendall
Anyway, it's bed time so here goes --- My DBs are Trufant, David, Lamont Thompson and Deone. K - Dunning P - Forrest PR - Bumpus KR - Sammie Moore Utility man - Jed Coach - Price.

Craig Powers
Cool. Alright so Davis, Smith, Derting. Now wooooo the positions with all the NFL guys!

sherwood
LAMONT! TRUFANT! ABDULLAH 1! ABDULLAH 2! DEONE! BILLY NEWMAN! DAVID! PAYMAH!

pjkendall
I never thought the Abdullahs had a huge impact at WSU. Like Brian Walker, they blossomed in the NFL. Here's where someone shows me their litany of all-conference accolades.

Craig Powers
Agree on the Abdullahs. Lamont and Deone, Trufant and David and we're good?

BA
No one gets in over Lamont and Deone, right? I like Eric Coleman, but I don't see putting him above either of those two.

sherwood
I'd put PAYMAH above David but not gonna argue it

pjkendall
I think Brackenridge deserves a mention too.

sherwood
Damn I forgot Coleman. I had a Coleman Jets jersey too!

Craig Powers
Yeah Eric Coleman is one hell of a backup. Frampton too.

BA
Deone might should just get called a 4th linebacker.

Craig Powers
Maybe take off Ropati and run a 3-4?

sherwood
You know how you beat this defense? Make Rien Long play Nose Tackle

Craig Powers
DD and Bruce might get eaten alive in that situation though. Okay, Ropati stays. So, we have too many good safeties.
#SafetyU. (Because "safety school" doesn't sound good.)

BA
goddamnit

sherwood
Now I'm depressed

pjkendall
3-4 would cause a huge shift. I'd say Ropati, Cooper and Williams in that case. (Welcome to 5 minutes ago, PJ.)

BA
I think none of us are replacing Trufant, right? If a corner gets changed it'd be David?

pjkendall
David would be my easiest cut of all the DBs.

Craig Powers
Are we going two corners and two safeties?

BA
You have something else in mind?

pjkendall
Lamont played corner for like 5 minutes in 1999. We could put him in for David and get Coleman in there!

Craig Powers
Just because PJ threw out cutting David off. I wouldn't put another CB over him, but if we wanted to include more safeties, maybe?

BA
I don't know, the whole point is to pick a top two

Craig Powers
Alright. Let's stick with that. So Coleman or Deone?

pjkendall
Agree, we did that with d-line

BA
I go Deone

pjkendall
Same

Craig Powers
Same. We did it!

sherwood
Deone

pjkendall
We know Craig is going Basler at punter.

Craig Powers
Neverrrrrrr

pjkendall
I'm on board with Reid

Craig Powers
#reidforrest4heisman

BA
No.

sherwood
I don't care. That offense is never punting.

BA
Just because he was a fun thing on a terrible team, doesn't mean he's better than a linebacker accidentally losing his way and becoming a punter. Furney over Dunning, or is that locked up?

sherwood
FURNEYFURNEYFURNEYFURNEYFURNEY

Craig Powers
Reid crushes Basler in a stat comparison. 45 yards a punt his senior year. Dunning hit a better percentage, slightly, but Furney hit a 60-yarder. I kinda forgot that Basler played two more seasons after the Holiday Bowl

sherwood
To be fair: FURNEYFURNEYFURNEYFURNEYFURNEY

Craig Powers
Furney is our only kicker who is also royalty

BA
So this is what we did

AllCenturyTeam

sherwood
That defense is terrifying. I'm still open to putting Falk at QB. But maybe let him win the conference on one leg first.

Craig Powers
We can revisit next year, then Falk might be tops

BA
We didn't do a whole lot. Wilson was the only one I thought really needed to be on here and was left off.

Craig Powers
Yeah, watching Marquess play wideout was like watching Cano play second base. Everything looked so easy.

sherwood
We tried our best and we made good friends.

Craig Powers
Proud of everyone. Just checking though -- we definitely don't want Reid at RB?

*****

So, how'd we do? Who'd make the cut for your WSU All-Century team?