Mike Leach on the Palouse, Oh Yeah!

Becky Veazey Timmons  was asked to become an administrator for the Team Leach FB page about two years ago and she happily agreed to do so because of her total dissatisfaction over how Coach Leach was treated and her desire to see justice for him.  She serves as an officer for The Mike Leach Foundation,  she has worked in the medical field in Lubbock, Texas for the past 30 years, she is  a rabid Coug convert and she is today’s Guest Blogger.

-Happy Friday! – Erik

 

Mike Leach on the Palouse, Oh Yeah!

by Becky Veazey Timmons

As I sat and watched the Crimson & Gray game on April 21st, I caught myself wearing a constant and somewhat silly grin on my face.  It didn’t take more than a split second to analyze what that meant.  The drought is over and Mike Leach is back on the sidelines where he belongs, which makes me as happy as a little girl.  He’s back with his cargo shorts and his little piece of paper which serves as his version of a playbook/game plan, I suppose.  After games, he will be back with his postgame quips that no one will see coming.  It was a good day.  I had no problems putting down Book II of The Hunger Games in order to take it all in.

There are only a few people are more excited than I to see the next chapter of wacky and exciting football that “The Crazy Pirate” always brings to the table.  Granted, there are people with whom I have become acquainted over the last two and a half years who are every bit as excited I am.  To see the excitement of the fan base at WSU embrace Coach Leach gives me a happy heart.  I’m not sure how to define that phenomenon we call Mike Leach football, or to explain the way he just brings people together, but here we are.

I learned the rules of football when I was in the 5th grade.  My older brother would have friends over to watch the Dallas Cowboys play.  He wouldn’t allow me to join them unless I knew what was going on.  I hauled out the World Book Encyclopedia and learned the rules, and was welcomed into the Sunday Boys’ Club.  I never dreamed that there would be someone like Coach Leach to elevate my football experience to the level that he did.

As we look forward to the season opener, the only certainty is that it will be unpredictable.  You may be able to predict how many games The Cougars will win.  You may be able to predict how many points will be scored in a game or two (it’s always best to go with an insanely high number).  We will just have to wait and see.  As you have heard me and others say, hold on tight because you’re in for a wild ride.  That’s not just rhetoric.  We really mean it.  Happy Football, Cougars and Pirates of the Palouse!  Wave the Flag and Swing Your Sword!  May the odds be ever in your favor.

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BRINGING THE PIRATE TO PULLMAN

BERT KLASEY is a Freelance Television Producer who works primarily in the development of new shows that will soon become a household name, like “HOARDERS.”  He is a talented professional and HE IS A COUG.

Bert is also today’s Guest Blogger and for this post he interviewed non other than BILL MOOS.  It is an awesome read. GO COUGS! – Erik

_________________________________________________________

Here at Pirates of the Palouse, Erik Hill and Chris Klug have done a great job providing some compelling content over the past few months.  When they asked me to be a “guest blogger” for the second time (thanks guys!), I wanted to provide something a bit different than what I had presented before.

Mike Leach, of course, is the focus of this site, but what about the man who brought him here?

For those of you who are new to WSU, that man’s name is Bill Moos.  He is the Director of Athletics and he is a very big deal.  How big?  Well, let’s put it this way, I’m very comfortable saying that WSU President Elson Floyd’s recruitment of Bill Moos was as big of a deal, if not bigger, than Bill Moos’s recruitment of Mike Leach.

Moos is a superstar in college athletics, and he’s the man who brought us all together by bringing Leach to WSU.

But how did he do it?  And now that it’s done, where do we go from here?  I wanted to find out, and I hope you do to.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune of speaking with Moos for more time than I could imagine that a busy AD has to spare.  Without really knowing him, though, I get the feeling that he’s the type of person who, despite a busy schedule, makes time for the fans.

You have to like that.

I’ve heard many things about Moos over the years, and not a single one of them has been negative.  In the landscape of college sports, and especially of college football, that is something that is more than unique, it may be more akin to seeing a unicorn wrestling a mermaid on top of a flying carpet.

Minutes in to our conversation, I was able to confirm much of what I’d heard – he’s genuine, affable, and 100% Coug, through and through.

I stated my purpose for the article and we were off.  Below are some excerpts of our Q&A.

 

BK:  You were in “semi-retirement” from college sports when you took the job at WSU, what was it that made you want to come back?

 

Moos: I was out of the business since spring of 07.  My wife and I built a cattle ranch up outside of Spokane, on some land that we bought when we were in Eugene, OR.  During that time I served as a consultant to athletics here at Washington State and I think that President Floyd got to know me a little bit and I got to get a pretty good feel for him and so when the job vacated in 2010 he asked me to join his team here and I said “that would be a real honor and I feel very fortunate to finish my career where I started it, over 40 years ago here.”

 

But I told him what my vision would be and that I didn’t want to come down here and be a maintenance man I wanted to come down here and see Washington State compete for championships and in order to do that I would have to have his support and the administration’s support and he wholeheartedly agreed and I thought it was a very good connection there and that was it. 

 

BK:  What were some of the major issues that needed to be addressed upon your arrival?

 

Moos:  One of the things that I knew we had to do here, which I had to do at Oregon and Montana before, was change the culture and the mindset from being perennial underdog to being a championship contender and believing in ourselves and our mission.    We’re making strides there.  We’re not completely there yet, but we’re making strides.  Another thing that I knew, coming in, and was confirmed was that we needed to put a lot of energy and resources in to facilities and to marketing and branding our program.

 

So we started building this plan and it got expensive.  To build facilities, rebrand, expand the staff, improve infrastructure with the existing department and grow it, so I realized early on that I had to try and take advantage of the conference’s – the Pac-10 at the time – pursuit of expansion and route to a lucrative new television contract.  I saw that as the source we need, and the revenue stream that is imperative to offset the expenses of the blue print.  I, at that point, put all my focus in to getting the support to establish for the first time in our conference history, an equal revenue sharing formula that indeed then would enable us do the things that I had discussed.  

 

BK:  What was your role in that?  What opposition did you face?

 

Moos:  Well, I am the dean of the Pac-12 ADs.  I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen the haves and the have-nots and I’ve witnessed first hand the inequities of the, what was at the time, the current revenue-sharing plan that was in place.  We never had enough votes to change it.  You needed – with 10 member institutions – you needed 8.  And we could max out at 7 and never get there.  But in my line of thinking as I was piecing this together, to form a coalition of member institutions to join me in establishing a new plan because with 12 institutions we needed 9 votes and I felt that if I could get the 7 that I had, in previous votes, and get the two new schools, we had the 9 necessary to get it done.  So, I took it upon myself to build that group together and bond us to go to the table and to have enough votes to negate USC and UCLA and it was very  – it was tense times.  

 When we sat down in August, of 2010, and I’d just been on the job since mid-April, and the consultants were there and all that and we were going to decide at that meeting, start to have discussions on how we were going to divide the conference so we could have an NCAA-approved football championship game.  And so, at that meeting, the discussions came up and I raised my hand, it was about 10 minutes in to it, and said “I think it’s ridiculous to establish how we’re going to divide the conference until we establish how we are going to divide the money.” In the spirit of compromise, we were willing to give USC and UCLA $2 million a piece off the top for five years or until we hit the benchmark of $180 million.  And they were happy with that, thinking we couldn’t even hit $180 million until year five, and lo and behold, Larry Scott, our commissioner and our team right out of the shoot exceeded $180 million in the first year with an unprecedented TV package that is the most lucrative in the history of college sports.  

 

*NOTE - The deal Commissioner Larry Scott struck was with ESPN and Fox, and was worth over $3 billion dollars over 12 years, about $225 million per year. Each school would receive about $21 million per year under the equal revenue sharing deal orchestrated by Moos.

 

BK:  You flew about as far across the country as possible just to talk to Mike Leach.  Not to hire him, but just to talk to him.  What was it about Coach Leach that compelled you to take such a trip?

 

Moos:  I’m just going to, for 30 seconds, point out that I wouldn’t have even been on that airplane, or looking out my window right now and seeing a $65-million stadium renovation if we had not had that revenue stream created.  So with that in place and being able to project and knowing that full well, yes I was hoping that Paul Wulff was going to make it, but I saw apathy in our fan base, nothing was energized in any way internally even though we were working very hard in that regard, I had to make some tough decisions there.  When I went down to see Mike, first of all he had been on my short list even when I was back at Oregon.   I liked his brand of football, I liked his approach to the game, I liked his, the excitement not just of his offense, and other aspects of his football program but also, his personality and he looked like a possible great fit for us here at Washington State.  But I had to see it first hand because if I was going to make a change I wanted to do it fast. 

 

So I went under the radar when I was starting to get disenchanted with our play, and I actually secured the services of an individual that I trusted, actually that was in the media profession, television and sports in Eugene, Oregon, and when we went down to play in Oregon, I spent two hours with him and I asked him to serve in the capacity of a liaison with Mike Leach’s agent to see if there was an interest and, if I may say, if we were going to go after somebody of this caliber, this individual that I secured – I can’t give you his name – knew me, knew the success we had at Oregon and that I wanted him to sell me.  Because I knew there would be a lot of callers to Mike Leach because it looked like in the landscape of college football there was going to be turnover.  It was important, I thought, to be in there early just to see if what I perceived to be a good fit, truly would be. 

 

Bert:  How does Mike Leach fit in to the brand that you’re trying to build?

 

Moos:  A perfect fit.  We rebranded our uniforms, our fonts, we kept our cougar head logo and built around it.  I talked about changing our self-image and our culture, we started to change things from our spirit squads and all that – we were working on the sizzle and looking for the steak.  And as the sizzle was going and the plans for the stadium and all the things going in to place, I had to make sure that the steak was right, and that’s why I went to Key West.   And he’ll tell you, that when I sat down with him for three and a half hours, the first thing I said to him was  “I want you to know that I’m supporting my coach and I hope he makes it.  But in the event he doesn’t, I want to be prepared to make a change and to make it fast.  You’re number one on my list, you were when I was at Oregon and I want to get to know you and I want for you to get to know me. And that’s what this is all about.”

 

BK:  Knowing what you know of the Coach, do you feel that he chose you, President Floyd and WSU as much as you chose him?

 

Moos:  The President puts all of his confidence in me and allows me to do these things.  And that was all agreed upon when I took the job, so President Floyd really did not know that I was even down there.  He and I had not had our conversation about the existing coach yet and where I thought we should go.  What I think appealed to Mike Leach was my resume, and the fact that if you’ve read his book, I think he said he had four presidents and three chancellors or something like that, and I think that everybody wanted to get in his business.  We have a president who wants to be successful in an honorable way and has entrusted me with those decisions.  And I told Mike Leach at the end of our meeting, or toward the end of it, that we have a supportive president that has indeed trusted in me this department and it would be him and I, with the blessing of the president, building this program.

 

BK:  How do you see Leach’s hire as a boon to all athletics at WSU and even to the University as a whole?

 

Moos:  I thought it was going to be off the charts and it exceeded my expectations.  You just need to look at the awakening of our alumni, the growth of our fan base, the – we sold 2000 NEW season tickets, people who had never had them, within 10 working days.  That’s up to 2800 now, we’re up to 98% renewal on last year’s season ticket holders.  I just toured our new donor seating areas, our premium seating area on the south side, the 21 suites up there, ranging from $30,000-$50,000 were all sold within two weeks, we have a waiting list, 44 loge boxes all sold.  Just under 1200 club seats, we’re at about 80% there.  There will be a sold out stadium come September 8th, which will be our home opener.

 

BK:  So it reached the desired effect and then some?

 

Moos:  Well, it was a national story.  And you stop and think of the northwest schools, with the possible exception of Dennis Erickson but I don’t think so, there’s never been a bigger name hired than this.   And it’s just what we needed to energize Cougar athletics and with that, the entire University.  He has a tremendous following.  I wish I had the numbers for you, the number of people in Lubbock and down through Texas who have contributed to the Cougar Athletic Fund and who have bought tickets, it’s phenomenal.

 

BK:  Speaking of national exposure, with the BYU game and the UNLV game both being nationally-televised –

 

Moos:  That would’ve never happened!  That’s the thing, making a move like this and making sure we now capitalize on it in every single way.  We now have more donors to the CAF then ever before in the history of this school.   That’s the good news, the bad news is that it’s still not enough.  I talked to you about season tickets and the facilities enhancements and we’re just in the final stages of design for a just under 90,000 square foot football operations building to go in the west endzone.  With regents approval we’re hoping to break ground on that just after the 2012 season – all these things are capitalizing on from the Mike Leach hire.  And in the meantime, allowing him to build his program and hire a staff which he has told me and others, is the best staff that he’s ever had, and focus on recruiting and preparing and getting ready for the upcoming season for which there’s great anticipation and a lot of excitement brewing.

 

BK:  You’ve accomplished an amazing amount in two years, what’s the plan for year 5?

 

Moos:  In the game plan, by year five, all sports are in the position to compete in the upper tier of the Pac-12 and are in a position to be in post season competition and that being more the norm than the exception.  And we’re on our way to that.  I was thrilled with our women’s tennis team.  This team won 19 matches, finished 5th in the Pac-12, Lisa Hart Pac-12 coach of the year…those young women have the mentality, the winner’s mentality, the culture has changed and that’s what we’re doing across the board.

 

BK:  What do you have to say to groups like Pirates of the Palouse that are made up of not just WSU fans, but Tech fans and Leach fans and football fans from all over the country?

 

Moos: We extend ourselves and reach out to sports fans everywhere and extend an invitation to be Cougars.  It’s a wonderful family.  It’s a close-knit group and our heads are high now that we can be in a position to be a source of pride to all those involved and we want the masses to be a part of our Cougar brand and hope that they can all get to our beautiful campus and enjoy our events and some improved venues and feel the excitement that you and I know that comes along with being a Cougar.

 

BK:  I’d say that there’s room on our bandwagon, is that right?

 

Moos:  Absolutely and if it’s not big enough, we’ll get a new one.

 

-BERT KLASEY

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In search of treasure… X marks the spot – Greg Copeland

Happy Friday! I am excited to announce that today’s guest blogger is Greg Copeland. He is the co-anchor weekday mornings on Northwest Cable News and can also be seen on KING 5 News at Noon in Seattle.  AND he is a COUG!

Have a great weekend and be sure to vote for WSU at ESPN College Game Day everyday. – Erik

 

In search of treasure… X marks the spot.

When you’re looking for riches you need the right Tuel. Barring any unforeseen injuries, Cap’n Leach has his first mate in number 10 (X). He’s the best bet to man the helm as the Cougars set sail due north looking to get out of Davy Jones’ proverbial locker. Tuel looked pretty good in his first salvo going 22 of 47, tossing four touchdowns in the annual Crimson and Gray game in Spokane this year.  But he also threw a couple of pics, and that’s adding to the fodder that the defense is stepping up.

There seems to be a lot to get excitement about this season with tons of potential out of redshirt players… many of them ready to attack the rest of the Pac-12 Armada. Two guys to keep an eye on arrr linebackers Darryl Monroe out of Florida who was injured in the Idaho game last year and is probably champing at the bit to hit people this season. And then there’s Tana Pritchard out of Lakewood, who has a lot to live up to. His dad David played in the 1981 Holiday Bowl for the Cougs and you might have heard of his uncle… Jack Thompson. This guy knows how to win. He was the starting quarterback, starting linebacker  and punter in high school, so he understands both sides of the field pretty well. It’s pretty clear the Cougs needed to beef up their defense after finishing last in league with just 17 sacks last year, 11th in passing defense efficiency and 10th in interceptions with just 8. The focus on D could make it a Long-Knight for opposing offenses. Both the DE’s arrr more experienced and ready to kick some booty.

Keeping other teams from racking up the score will no doubt help the offense find its groove. This team was 2nd in passing efficiency last year, but 10th in rushing, and allowed a league-worst 40 sacks. One can only hope it Goetz better, and I’m sure there are a few things on Forbes’ List to get Dunn. Pardon the puns, but not really. These arrr three big guys who have to help Galvinize the offense in to a running machine. You create a respectable run and Teul can stay on target, cannons blazin’, hopefully headed to a  treasure trove of scoring as the Cougs and their Pirate Posse take aim at a winning record.

120 days till kickoff.

Arrrrr!

-Greg Copeland

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A New Definition for your Dictionary…

What a great week! WSU Marketing delivered an awesome poster, we’ve got the game tomorrow in Spokane (which will be streamed on SWX Right Now Sports) and we have a new Guest Blogger from Sportsminds.org! (you can see a link to their blog on the right hand side of your screen under Partner Blogs).

Please allow me to introduce Dan Shirley. Go Cougs! – Erik

 

 

With the snow giving way for sun, this marks the nearing end of the school year on the Palouse. We have seen the end of one coaching tenure (I wish you the best in your future endeavors, Wulff) and the beginning of the next.

While we all questioned the game time decisions that have been happening for a couple of years, such as punting while down 17 with three minutes remaining, there was one thing that Wulff brought to the table and Moos/Leach are building off of. This is the emotion that comes with being part of the Cougar family. When one decides to join this family, they are making an emotional promise to turn the knob to 11 when it comes to Washington State football.

While we have been seeing countless posts of predictions, analysis, and recruiting news from the crew over at  CougCenter along with top of the line discussions in the Cougfan forums, one thing that is hard to put into words is the emotion that comes from everything that has taken us by storm this year.

I’ll admit; I have become complacent over the years with our football performance. People that I grew up with that made the horrible life choice of wearing purple and gold outside were starting to convince me that WSU might just be a mediocre football school. It’s been quite some time since we set foot in a bowl game (our last trip was December 30, 2003 when we beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl, 28-20) and all of the great quarterbacks had come and gone.

Despite all of that, I had made a promise to my family that I would support them and be there for them when they needed me most. Whether this was vehemently arguing against people that were bad mouthing WSU, wearing my crimson not just on Fridays, or doing whatever else was necessary, I was there for my fellow Cougs.

Turn the clock forward a bit and you find us in the post Apple Cup lull where our season was complete and we didn’t know who our new coach was going to be. Then, one fateful day, Mike Leach was announced as the new coach of the football team, captain of the ship if you may. I was flabbergasted. This was a pipedream of mine and many others. There was no way that a little school like WSU out in the middle of nowhere would be able to get the mighty Leach. But lo and behold, thanks to Bill Moos and an insane amount of TV money from the PAC-12 Network (can’t get here soon enough), signing Leach was now more than a possibility. It was a reality.

Being a math major, I have to take pointless classes like Mathematical Reasoning that are taught by professors that aren’t obsessed with WSU athletics. Said professors also like to schedule mid-term exams during the exact same time as the press conference for Leach’s announcement. There was no way that I was going to miss the opportunity to hear one of Leach’s speeches in person. So, during the countless hours that I spent wide awake at night out of sheer excitement, I had decided that I would rush through the exam no matter what my grade would be in order to make it to the CUB senior ballroom (I got a high B on the exam in case you were wondering. I’m a huge nerd.).

This was a moment that I will remember forever. Silly anecdotes about skeletons in his office at Texas Tech and lessons about how to swing your sword are still floating around my head as I write this. I was more than willing to possibly cause myself some embarrassment by walking around campus all day in a wig, eye patch, and a pirate hat in order to make myself believe that this was actually happening.

What I first imagined as a hype that would fade after a week turned into a reignited flame that has still not burnt out. I see ticket sales increasing. I see people walking past Martin Stadium suddenly have a smile run across their face. I see people waving WSU shirts at the Masters! Mike Leach served as the catalyst to get us pumped once again to see our boys in crimson and gray run out of the tunnel. Never let this feeling die, for when it does, you’ll slip back into the dark abyss known as complacency.

Let me add a new definition to your dictionary. Couging it: Winning. Being excited. Willing to believe that WSU will win the 2013 BCS National Championship.

Go Cougs!

-Dan Shirley
Sportsminds.org

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It’s going to be one hell of a ride – Jeff Nusser

Today’s featured Guest Blogger is JEFF NUSSER from CougCenter.com! I enjoy his blog and I am happy he agreed to contribute this week. There is a link to his site along the right hand side. Happy Friday! – Erik

 

When I hear how excited people are that Mike Leach is now our coach, I think to myself: “You have no idea.”

Not that other people aren’t legitimately excited. Of course they are. But it’s hard to imagine that their own personal excitement can legitimately rival my own. It probably does. But indulge me for a moment.

Grady Clapp and I launched CougCenter.com back in August 2008. In internet years, that’s practically a lifetime ago. (As an aside, Cougfan.com has been around since 1998 — I feel like that kind of longevity doesn’t get the kind of appreciation it deserves. Applause to you, sirs.) The site’s launch coincided with Paul Wulff’s first season. Turns out, we had pretty much the worst timing ever. The tepid excitement that came from the curiosity of changing coaches quickly turned into dread and embarrassment as that first season burst into a tire fire of epic proportions. While most fans had the luxury of shaking their head and changing the channel, we had to write about it.

Every. Single. Game.

Day after day, week after week, we were trying to grow our fledgling little site by coming up with stories about a football team that was losing games by margins we could have never imagined just five years removed from a Holiday Bowl victory. There was so much fan interest in the team that Grady, Craig Powers and I participated in this epic game thread about six weeks after our launch. If you look closely, you’ll notice there were 351 comments … all of them by the three of us. (Craig wasn’t an author yet, but it was dedication like this that caught our eye!) You’ll also notice that we were still sort of in awe of how bad the team was.

If only we knew.

Here’s the point: I have written about more terrible football than I care to remember. Trust me when I tell you that it’s harder than it sounds. And while I was equally OK with Wulff leading this team into a fifth season or replacing him with someone expectedly benign, words can’t describe the excitement I felt when it was reported that Mike Leach was the guy.

It isn’t just the fact that the guy is a proven winner; it’s the whole package. The explosive offense. The larger-than-life personality. The sudden national relevance for a program that had become a punch line.

Given that I cover the Cougs in what amounts to a part-time job capacity, the prospect of writing about a program that actually is relevant is truly just short of intoxicating. And the best part is that we get to enjoy it all together. I don’t write for me – I write for us.

I don’t know that Mike Leach will be the most successful coach in school history. People seem to forget that he had two fewer conference championships at Texas Tech than Mike Price did at WSU. And while he never had fewer than six wins in any of his 10 seasons, he also only won more than nine games just once.

But here’s what I do know: It’s going to be one hell of a ride. And that’s exciting.

 

Jeff Nusser
CougCenter.com

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Damn it feels good to be a Cougar

I had coffee with another  Coug the other day. We hadn’t met in person prior to the business meeting and when we did it was like we were old friends. We had this shared but separate experience in common, something that’s difficult to explain. It is like how the Inuit people have multiple lexemes for snow or the meaning of the Spirit of Aloha in the Hawaiian language. We knew we were Cougs and we greeted each other by saying GO COUGS.

Maybe you chuckle when I put it in this way, but the “Experience of Cougness” is real.

We drank coffee, talked business, talked Cougness  and he shared a story about the Rose Bowl with me. He went to an Alumni function in Santa Monica the night before the game and struck up a conversation with an older Alum. This Alum broke down the difference between a husky and a Coug in two sentences.

He said, “If you meet a University of Washington grad he or she will tell you that they were a Husky. If you meet a Washington State University grad they will tell you that they are a Coug.”

It is a subtle difference, however one is thinking past tense and the other still lives and breathes it. One WAS and the other IS.

I’ve been processing that story since and have taken it to heart. We ARE Cougs. And I don’t care if you went to WSU or not. I don’t care if you graduated or not. If you identify as a fan, if you support the school, if you want to see the Cougs beat the dawgs… then you are a Coug and I have a high five waiting for you.

Tonight at 4pm (Pacific) we have a basketball game and it’s a big deal. We are one game away from the CBI Championship. Win or lose that’s huge.

Damn it feels good to be a Coug.

Coug up!

-Erik

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Happy Birthday Coach Mike Leach!

Happy Birthday Coach Mike Leach!

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Living on California Street in Pullman during the seventies…

Today’s Guest Blogger is Rob Krause. He writes a blog called ThePalousePirates.com. Not to be confused with Piratesofthepalouse.com :) Please check it out and enjoy this tale from his days at our Alma Matter. Have a great weekend! – Erik

Living on California Street in Pullman during the seventies has always been a highlight of my fond memories of being a Coug. I’d like to share a few stories about those days. 

A couple of young Eastern Washington boys lived in two Cal Street neighboring Frats. Eventually they both would  become All PAC 8 football players. Their names are Fritz Brayton and Bill Moos.

Fritz, a wide receiver and son of Cougar legend Bobo Brayton was loud,crazy and fun with lots of attitude. He’d rather run over a saftey than try to avoid being tackled. He was a specimen to be certain.

Bill Moos, who we all knew as Bull was a confident but quiet young man. He was serious about his studies and loyal among his brothers. On Friday nights, back in those days, you left your favorite girl home and spent your evening with the guys. Often ending up at a fraternity kegger, The Coug or off to Moscow. Around six PM many of us in the Sigma Chi house would wonder on occasion over to the Pi Kap house with a couple of cool ones in our pockets. We headed for the hall way outside the Bull’s room where we would play a game called “Stump the Bull.” Bill could sing the theme song to almost any TV show or the jingle to most TV commercials. You would call out a show like Howdy Dowdy or Leave it to Beaver and Bull would sing the complete tune. When he got it right, which was most of the time, the challenger would have to chug his brew. We’d all laugh and move on to the next challenger. Some nights got very interesting in that we entertained our selves in unusual ways. There was the occasional panty raid at the Tri Delts, dropping of little piglets into the Theta sleeping dorm window or trying ti fill the TKE swimming pool with Jello. When it snowed the PIKES and the Machi would team up and drive the SAE’s or Kappa Sigs back onto their front porches in a snowball fight. You could usually count on several fist fights and a few Pullman Police cars but in the end no one ever got arrested and the house presidents would negotiate the window damage so we were all square by Monday morning.

Life was simple back then. No cell phones or computers. Freshmen played on the Freshman team. The term “red shirt” didn’t exist and most of us got our degrees in four years.
  
One of the greatest California Street stories happened in 1968 up at Joe Albi Stadium. The Stanford Indians were busy running up the score with Heisman winner Jim Plunket when a fan who lived on California Street ran onto the field and tackled Randy Vataha stopping what would have been a 75 yard touch down run on about the WSU 30. After the student was arrested and the penalty paced off the Stanford Indians scored 3 plays later. Finally the upset of the decade was posted in 1971 when WSU upset a highly ranked Stanford team with a last second field goal by a kicker Sweeney found in a PE Soccer class.
I could go on but some of the stories might bore you, others you wouldn’t believe and some are best left unsaid. I think it’s memories that bind Cougar fans together. I know those were four wonderful years for me.
        
-Rob Krause
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Ignore the Darkside Football Guy – Today we put the FUN in fundamentals – Football Basics

Ignore the Darkside Football Guy…

I meet  that “Football Guy” all the time. He’s the one that knows and understands more about the game of football than I ever will and is always extremely happy to break it down the  when it comes to talkin’ the game. He knows all the big words, the names of all formations from popular to the obscure, and he even knows what elementary school every pro football player attended and relishes the opportunity to explain why he knew a particular player was on his way to “the show” in the 4th grade. HOWEVER a clavicle, is still a collarbone and a patella, is still the knee cap.

I like that “Football Guy,” I always learn something when we chat, as long as he has not traveled over to the dark side and that over abundance of knowledge is now used for evil. The “Darkside Football Guy” likes to make people feel silly or stupid  for not understanding why a Flexbone Offensive Set may or may not be a wise choice, especially when facing a 33 Stack Defense with attitude.

A mentor once told me that the game of football is like music. Fundamentally there are only so many keys that you can play, but it’s the virtuoso that practices those fundamentals until it’s no longer mental, he practices until he no longer has to think about it, and well… it’s fun.

So, let’s put the FUN in fundamentals and talk football basics.

My wife loves football…well she likes football… she loves Eli Manning. She bought a book a few years back written by Holly Robinson Peete (she’s married to NFL Quarterback Rodney Peete) called Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game!: A Woman’s Guide to Loving Pro Football. We recommend it to anyone who wants to understand football, but is surrounded by Dark Side Football Guys. It explains the game and helps you realize how simple and simply beautiful it is.

I will be breaking down some basic formations over the next several blog posts and it’s my hope that it helps those who don’t  yet understand the game and want to understand it a little better.

For Starters

Football consists of 11 players on each side of the ball. One side is called the Offense (the ones with possession of the ball and looking to score) and the Defense is on the other side of the ball looking to get the ball back and not let the Offense score.

That’s basically all it is. Each team gets their fair opportunity to be on the Offense and attempt to score points. You are given 4 attempts to move the ball 10 yards. Every time you move the ball 10 yards your attempt count goes back to one. These are called downs. Have you heard folks say “4th down and one, punt or go for it?” Well this means you are on your 4th attempt to move the ball the 10 yards needed for the attempts to revert back to one, and you have one yard to go. You can punt (kick it away) down the field to keep the other team as far away from the their end zone as possible (the end zone is where you score points) or you go for it by moving the ball one more yard and keep the ball.

That’s a good start for now. We’ll dive into more tomorrow where I will discuss what a formation is and give you examples of what one looks like.

If you want another great resource for Football and Cougar Athletics, check out Jeff Nusser’s work at Coug Center

Happy Saturday!

-Erik

 

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Mike Leach Does Not Play Around

We teach others how to treat us. We set a tone from the first meeting that becomes reinforced as the relationship grows and the longer it grows it  becomes more difficult to change.  That’s why first impressions are important. That’s why you address issues immediately that negatively impact your interests and reward the positive ones.

I am a military brat, I like rules and I cannot stomach ambiguity.  I like to understand that if I choose to punch someone in the face for not letting me into their party I will suffer the consequences. If there are no consequences for that type of behavior the value that I give to the other rules drops exponentially. And others start to discount the rules as well.

I believe Mike Leach just  made one of the best calls of his coaching career at WSU and the tone has been reinforced.

Mike Leach does not play around.

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