SWOGGER OUT FOR THE YEAR

Breaking news, via the Spokesman-Review:

WSU’s Swogger out for the year

PULLMAN — Washington State quarterback Josh Swogger has a broken bone in his left foot that will require surgery, ending the sophomore’s 2004 season prematurely.

X-rays and a CT scan taken Sunday night revealed a fracture in the navicular, a bone on the inside of the foot just inside the arch. “He’s going to need surgery,” team trainer Bill Drake said Monday morning. “He’s out for the season.”

Early estimates — though nothing is certain until the surgery is completed, most likely later this week — put Swogger’s rehabilitation schedule in the three- to six-month range. The quarterback will be on crutches for a significant portion of that time to keep weight off the foot.

As a result of the injury, the already-thin Cougars will have to turn to backup Alex Brink as their starter. Brink, a redshirt freshman, has played in two games at quarterback this season and completed 13-of-25 passes for 278 yards, including one touchdown and one interception.

Swogger has gone 91-of-193 on the year, tossing 13 touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

SO………………..what happens the rest of the way? Who frickin’ knows??!?!? They might rally around Brink, I mean stranger things have happened. Realistically? I have a hard time actually seeing Brink leading them to any wins at all. We’ll be underdogs for every game the rest of the way, minus the Apple Cup, which will probably be a pick’em in the biggest who-cares AC of all-time.

So, in looking at Swoggs and his perfomance as the starter – while he had some big moments, including comeback wins over UNM and ARIZ with late game TD passes, he also had such lousy streaks this year as well that maybe it was time for some new blood anyway? Sure, his TD-to-int ratio was positive, as was the overall passing yardage numbers (over 1,000), but 47% completion percentage? In an offense that likes to throw the ball around in a modified west-coast offense, 47% just isn’t good enough. The offense is not an Ohio State, grind it out and we’ll throw it 15 times a game offense, obviously. So when you are relying on your QB to complete a 5-7 yard pass on first down, it’s the same as Wisconsin running for 5 yards off tackle. But when you are expecting 65% completion rate, and you’re only getting 47%? That leads to a lot of 2nd-and-10’s.

THEN again, as Michael and I discussed, who the heck are we on offense? Are we a west-coast hybrid offense that needs the 5-yard completion to be successful? Or are we becoming a running team with the 2 backs that we saw – a lot – on Saturday, and the running game ran for 180 yards??

Now, sure, lots of drops early in the year as he had a brand new stable of receivers to throw to, and they were learning on the job, just as he was, AND there was zero running game for the first 4 games. But, looking at his performance the last few weeks, you have to be concerned about his completions being down, but also, as the competition was improving, so were his int’s. Is it because he was banged up? Was he trying to force the action more than earlier in the year? He started out with 9 TD’s and 2 INT’s, but he had thrown 4 TD’s and 4 INT’s the last 2 games. A sign of things to come?? We’ll never know.

Bottom line? I guess you could dissect his performance to death, go over game tapes, etc, pointing out what he did right and what he did wrong. Or, you just say, “he’s a young QB with a great arm who proved he has guts by responding not only to tough situations on the road, but also to a mini QB-controversy and came through that pretty well.” Even if the team doesn’t win another game the rest of the way, you have to think that they will benefit next year and beyond based on what Swoggs was able to accomplish on the field this year.

ON a side note – BOY is this the 2000 season all over again or what?!?!? Up-and-down, hot-and-cold, you just can go on and on and on. Same young nucleaus trying to figure it out on the fly. Great performances (wins over Utah and USC on the road, not easy) combined with terrible losses (lost to Idaho in Pullman and got destroyed at Oregon State and in the Apple Cup, the worst game I’ve ever seen WSU play in my lifetime.). QB gets injured, backup takes over. A couple of heartbreak losses already, similar to the 3 OT losses in 2000, including the shootout loss to Oregon this year, comparable to 53-47 loss at Arizona in 2000; tough, defensive loss decided late vs. Stanford, comparable to the 3-point OT loss to Oregon when we missed two field goals in OT.

As much as we were excited about being a winning program that is just used to winning, period, the writing was pretty much on the wall after the Colorado game. We are/were going to really struggle at times to do anything consistenly, and guess what???? THAT’S WHAT YOUNG TEAMS DO! They are inconsistent week-to-week. The do some things where you go “Oh my god!” and they do some other things where you go “…….oh……my……GOD…..NO!”

I’ll say this – where we sit today, if a year like 2000 happens this year, and it sure looks that way, and those experiences for so many young guys can lead to three more outstanding seasons coming up?? I’ll take it! Hey, it could be worse. We could be UW……

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