Cougs on a Tuesday

So, congrats to Auburn, your 2010 National Champs!  Quite a finish to that game last night, after what was kind of a dud of a game for a while?  But the last few minutes were frantic, with Oregon getting it all tied up at 19-19 with the big 2-pt conversion, only to see Auburn break off the long run with the so-called “wrist” tackle that wasn’t? 

SB Nation Atlanta took a look at the play, with video and a still pic right here, as well as an explanation of the rule.  As the video brilliantly shows, this exact same type of play happened a week ago.  In the Sugar Bowl, the Arkansas runner’s wrist was down, so he should have been ruled down.  PERIOD.  Yet somehow the refs let this one go.  But what can you do?  As the video says at the end, DEAL WITH IT. 

But deal with it, really?  Uh, yeah, that’s a little bit easier to say when you are on the winning side of the call, isn’t it??  Had the situation been reversed, maybe all of Quack Attack nation would be flapping their wings about their national title today, meanwhile Auburn would be lobbying for a congressional investigation.  That’s the reality.

You know what though?  Maybe the bigger story in all this is that for the second year in a row, Chip Kelly’s offense went into a big-time bowl game with over a month off between games, and they were held to less than 20 points (19 points this year, 17 points last year in the Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State).  Teddy Miller nailed it today, saying how Oregon’s o-line just got whooped by Auburn’s big bodies on their d-line.  After all, the Ducks averaged 6.1 yards per carry this year and over 300 yards rushing per game (!).  Auburn held them to 2.3 yards per carry and just 75 total yards on the ground.  If you recall, this same kind of thing happened last year with Ohio State, where another defense with some big-time ability on the defensive line handled the flash-n-dash of Oregon. 

Who knows, maybe the key is to get the Ducks out of Autzen, where the crowd isn’t a factor.  Get them on grass, where their speed is at least neutralized somewhat.  Get over a month to study and scheme and prepare for such an unusual, fast break offense.  And oh yeah,  have a bunch of NFL-quality defensive linemen.  Have ALL THAT?  You CAN slow down that machine! 

But that’s the problem from where we sit, isn’t it??  See, there just aren’t a lot of Alabama, Auburn or Ohio State-type defensive linemen sitting there, pining to go to WSU.  Of course I wish we had a bunch of Nick Fairley’s ready to come off the bench, but that just isn’t the case.  However, that isn’t just a WSU problem though.  There have been a lot of articles in recent years, talking about how the SEC has the edge in not just the size up front, but with the depth that many SEC teams have up front that other conferences just can’t match.  The west coast simply doesn’t produce the same amount of quality and quantity that the SEC can roll out every week.  Is there any argument to that, when you step back and take a look at the big picture?  The SEC has now won the BCS title five years in a row.  Doesn’t exactly sound like a fluke, does it? 

Now is there hope for our Cougs?  Maybe.  There are some decent looking young defensive linemen in the Coug program right now, led by Travis Long at d-end and Anthony Laurenzi, Justin Clayton, etc.  We still get Brandon Rankin for another year, and he was a player that Alabama was interested in a year ago.  And next year we should get our first look at Toni Pole, a talented kid in that A’i Ahmu mold of stout and quick inside.  But man, as much as I love our progress with Jeff Tuel at QB, Marquess Wilson at WR, CJ Mizell at linebacker and Deone Bucannon at safety?  You watch the waves of talent Auburn has up front, and it just struck me watching that and then watching how badly WSU struggled to stop anyone on the ground this year, and wow, we A LONG WAY away!  Breaking news, right?  :)

Let’s just say that I’m awfully glad we don’t play in the SEC.  After watching this bowl season, and seeing how they manhandled good teams, you wonder what would happen if we had to try and block some of those defensive lines.  We had enough trouble with average talent against the likes of Cal, Arizona or UW.  Imagine trying to battle Auburn, Alabama, Florida and LSU on a weekly basis (Yikes!).  Again, maybe things are looking up as time goes on.  But when you boil it back down to the basics of what happens at the line of scrimmage, there is still a ton of ground to make up.

Finally, Grippi has the news that five kids have enrolled at WSU, so we should see these kids in spring ball.  WR’s Isiah Myers and Henry Eaddy, two of the Florida kids, have enrolled.  Meanwhile, JC’ers Ian Knight (d-end) and Taylor Meighen (center) are also in.  Finally, a kid signed last year but didn’t qualify, defensive end Xavier Cooper, also enrolled.  So there you have it.  Five new young and ready bodies to add to the mix for spring ball! 

That’s it for now.  Enjoy your Tuesday, and GO COUGS!