Happy Friday Cougs, and happy last weekday of March (or is it SMARCH, what with this crazy weather we’ve seen lately? I know I’ve used this picture before, but wow, Lousy SMARCH weather). Anyway, there’s a lot to get to in the Coug universe, with a ton of recaps, interviews, and news-n-stuff. So continue on after…..
First, yeah, this has been getting a lot of online “play” the last couple of days, but Mike Leach was on KIRO in Seattle. You can listen to the interview here:
Leach touches on spring ball of course, but also a whole bunch of topics, from Howard Stern to a spiel about which Pac-12 mascot would be the toughest, and/or win in a fight. But it’s also note-worthy in regards to Sekope Kaufusi, and whether or not he really could return for the fall (right around the 8-minute mark of the interview).
A lot was made of some comments Leach made on KJR a couple of days prior to the KIRO interview, with Ian Furness. You can hear that interview here, from 3/26. In the interview, Leach appears to leave the door slightly ajar for a return to the team for Sekope Kaufusi?? I mean you hear that interview, it’s hard not to connect the dots and think hmmm, maybe there is a shot. But then after listening to the KIRO interview a few days later, it doesn’t sound so clear. And when Jim Moore asks directly about the door being open for Kaufusi, Leach said “I never said that.”
I know a lot of us have speculated (hoped?) that if Kaufusi were to meet some requirements or goals set out before him, that perhaps there would be a chance to return after making a dumb mistake. But that might be more wishful thinking than anything else. And it seems pretty clear that IF there is anything out there, any type of plan for Kaufusi to return? It’s private, between Kaufusi and the coaching staff, and we’ll just have to see what happens. But speculating on it is good blog-fodder/message board commenting, but it sounds like nothing but pure speculation at this point.
One thing we can’t really speculate on? Aaron Dunn is moving on. Per Cougfan, Dunn has been absent from practice the last couple of days and now will transfer from WSU. I have to admit that it’s disappointing to hear that any player is looking to leave, but when it’s a recruit who was so highly touted coming out of high school like Dunn, it’s especially disappointing from a fan P-O-V.
If you can remember a few years ago, Dunn was a four-star tight end from Spokane, one of the highest rated recruits in the Paul Wulff era. After all, Dunn was the #9 rated tight end in the country when he signed on in 2010, the highest rated position player ever signed by Paul Wulff (noted that CJ Mizell was at one time rated a top-10 linebacker in the country, but that was when he initially signed with Florida State and then missed a season. Once upon a time, Mizell was the #5 rated inside linebacker in the nation when he chose Florida State over Florida and South Carolina). But Dunn had some injury issues from the get-go, and never really saw much action as he was buried on the depth chart in an offense that didn’t use the tight end a whole lot anyway.
Now you think the Air Raid offense, you don’t exactly picture the tight end as a glamour position! Sure, the TE might get some time on the field here and there, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. Maybe you see more of what they keep talking about with Andrei Lintz, splitting him out in the slot and getting him the ball in space vs. having him line up in a 3-point stance the whole time? But the “BLINK” reaction when you think Air Raid is four wideouts, one running back and a QB in shotgun. So maybe more than anything, Dunn saw the writing on the wall and with a few years of eligibility left, it was the right move. Best of luck to him, and it’s too bad it didn’t work out in Pullman.
Speaking on Andrei Lintz, it’s encouraging to hear such good things about him coming out of spring ball. I know he hasn’t done a whole lot in actual games – at least not yet – but we all caught a glimpse of what he’s capable of last spring at the spring game in Spokane. He had a really nice diving TD catch on fade from Jeff Tuel, and I remember looking around at people after that catch thinking two things – 1) WOW, and 2) who WAS that?!? Here’s some video of the catch, at the 50-second mark:
So he doesn’t look like the new era of NFL tight ends, ala Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis. You know, basically the equivalent of an NBA small forward running down the middle of the field, catch balls 11 feet of the ground and pretty much a matchup nightmare! You want matchup nightmare, think Seferian-Jenkins at UW (can he hurry up and go pro already?? Yikes). But you can understand that Leach might be intrigued by a kid with Lintz’s skill set as a slot guy, where he might be too accomplished as a receiver for a linebacker to match up with him, and yet too big/physical for a safety to try and stop him. Should be fun to see how it all plays out, but I know for sure that we’ll be keeping an eye on Lintz’s role going forward.
Finally, more video for you.
1) Jeff Tuel after practice yesterday:
2) Mike Leach after practice:
3) ……and maybe the biggest news of all in 2012, the year of the Movie: THERE IS GOING TO BE AN ANCHORMAN SEQUEL!
STAY CLASSY Pullman. GO COUGS!