Hello Followers. Hope your election week is off to a good start.
Well, with the news that Marquess Wilson has quit the WSU Football team, all hell seems to have broken loose in and around Cougar Nation.
In fact, judging just by both my Facebook Page as well as my inbox, Cougar Nation seems divided evenly onto either side of Rusty's (pictured above) klassic kiester.
So, in an effort to call a spade a spade, I put together two and a half thoughts. For more on that, read on.
Followers, news of Wilson's departure follows most of the debate that divides us nationally. On one hand, we have the "player apologists" who think that there are other forms of motivation that work for today's kids more than the Bobby Knight "My way or the highway" approach. Of course, on the other side of the ledger (e.g. Crack) are the " Leach Defenders." Their point: When a 2-6 team shows up flat and gets their doors blown off, there is only one remedy: Separate the kids who want to be there from the kids who are content to just let the whole thing play out. And, as we are all well aware, that "Aw Shucks, we'll try harder next time" approach gets your teeth kicked in on most Saturday afternoons/evenings.
So, while it is tempting to take a side and just go off until we all go to blows, I thought I'd just split the middle and call a spade a spade. And it goes like this:
1) If this team beats UCLA on Saturday, then all of this is chatter becomes Moot in a hurry. So, the smart money suggests that we should just all sit back, suck our thumbs, watch the election, and see what happens on what figures to be a very cold Saturday night game in November.
2) If this team gets blown out on Saturday, then the situation will truly become what it appears to be right now: A dire one.
And at that point, it really doesn't do any good to point fingers, other than to signal the direction that is needed going forward. And truly, that direction is determined COMPLETELY by Moos' bottom line. And that bottom line is money.
You see, the calculus in firing Wulff and hiring Leach was more than just wins and losses. It was about putting butts in the seats (e.g. "adding the sizzle to the steak.") And while I don't think that Moos was clueless about this team's talent level, he clearly figured that if we were going to lose over the next few years, we were going to do so in grand fashion. Namely, he had to figure that the L's were going to be of the 49-46 variety—not the 49-6 kind we witnessed on Saturday.
Unfortunately, and as we've all seen at various points of each game throughout the year, our team is woefully undertalented, particularly on the offensive line. And while effort can certainly cure some of those ills, we all know that effort is only part of the calculus of winning. And since Leach is still recruiting RS candidates along the offensive line (e.g. 2 star kids that are really big), one can only surmise that while help may be coming, that help is a long way from realizing its potential.
So, as well look forward, we can all say that –barring two wins in the stretch run, plus Tuel returning–that this team will be the universal pick to finish last in the Pac-12 North again next year. And probably, the year after that as well.
And for that reason, Mr. Moos has to be looking squarely at his pocket book and wondering where he goes from here. Does he have enough confidence that Leach will be able to bring in the O-Linemen needed to make the Air Raid go? Will Leach be able to bring in those type of JC recruits in time to salvage his reputation and quiet the "Craig James was right" critique that is getting louder and louder on message boards and booster club meetings? Will the facility enhancements be enough to see us through another 4 year rebuild–and more importantly–will the fans and boosters continue to support the program with $$ in the form of attendance and donations?
Of course, none of those questions can be answered by any of us right now. So, in light of that basic fact, perhaps we can all agreee that this is NOT the season that anyone predicted (and those of you who say who you did–you're lying if you thought that we weren't going to be able to score). And above all, perhaps we can all agree that this current predicament was unfathomable and/or unimaginable to Moos just 10 short weeks ago.
But, now that we're here, there's only one thing to do: Hope that our kids rally around their coach, themselves, and/or their school this Saturday and/or the rest of the season. Cuz truly, the alternative is pretty dark, painful, and fully representative of the final destination on Rusty's vertical divide.
So, lets just all hope for the best, shall we?
All for now. Go Cougs.