Happy Monday Cougs, and as always we hope that things are good with you and yours. We've been awfully quiet of late, for reasons we won't exactly go over right now. But today is a new day and an opportunity to get something up on the blog, so, here we are.
Can't help but love this time of year, even though there is no actual football GAMES to take in? But it's a season of true change around the country, where basketball is winding down and baseball is in the air. It's lighter until almost 8 PM, the morning jog is now done in the sunlight (who knew??), and it's just a great time to renew hope in many things as winter fades to memory.
And I LOVE Championship Monday! Even though I'm not as big on the NCAA hoops tourney as I used to be back in the day, it is still cool to watch a new champion win the title and get geared up for One Shining Moment and all that. I don't know who ya got tonight, but if Louisville wins it, we win our little bracket contest!! (Ok, only 9 people entered my wife's contest at work and one of those entries didn't, well, even fill out their bracket! But hey, we have some kind of rooting interest tonight anyway. If Louisville wins, we win).
I was lucky enough to take in a Final Four a long time ago, when the old Kingdome hosted the event in the mid-90's. My friends and I sat in the 200 level and watched UCLA take down Corliss Williamson's Razorbacks in a thrilling final, as the Bruins celebrated a national title.
Where have you gone, Toby Bailey?
That was the Final Four where Okie State's "Big Country" shattered a backboard during the Final Four practice session on the Friday before the semifinals, which set the Kingdome crowd abuzz….
Good times. Anyway, while I didn't really have a "dog in the fight" watching UCLA-Arkansas get it on, it was a cool thing to watch an NCAA title game play out in person. I was lucky enough to go to the 1998 Rose Bowl, so I guess you could say we all saw Michigan win a national championship by capping an unbeaten season that year and get the mythical national title in football? But it was cool to see UCLA win it and watch the Bruins fans celebrate a real championship won, you know, on the court?? Hopefully college football gets this playoff thing figured out once and for all, and the new system produces that kind of excitement that has been pretty exclusive to the hardwood.
On to the morning links-n-such…..
Christian Caple's has the latest after Saturday's practice-that-was-going-to-be-a-scrimmage-and-then-wasn't, including some sobering news on the depth on the D-line. It sounds like said D-line, a position filled with optimism for next season, is banged up a bit right now. Per Caple, Iaone Gauta is on crutches with a brace on his leg, and the same goes for Toni Pole. Wonderful.
Also interesting to take from Caple's article is that Daryl Paulo, once an inside linebacker, is now playing nose tackle!?! I like the idea of quickness and athleticism up front, but wow, 6-2 and 270 playing nose seems to be a bit of a stretch. Maybe on 3rd downs and/or obvious passing downs it could make sense, and Paulo might be nice for those kind of situations. But it doesn't sound like an ideal scenario on obvious running plays, as at 270 he just might not have enough "junk in the trunk" for nose tackle, know what I mean?
Caple has many more notes-n-videos-such from Saturday as well, which you can see here.
Moving on, Brian Floyd at Cougcenter just KILLED IT with his post from Saturday's action. Floyd weighs in on the injuries, as well as some other observations on some of the players out there healthy and practicing this spring. Good work Floyd.
Finally, Coug Nation gives a huge thumbs-up towards Jason Hanson, who retired from the NFL over the weekend. Hanson has been kicking for so long that he was actually kicking when I was a STUDENT fergawdsakes(wtf!??!). How the hell he made it this far in the league is amazing, but a huge hat tip Hanson's way for a fantastic NFL career.
I still remember watching Hanson nail 60-yarders during warmups back in his college days, sometimes even setting up for field goal attempts on the opponents side of the field while they were stretching out. It was pretty cool to have a kicker THAT good. And I will never forget the 1989 Dad's Day USC loss for many reasons (18-17 to Todd Marinovich's last second heroics, the eerie silence after the game where you could hear the USC players talking and celebrating on their sideline, even from the student side of the field). But one thing that stands out was that after USC made the 2-pt conversion and WSU took possession of the ball on the ensuing kickoff, with just a few seconds left? Mike Price sent Hanson out on the field for what looked like a 90-yard field goal attempt!! It looked ridiculous to see a kicker marking off his steps on like his own 20-yard line(!), but just for a second you thought "why not??". But Price then called timeout and came to his senses and called the hail Mary instead, I mean as great as Hanson was, an attempt from that far out would have probably bounced on the 15-20 yard line?
Believe it or not, there is some HORRIBLE video from that terrible game, but if you fast forward to about the 4:30 mark of the clip you can see Hanson on the field (and announcers are like….really??).
Anywho, we salute you Jason Hanson!
All for now. Enjoy your Championship Monday, and of course, GO COUGS!