So about that post yesterday speculating on the whole medical redshirt idea for Jeff Tuel? Yeah, never mind on all that. Per Bud Withers yesterday afternoon who first broke the news, and then elsewhere with more quotes and such, Jeff Tuel is moving on from Pullman.
Predictibly so, there's a lot of reactions and waxing poetic about #10, so let's see what is out there regarding the end of the Jeff Tuel era…..
Christian Caple's latest has the news on Tuel, plus some interesting quotes on the whole thing:
Weird that the NCAA would go that route, that they were looking for Tuel to kick the prior staff under the bus or something along those lines? To that end, it does seem like a longshot that they were going to approve the whole thing. It sounds like it was never going to be based on the lack of playing time in 2011 based on injuries, or on the idea that the compartment syndrome to his calf was actually suffered vs. Stanford, or really ANY other way you want to cut through to the heart of the matter. They were looking for some way to blame the prior staff for what sounds like shoving him out on the field when he was still injured, and Tuel and his family were going to have none of that talk.
HOWEVER, maybe the NCAA was going this route based on some of the circumstances surrounding the Idaho State game? Remember, Tuel didn't start the '11 season opener because of illness, but then made it out on the field early in the game, where he promptly took the hit as shown above along the sidelines and was lost for several games with the broken clavicle. Maybe the NCAA was pursuing that angle with the idea that the prior staff put him in a game where he was ill, which may have contributed to his injury?
Anyway, whatever the case the whole thing is now over and the speculation can end. Personally I always wondered if he actually wanted the extra year, and taking the crimson-n-gray novelty sunglasses off for the last year, you never really heard Tuel say in the media that without question he wanted to return. He always prefaced his comments when asked about the medical redshirt situation that IF granted, then he would have a decision to make with his family and coaches and do what looks like the best thing for him. But it was never "I SO WANT TO COME BACK!!", know what I mean? I heard him with Bud Nameck after the Apple Cup, and for the first time he admitted that a win like that can pull on his emotions and make him feel more inclined to return. But you never heard he was definitely returning, and it was always a "we'll see" kind of approach.
And it's clear now that the decision to move on looks like the best thing to do right now. And to that, we at WSU Football Blog salute Jeff Tuel! And hey, what better way to go out as the final chapter in your WSU career??
So naturally we all have to pat Tuel on the back, but then look forward to what's next at the position. It would appear Connor Halliday has a leg up on the competiton heading in to spring ball, but with some bouts of inconsistency shown in 2012 you can bet there will be no absolute guarantee he will win the job. Austin Apodaca was talked about as looking pretty good in scout team appearances this season, so maybe he takes the job and runs with it? And if all goes as planned with the 4-star QB Tyler Bruggman, the verbal commit from Arizona who will be in Pullman in the summer, well, who knows. It might be a stretch to see a true frosh vault his way to the top of the depth chart in his first season, but stranger things have happened. Time will tell, but if you had to handicap the race you would probably lean Halliday….but it seems like hardly a slam dunk.
As the mysterious Coug-a-Sutra told me yesterday on all this, while disappointing this isn't the end of the world if you really think about it. As a fan you would love nothing more than for Tuel to return after looking pretty damn good down the stretch in 2012, and that maybe he could re-establish his value to the NFL with a big stat year? But while this may be bad news for 2013, it might actually turn out to be a good thing if you look far enough down the road to 2014. For example, whoever wins the QB job for this fall will likely be the guy in '14 as well, and you hope that some major growing pains are sorted through in '13. If it is Halliday, then 2014 would be his senior year and third full season in the Air Raid, and you hope that he gets it all figured out with more game experience next season. And the Cougs will then be in the third year under Leach, and yet still have a lot of experience up and down the roster by '14.
One thing that I wondered about yesterday was if Connor Halliday got the opportunity to work his way out of the "sophomore" slump? I mean there were some real promising moments early on in 2012, where we all saw a serious upside and combined that with some slow starts by Jeff Tuel to start the season. Halliday seemed like he had a promising future after, say, the Oregon game this year. Things went south as he started to really struggle, but with a poor O-line and some inexperience and inconsistency with the wideouts, AND Leach had a senior QB in Tuel who returned to health later in 2012, did they really let Halliday work out the kinks or was Leach too quick with the hook?
But after thinking a little more about it, I think they did give Halliday second chances to get things right, such as starting vs. Cal when Tuel was clearly back from injury and able to play. But his struggles on the field and some, uh, body language "issues" that more than a few people noticed the more he struggled? Going to Tuel was the right thing at the end of the day, but I don't believe Halliday was unfairly forced to the sidelines. But that's just my opinion, and I'm sure you all have some thoughts on that!
Finally, Brian Floyd at CougCenter tips his cap towards #10 and says Tuel left with class and grace, all the way to the end. Good stuff here from Floyd, and I highly encourage you all to check it out.
All for now. Enjoy your humpday morning, and of course, GO COUGS!