I wouldn’t be doing my job… er, hobby correctly if I didn’t mention that Wazzu started up spring football practices this week. Cougfan has a great preseason depth chart lined up, one that I’m sure will later be butchered by NCAA Football 09. (By the way, Butch lost. To one of those stupid fake-human mascots. You should be upset. Let’s get behind Keggy for 2010!)
There are all the usual position battles, although one seems to be resolved at least for the moment. Paul Wulff has declared the starting QB job as “Rogers’ to lose”, which means the senior is the clear favorite to earn the job. Take that with a grain of salt though, as Wulff has also made it clear that every starting job is still up for grabs. In other words, nothing is remotely finalized. There are a lot of familiar names looking at the depth chart – a good thing for a first-year head coach who inherits a team that has been perennially 1-2 wins away from a bowl game. My concern right now involves special teams, where kicker will come down to last year’s KOS Wade Penner and challenger Matt Myers, the latter of whom has almost 50 pounds on Penner despite being a similar height.
With all due respect to Bill Doba, kicker is either a position he didn’t care about or one where he just found incredibly bad luck. Siderius, Langley, and Abdollmohammodi all had their ups an downs, and the downs were never more evident than on missed short field goals or one of many squib kickoffs. My feeling was that Doba didn’t take kicker seriously as a recruiting job; something I hope Wulff rectifies. At least the future is brighter with Penner and Myers. Punter is in better shape after Reid Forrest wrestled away Darryl Blunt’s job and his jersey number last fall. He will face a challenge from RS freshman Dan Wagner.
Here’s sportslink on the Cougs returning to practice.
Also, Idaho fired head basketball coach George Pfeifer today. This is another strange move for a Vandal program that has been oddly run for a number of years now. As you may remember (actually, it’s Vandal basketball, so I’m 95% sure you don’t), Pfeifer was promoted from assistant to head coach after Leonard Perry was fired after five uneventful seasons. Then, after one year with Pfeifer at the helm, Minnesota fired head coach Dan Monson. Monson is the man who changed basketball forever in eastern Washington by taking Gonzaga to the elite eight. He is also the poster child for why coaches shouldn’t leave up-and-coming programs for a bigger paycheck. He is also the sun of former Idaho head coach Don Monson. Put two and two together, and Idaho should have had a new coach last season to go along with their newly acquired “star player” (WSU transfer Mac Hopson).
But Idaho didn’t make the move. Now Monson is at Long Beach State and Pfeifer is out of a job. The concern for WSU fans is that just like football the U of I may be looking to poach a Cougar assistant for the opening. The Spokesman article linked above mentions GU assistant Ray Giacoletti, Brad Holland, and others as possible candidates. The Spokesman has no mention of WSU assistant Ben Johnson, but it does state that Cougar assistant Matt Woodley is interested. Actually, he says it himself:
“I’m very interested in the job,” Woodley said. “They’ve had past tradition and they’ve had really good coaches there that have won. Look at Tim Floyd, Larry Eustachy, Don Monson – guys that have coached there and have won – there’s tradition. A lot of these places don’t have tradition, don’t have past history. I understand it was in different leagues at the time, but there’s been winning basketball at the University of Idaho.”
Woodley hasn’t been approached by Vandal AD Rob Spear, but add this to one of many coaching rumors that will be swirling as the 2008 season comes to a close.