OK. So I’m not going to take as much offense to this as the Gary Rogers ranking, but here’s where Ted Miller ranks Cougar kicker Wade Penner among his conference counterparts. And yes, it’s only out of ten players:
10. Wade Penner, So, Washington State: Kicker has been uneven, at best, for the Cougars in recent years. Penner showed promise during the spring.
Replace the word “kicker” with “Loren Langley” for a more accurate analysis of the Cougars’ PK struggles in recent seasons. Romeen Abdollmohammodi wasn’t necessarily a solid kicker either, but remember that he was a walk on who had never kicked a meaningful ball through the uprights until college. With that under consideration, I think he did pretty well.
The interesting thing about this is that last I checked, Patrick Rooney was an early favorite to claim the starter’s job. Take that with a grain of salt, though. The competition won’t be decided for certain until fall camp is over. Even then – the winner is a couple of shanks away from conceding the job to the #2. With that in mind, Penner at #10 isn’t too much of a stretch. He has to earn a job first, then a higher ranking.
We don’t know much about Penner’s in-game ability to make field goals. What we do know is that his kickoffs seemed to get a couple yards shorter with every game he played. Now this could mean his leg strength deteriorated, or that Doba’s crew wanted him to get more air under the ball. Regardless, I just pray that the words “squib kick” aren’t in Paul Wulff’s vocabulary. I’m sure Penner would be thankful for that as well.
Back to Ted Miller, who actually doesn’t hate on all Cougs. He ranked Brandon Gibson second among receivers and the O-line fifth in the conference. Still, Miller’s rankings are representative of a general media attitude towards the Cougs. That is, if you’re not sure about them, rank ’em last.
It’s an attitude we’ll almost certainly see when the media rankings come out Thursday.