Pete's Arboblog - Wazzou review

Heading the Palouse is, believe it or not, one of my favorite trips every other year. It is truly God's country, wide-open spaces, nice people…what's not to like?

The trip doesn't take that long by plane. About two hours. We arrived at the airport at 11 am for a 2 pm flight to be on the safe side. I had gone running the night before, and left my driver's license in my running shorts…the pair I did NOT bring with me in luggage, so I had to be escorted through the various security checkpoints by the Delta agent who knows us really well. I won't soon do THAT again. It wasn't a hassle, but imagine the fallout if it had been!

The plan was to watch "gridiron Gang' on the flight up, but the tape had poor tracking and the player had no tracking adjustment, so we were forced to view "Poseidon" a very average remake of a very average movie to begin with. Did not pay much attention to it…I chatted with a few people, sat next to JJ and Paul and took a nap.

The hassle of going to Pullman in football is that you fly into Lewiston, Idaho, and take a 45-minute bus ride in to Moscow, Idaho. All you really want to do is lay down and rest.

Moscow is another great little college town, home of the University of I. I passed up dinner with the crew this time at the University Inn where we stay, and opted for a run through the campus there, with geocaching interspersed. Went to all corners of the campus and back. The leaves are changing, a little fall nip in the air as night fell. I got back and grabbed a snack, watched a little TV and headed down to the quiet bar with Paul. Sat around with Marketing Man Jose, Assistant AD Steve Lopes, Bob Wilson and Marc Larsen. Marc and I talked over running stories like old war veterans, we all shared some chips and salsa, and I ever broke on of my rules, and had a beer on the night before the game. Gasp!

Lots of SC people in there, led by DC Nick Holt's vivacious and gregarious wife Julie, who held court for friends as she and Nick returned to where he was head coach recently. The Vandals were out of town, so many of the folks they know were not around. At least one of the Holt boys was in tow with us this weekend visiting old buddies. They are getting big!

Lopes is a good guy with a big job of making sure the money runs in the right directions for our University Athletic Department. If Garrett were president, Lopes is Secy of the Treasury. And when you run a program this big, and make the money we don, AND it's in the black (!!) you, my friend are doing your J-O-B!

His wife, Helaine, and I became friends years ago when I broadcast games for the 83-84 National Champ women's hoopsters and she was a trainer.

Retired to watch some more TV and keep track of the Dodgers opening night win in Frisco to get closer to a playoff spot, maybe the West title. Go Blue!

Up the next morning and did a little more geocaching with a morning walk, headed down to the Pantry for breakfast with JJ and left VERY early for the stadium (11 am for a 4 pm game !!??)

Walked around the Wazzu campus for 45 minutes or so, placing a cache and finding another, then back upstairs to set up and get ready to broadcast the game.

Stopped in early to talk with Bob Robertson, who has done WSU football on the radio for 40 years now. He's an old man now, gotta be sneaking through his 80's I would guess. Still has everything going for him, and the people up here love him dearly. When you are associated with a program for such a long time, you become the program in some people's eyes (and ears). Take Vinny for an example. Bob is the Vin Scully of the Palouse. He is at once informed and friendly, and understands his team, his area and his role. Not a more likeable guy around. And by and large, I think my other 8 colleagues who do the same thing I do in the Pac-10 would agree he's their favorite guy to stop in and talk to, and we really all get along pretty well. I look forward, for instance to sharing time with Huskies guy Bob Rondeau this Saturday.

At once, you know the Cougs have come to play; they are flying around and look fast and aggressive on D and quick at the skill spots on O, and are mixing it up well. Still, SC looks like the better team and I think they'll wear ‘em down.

Near the end of the half, WSU scores and goes for two, but do not get it, a key moment, as if they get it, it's tied and the place is going nuts the entire half. Instead, it's just another half time.

I love our kickoff game, we get returns, and they don't. It ends up about 150-0 on KOR yards.

Wow! A Stafon Johnson sighting!

Will we ever stop trying to catch a punt inside the 10-yard line Desmond? And we drop a kickoff return, the ref signals, immediately that it's WSU ball, the place goes nuts, and then he overrules himself and gives it to Mike Brittingham under the pile.

Then the ref calls holding on the edge, but calls for a do-over. Then he measures a close call and starts to signal the WSU takes over, but turns and points our way. This guy is in serious trouble.

I usually sit down the entire game; unless my legs ache in which case I stand up for a little while. This time, I stand up because of nervous energy. I sit down when SC drives 99, then later a long drive to "put it away" (yeah, right) and lead by 12…but we go for one, not two points to lead by 13, and I am thinking (and say so on the air) someone fell asleep, we should have gone for two, for SURE in this case to lead by 14. It almost came back to bite us.

Cougs answer way too easily. We have to punt; they get it back a long way from home with no time and no time outs. Shades of Todd and the 89 "drive" which we talk to JJ on the field about. Even the same direction.

The game is hairy, the broadcast gets very intense, and I love it. I can really hone in and focus during a few moments like these, and I felt I put in my best work of the year to date in this game. Especially in the waning moments of the game.

**

It's a hell of a long walk from press box to team bus. I get there ahead of a few on our broadcast team, and it's almost time to pull out of Pullman. A local WSU student asks if he can take the unused pizzas to his dorm floor for his buddies. No one objects, and he hangs out and talks about the game in a clear manner, nice kid. And no doubt a hero carrying ten partially eaten boxes of pizza to his dorm floor.

The ride back, complete with police escort, is mind bogglingly slow (we watch some of Old School on video, and laugh out loud at the good parts, which are of course, plentiful). You're my boy, Blue!

Even in Lewiston Idaho, in the middle of the night, on a charter where everyone knows everyone, they still have to check us through the eight levels of hellish security before we board the plane.

While waiting, some of the players catch some cockroaches in the airport lounge and watch them race. Loser has to eat his roach. Jeff Schweiger downs his rather large specimen in one bite. Ewwwwwwww.

On the flight home it's chick flick "The Lake House" Boys, if you are in the doghouse, take her to see it, and everything will be juuuuuuuuust fine. Sandra Bullock is girl next door cute and good as usual.

Land at 12:30, Jenny picked me up and we hit closing time at a local place in Venice, home by 2:00.

A win is a win, but unless we get healthier and better, it will get mighty tough to stay unbeaten in November, doncha think?

**

Marshall lost its first of the year, the league opener to Franklin, 15-7. This means that they won't win the league, a good thing in the wacky world of the city playoffs, where the league champs go to the upper division, others to the lower division. The Northern League winner is just first round fodder for the big boys like Carson, Dorsey, Birmingham, Venice and Crenshaw.

But going to the lower tier affords one a chance to make it to the Coliseum in the #A title game if all goes well. We'll know more after playing Eagle Rock in a rematch of last year's 3A final gut wrencher, won by the Eagles on the game's last play.

A little 6 miler today, two weeks till Long Beach half marathon.

**

I guess Cal and Oregon are the contenders like everyone thought. They play at Cal this week, which ought to be a fine game to watch. ASU is a pretender. Washington is 2-0 and coming in hungry this Saturday. Time to go to work on the Huskies prep.

Fight on!


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