If Cougs need motivation, here's plenty

MOTIVATION COMES IN many different forms. And even the very best of athletes have been known to seek out any slight they can find, be it real, manufactured or imagined. If the 2014 Cougars are looking for any additional motivation on the cusp of fall camp, well, the month of July has given them plenty to choose from.

The preseason college football award watch lists have been coming fast and furious in recent weeks.

And Cougar players have pretty much been told to go pound sand.

Linebacker Darryl Monroe? Nope, those who put together the Dick Butkus Award watch list (top linebacker) think there are nine Pac-12 'backers worthy of being in the mix for the top linebacker award in college football. Nine of them.

And Monroe ain’t one of them.

Xavier Cooper? The Ted Hendricks watch list (top defensive end) isn’t out yet but the watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Bronco Nagurski Trophy (also top defensive player) and Lombardi Award (top linebacker or lineman) have all been released.

There are 13 Pac-12 players on the Bednarik list, 18 on the Nagurski list and 15 on the Lombardi Award.

Cooper isn’t present.

How about a Cougar receiver – heck, any Cougar receiver…

A check of the Fred Biletnikoff Award reveals seven players named who hail from Pac-12 schools.

None of them are Cougs.

Well, how about the Hornung Award (most versatile player)? Nice try. WSU isn’t represented there either.

The only major watch list that has a Coug on it is the Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback), which lists Connor Halliday, (and seven other Pac-12 QB’s.)

And even there, Halliday can find some motivation, if he so chooses.

OSU’s quarterback, Sean Mannion, threw for a Pac-12 record 4,662 yards last year. Halliday was right on his tail, tossing for 4,597 yards.

But Mannion is listed on three watch lists… Halliday is on but one. Mannion's name also graces the watch lists for the Walter Camp Trophy (player of the year) and the Maxwell Award ( top college football player).

Mike Leach, if asked, would almost certainly say he doesn’t give a damn about such preseason watch lists. So too would defensive coordinator Mike Breske, one would think.

But coaches are not always immune to these kinds of things – many big coaching names in college football have been known to seek out just such us-against-the world types of motivation. And it can be argued this is a dismissal of Leach’s Air Raid, and Breske’s D -- can’t it?

Oh, who cares if more Cougs aren’t on the watch lists, one might say. And I’d wholeheartedly agree with you.

Except there’s this…

It may seem nuts but Michael Jordan, who resides at No. 1 on just about every list of the greatest basketball players of all time, made it crystal clear -- and painfully so -- that he needed to feel he had been slighted, to be unfairly disrespected, in order to become the player he was.

If the best of all time in his sport needed to seek out such devices, can a college football team and its players afford not to? Might they perform better for having done so? That’s a question ripe for debate.

If the Cougs do need such motivation, they sure don’t have to look far this July.

Still not convinced? Here's another way to look at it...

The Cougs' rival, Washington, has 15 players on the major award watch lists.

WSU has one.

How 'bout them apples?

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