Seen & Heard on Planet Coug 8/1

TWO OF MY favorite Crimson Soldiers - - defensive end Isaac Brown and linebacker Ira Davis - - headline this latest edition of S & H, but for drastically opposites reasons that clearly exemplify the highs and lows of college football.

Brown is one of 39 sack-masters on the preseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Ike enters his senior season at Ol' Wazzu tied for third on the career sack list with 19.5 quarterback takedowns. He is one of just four Pac-10 players to make the list, UCLA's Dave Ball and USC's Kenechi Udeze and Omar Nazel being the others.

It's not official, but early reports indicate the career of Davis - - a projected back-up linebacker - - could be over. Apparently a broken mirror severed a foot tendon on the fifth-year senior during a recent move.

Sure, it's hard to shake "the punch heard ‘round the Palouse" from our memories when we think of Ira; that fateful day when he delivered a blindsided, jaw-breaking haymaker on cornerback Jason David that could have easily derailed a championship season.

But I prefer to think of Davis as the safety thrust into the linebacking spot due to injuries just days before a crucial Stanford game in 2001. His performance that day - - a nail-biting 45-39 Cougar victory - -was the stuff of legends: 2 sacks, 2 pass defenses, and a crucial interception.

And I prefer to remember how he reacted after that brutal locker room event. Not many young men have the nards to stay and face the music, humbly asking for forgiveness and a second chance.

I hope he somehow gets one more chance to run out of the Martin tunnel.

NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY

Cougar great and New Orleans Saints special teams terror Steve Gleason recently participated in a charity event for the Boys and Girls Club where he sang and played guitar for tips in his role as a celebrity waiter. The highlight of the evening, however, occurred when a frenzied bidding war ensued for the honor of shaving off his beard. The final bid: $800!

The Steve Gleason Fan Club has a tailgate party scheduled for the Saints visit to Seahawks Stadium on September 7 and a block of game tickets have been set aside for Gleason fanatics. Contact Gail Gleason at gigleason@juno.com for more details.

Speaking of former Coug and Saints linebackers: Word out of Tucson, where five of head coach John Mackovic's assistant coaches from last season have either left or been fired, is that linebackers coach Scott Pelluer, the former Cougar player and color(less) c-c-commentator, got the most royal shaft of them all. Pelluer, a talented recruiter, was let go one day after national letters of intent were signed in February --- too late for him to hook up with another school. Why let go so late? Ostensibly so he could work his magic and convince superstar prep receiver Marcus Thomas that Mackovic isn't the horse's ass some think he is. Thanks to Pelluer, Thomas, one of the most coveted recruits in the nation, shocked the world by signing with the Wildcats. Pelluer, meanwhile, is back in Montlake, where he previously coached from 1996-98.

Bill Etter, a star quarterback at Spokane's Lewis & Clark High in the mid-60s who went on to set (and still hold) some records at Notre Dame, is said to have mixed emotions about the upcoming game in South Bend between the Cougars and Irish. Standout WSU safety Erik Coleman, himself an LC product, is great friends with Etter's son and has been a fixture around the Etter house for years. Irish loyalties may run deep, but so does Tiger blood.

EXTRA POINTS:

Hendricks starred as a DE at Miami before enjoying a Hall of Fame career in the NFL as an outside linebacker. Which NFL team is most responsible for his induction is of great debate here at CF.C headquarters. John insists his early career with the Baltimore Colts got Hendricks (aka: The Mad Stork) to Canton, Greg cites his all-pro years with Oakland as the obvious factor, and Barry reminds them both of the glorious season he spent as a Green Bay Packer!

From the glad I didn't know file: Word that Jermaine Green and Jonathan Smith have their academic houses in order came as a relief to me. And I'm especially grateful I didn't know grades were even an issue with them until now!

And finally, I bumped into our resident mystic, The Crimson Seer, recently while hiking a North Idaho mountain range. He was lamenting the recent loss of Rick Neuheisel, pointing out he was still reeling from the departures of Dennis Erickson and Bob Toledo from the Pac-10 coaching ranks. He did end our conversation on a positive note, however: "At least we still have Mackovic and Buddy Teevens," he said. "And Keith Gilbertson should more than fill Toledo's belt - er - shoes."


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