So should my time in the Big Show rival Moonlight Graham's in terms of brevity, I'm only hoping that if I go down, I go down both in flames and swinging.
Still, this is the big time, and I felt no small amount of trepidation. In search of ideas and hoping the sorority girls were back in town, I hopped into my vintage automobile (1988 is vintage, don't argue with me) and headed up on The Hill and over to the practice fields. Those of you on the north side of Pullman; I'm sorry for the noise and plan on getting my muffler fixed soon.
Upon my arrival, one of the first things I noticed is that there are a lot of people who are either taken for granted or just plain unseen (at least by most of us) who keep things running smoothly. Equipment managers, trainers and video staff all work their tails off to make these practices and this football program run. These guys will barely see their families for the next four or five months, and deserve a little credit, even if it is from a rookie hack.
Once practice started, I was at a loss. Drills were broken up into five-minute periods, and by the time I figured out what I was looking at, everyone had split up and moved on to another drill. They didn't waste a minute. This was my third practice attendance in three days, and I still wasn't sure what was going on, which probably should have bothered me.
Anyway, if you're still reading, then it's time to reward you with the good stuff. And when I say "good," please remember that I'm speaking in terms relative to my low journalistic standards and that I spent a grand total of ninety-eight cents on a brand-new notepad for this gig. So here's what I think, all ninety-eight cents worth:
Timm Rosenbach is great. His enthusiasm is contagious. He's always teaching and always staying positive with his guys.
The thought that we're going to have Will Derting, Aaron Wagner, and Brian Hall (who ate his Wheaties in the off-season) for the next three years makes me happy. I was somewhat concerned about the linebackers coming into the season, which just goes to prove that I'm an idiot. On a side note, you gotta have a screw loose to play that position. Those guys are insane.
I'm pretty sure Robb Akey was Wolfman Jack in another life, or is channeling him or something.
Omowale Dada. Glad the guy goes by ‘Wally.' The coaches seem to be taking a keen interest in his development, so it's probably safe to assume that they're expecting a contribution from him.
On the list of equipment bought once the program came out of the poorhouse, the mechanical center-snapper-thingy has to be near the top.
Good Lord, Russell Foster and Bobby Byrd are a couple of big kids. I didn't know 18-year-olds came in that size. They must have cost their parents a fortune in food and clothes. I have to smile, because the three-fifths of the offensive line in 2007 looks like this: Foster, Byrd, and Andy Roof.
Kegel looks pretty good. He's making a lot of nice passes, generally under pressure. He's progressing, as are the receivers. Passes are hitting hands, and the hands are holding on to them.
If the defensive backfield can stay healthy, they'll be very good. They forced the QBs to take off running a couple of times on Monday. In the real world, those would have been sacks.
Jason David versus Devard Darling is worth the price of admission, as is Brown versus Armstrong.
Wagner is just dying to tee off on someone. You can see it.
The stories of George Yarno-as-Mount-Vesuvius are fairly overblown. He's more like one of those Hawaiian volcanoes. Always something hot coming out, but there's very rarely a catastrophic eruption. The guy's intense, but spends most of his time teaching, though everything is at a high decibel level.
As if getting no recognition for some of the hardest work on the field isn't bad enough, offensive linemen even have lousy, thankless drills. Step-step-push, step-step-push… Yuck.
We have a lot of tight ends. And they're good.
Armstrong can play a little. He also tends to be the first guy down the field to pick up the ball carrier, and the first in line for drills. Nice to see that kind of leadership. Erik Coleman and Jason David are the same way.
I am a Chris Bruhn believer. He's a glider who gets up the field in a hurry, and he's going to make everyone say ‘WOW' on a regular basis. This group of running backs each brings something different to the offense, and I think it will be one of the strengths of this team.
Well, that's about all my brain could handle for one night. Driving home from practice, I was happy in the knowledge that I had amassed enough material for a column, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Then I passed Beasley, and remembered that I'm going to need season tickets for that venue this year. Looks like the muffler's going to have to wait.
Brent Wigen is a 2000 graduate of Washington State University. He resides in Pullman.