The Joe Cougfan Report, No. 5

PULLMAN—Gameday is almost here! I'm so excited I could spit or, at very least, wet myself in anticipation. It's time for everyone to be an optimist, because today we're right in the thick of the National Championship hunt, along with everyone else (possibly excluding Cal). All we have to do is win out, and we're in.

But first things first: This weekend in Seattle, our beloved Cougs will take on the Tribe from the North (brave and bold)--the Wreckers -- in what we hope will be a laugher.  How much of an impending disaster is Idaho football right now?  The guy the athletic department was pinning its publicity on isn't even starting.  At one point in a recent scrimmage, George Yarno was upset with the play of his offensive line, prompting an "Idaho's going to kick your [buttock]!" at which I'm pretty sure I heard the linemen stifle a snicker.  I know I laughed.


As promising as the season looks, we're not without bad news here in Pullman.  Poor Billy Knotts. You gotta feel for the guy.  He'll be missing around four weeks of his senior year, and two of the best road trips of his (or just about any other Cougar's) career.  We've also lost Chris Hurd for the season.  That's also tough for a kid who works his tail off to be good at what he does, and was finally in line to get some playing time this year.  Get well soon, guys.


As a result of the Hurd injury, it's nice to know that my main man, Alex Brink, is to be put on "red-alert" status, which fortunately for him does not mean that he will be roaming the sidelines with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.  That would look silly, and we all know that there's no silliness in football now that Rick Neuheisel isn't springing for Dilly Bars and strumming hippie music anymore, at least not at the college level.  For those of you who rely on this column for news (I pity you), "red-alert" means that Brink will travel with the team and be listed as the number three quarterback, but only by urgent necessity will he lose his redshirt year


Anyway, on to the game, and the upcoming season: I can't wait to walk into Seahawk Stadium. I can see it now: I'll leave the concourse and head to my seat, and as I file through the tunnel (Give me some space, buddy—hey, you two!  Get a room!), the green of the field will explode into sight as I reach the seats.  I'll meet up with friends and family, fill my face with hot dog and soda (and maybe a pretzel with cheese), and watch as the undefeated Cougars take the field against undefeated Idaho.  Hopefully, something special will happen; one player will make his name known in this game, a name that we will quickly learn as we hear it over and over through the year.  There are a handful of guys who could make the leap to big-time player, like Will Derting did against Nevada last year.  Guys like Robert Jordan, Josh Shavies, and Cody Boyd.


As excited as I am, there's one thing I have to get off my chest.  It's been bothering me for a week, and it's really not Cougar-related, though it is related to the upcoming game. Note to Tom Cable: loyalty matters.  Benching a senior who has done nothing for your program but take beating after beating and continue to put up huge numbers doesn't look good to anyone. Brian Lindgren is getting the shaft.  Just one man's opinion, I guess, but the decision to sit Lindgren stinks worse than Lewiston at low tide.  There, I feel better now.


Back to the Cougs:  This season has a lot more uncertainty to it than last year, which sometimes makes things a little more fun--or frustrating, depending on your point of view.  Last year, we knew we had a good team, and had to sit through the torment of maybe not living up to standards in games like the one at Arizona.  This season, we think we're good, but still need to make sure of a few things before declaring this team great.  Will the middle of the offensive line hold up?  Will Matt Kegel be able to carry the load?  Will the defensive backfield hold up if someone gets hurt?  I'm an optimist, so I'll answer ‘yes' to all those questions, and I'll even guarantee a great year.  My advice to you is to sit back and enjoy the season; savor the highs, dismiss the lows, and after the Cougs beat the Huskies, you'll be reminded for the umpteenth time this season how wonderful Cougar Football truly is.

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