The Joe Cougfan Report, No. 6

THERE'S NOTHING LIKE starting out the season with a win, especially in a fashion that was the complete antithesis of what we've seen in years past. This was a patient, methodical wearing and beating-down of Idaho, where in previous years, the panic to score early and often in these kinds of games generally won out. The Cougars didn't do anything fancy, they just lined up and pounded out 25 points the old-fashioned way. The Notre Dame scouts had to be bored to tears, and I'm okay with that.

I was fortunate enough to speak with a couple of former Cougar football players, before and after the game.  Tyler Hunt is doing well, working in the Seattle area and keeping his football hopes alive.  It sounds like he's talked a little with the Buffalo Bills and is now waiting for a shot in the Arena League.  He also voiced confidence in his replacement, Mike Shelford.


After the game, I bumped into Rueben Mayes in the parking lot.  First of all, Mayes is a great guy and a real pleasure to talk to (as is Hunt).  When I asked him what he thought of the game, he said he was happy to get a win and the shutout was extra nice.  When the 300-plus rushing yards were mentioned, he really had to smile, and pointed out that we have "three great backs."  That's nice to hear, especially from a guy who knows a little something about packing the pigskin.


Craig Krenzel, along with Bradlee Van Pelt, is now one of my favorite non-Cougar college football players to watch.  Not simply because he dismantled the Huskies (though that was great), or because he is wicked smart in the classroom, but because his game is an absolute clinic in leadership.  He plays hard and does what he has to do to win.  After watching the beating he took in the Fiesta Bowl (and how he kept picking himself up off the turf), I have nothing but respect for the guy.  Maurice Clarett could learn a thing or two from him.


I also attended the Mariners game on Friday night, and was thrilled when John Olerud got the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.  My enjoyment of the game was tempered, however, by some idiot sitting a couple of rows behind me, weakly trying to heckle the Orioles in paragraph format.  Instead of zinging off a witty (or even half-witty) one-liner, this guy chose to read the guy's stats from off the board and tell them why they stunk in a fashion that would make Dostoyevsky wonder when it was going to end.  Especially stupid was the time he told Tony Batista that his open stance couldn't work, the at-bat after Batista planted a moon shot in the Mariner bullpen.  When I finally turned around to get a look at the guy, I was not at all surprised to see him wearing a Husky hat. 


Now that Dennis Erickson is back in the NFL, the Pac-10 coach with the best "something around here stinks" look has to be Pete Carrol.  He contorts his face as if someone farted in the elevator and then punched all the buttons.  Adding to the effect is the way he kind of looks like Elvis when he does it, which really produces some great comedy, though Auburn probably didn't find much humor in the beating Carrol's Trojans handed them.


If anyone read the Saturday article in the Seattle P-I comparing UW to Ohio State, you probably had as good a laugh as I did.  I actually made the Carrol face when I first read it  (Here's a sample:  "Myth: Ohio State is a dominant team."  It only gets worse from there).  I have a word of advice for Ted Miller: filet mignon and Rocky Mountain oysters might come from the same animal, but that doesn't make them the same thing.


Let's all take a minute to look at the Pac-10 standings.  Who's that in last place?  Why, it's the Huskies!


I must say, I had a great Cougar weekend in Seattle, and am looking forward to the trip to Notre Dame this week.  Olerud's game-winner, the football team's win and getting to visit with so many old friends all came together to produce a great time.  I even got to meet some of my readers, which was fantastic.  I know the rest of the season will only get better.


On a sad note, I lost a reader and my family lost a great Cougar when my great uncle Howard passed away Sunday morning.  Uncle Howard was a terribly friendly man who would always hunt me down after church when I was home and grill me for information about the Cougars.  He had a beautiful bass voice and could belt out a tune that would leave you in tears, and left behind a great Cougar family, including some grandchildren who are currently enrolled at WSU.  He'll be missed by all of us.


So that's it for this week, I'll be off for Notre Dame at six o'clock Friday morning, and I hope to see many of you there.  Until then, Go Cougs!


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