Business as usual

IT MAY BE countdown time to the Apple Cup, but as far as preparation goes, this week will be just like the previous eleven for <b>Bill Doba's</b> Cougars. And as for the QB situation, you'd have to hog tie <b>Matt Kegel</b> to keep him out.

There won't be a hard-target search for any motivational material while the No. 8 Cougs prepare for Washington this week.  "I won't be telling stories.  We're going to treat it as we would any other road trip," said coach Bill Doba.

"(The Huskies are) a good football team and they'll be fired up.  And I don't think we're going to have to do a whole lot to get our guys fired up."

"Like I've said before about our team -- They're seniors, they're serious, they're "business as usual" and I think (this approach) is what they want also." 

"I just (believe) this is the right thing to do for this team," said Doba.

Referring to Cal's 56-7 victory over the Washington; "Cal was like we were against Oregon.  The ball bounced their way and they had some big plays early.  Cal's got talent," said Doba.  But he didn't think that game necessarily works in the Cougs' favor.

"Boy, I don't think that helps us at all," said Doba. 

"It just makes them mad, it gives them a one-game season, I know they're trying to win the Northwest Championship -- but you know all that stuff. They would be ready if they were undefeated.  They'd (still) be ready to play us."

"And we'll be ready to play them."

Injury update
The good news is the Cougs came through the Arizona State game remarkably unscathed.

"We got through that ballgame pretty healthy... we didn't get anybody hurt during the game," said Doba. 

Two linebackers remain on the mend.  "I don't know if Al Genatone is going to be ready to go.. and Scott Davis will be doubtful, but he's going to try and start running this week." 

(Genatone has an ankle sprain and Davis has a sprained MCL.  Consider Genatone as questionable, and Davis as doubtful.) 

Billy Knotts (ACL strain) is also doubtful for Saturday, Doba said.

Doba further addressed the health of QB Matt Kegel (shoulders, knee) and his choice to take himself out of the game.  He mentioned more than once that it was a very unselfish act the senior QB made.  "He's a team man all the way.  (He feels) whatever is good for us, is good for Matt," said Doba.

Asked if he could see Kegel sitting out this game, and if this year's Apple Cup has any redemption angle for the senior, Doba remarked he couldn't imagine either of those being the case.

"Matt (will play Saturday) unless he can't perform well enough for us to win.  Matt's a team guy and if he doesn't think he can get it done because of the injury he'll step aside.  He proved that last week."

"And (last year's Apple Cup) has been erased from memory.  He erased it with his performances this year."  Doba also went on to mention (for the millionth time) the things that went wrong in last year's game that were decidedly not Kegel's fault; the numerous breakdowns on that one interception play for example.

Stepping forward into the present, the coaches plan on having Kegel rest on Tuesday, (although he'll be there at practice of course, deeply involved, per usual.) 

And he'll probably be acting in a capacity similar to what Coug fans saw him do on Saturday; serving as another coach on the sidelines for Josh Swogger.  Just like another leader on defense, Erik Coleman, has done throughout his career.

Come Wednesday, Kegel will suit it up and see how it feels.  "He's going to practice on Wednesday and we'll go from there," said Doba. 

Doba fully expects Kegel to play Saturday.  "Knowing Matt Kegel, I'm sure he'll be ready and I'll tell you what; its not a bad thing for Josh, who doesn't have (a lot of ) experience, to stand there on the sideline for a couple three series.  And if Matt starts to get sore again, (Swogger has that time) to see what they're doing defensively.  It's an excellent situation."

Stay tuned.  We'll be updating all the injury news on Kegel, and anyone else, this week with reports on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

The rivalry
Putting the Cougars-Huskies rivalry into perspective, Doba said he considers it to be a first class one, all the way.  "Our first couple years here, there was a lot of trash talking and stuff.. and then that went away.  Last year we had an incident after the ballgame but prior to that, I think its been a really classy rivalry."

"I've seen both teams just play their hearts out, knock the heck out of each other.  And after the game's over you see them go into the tunnel, and a lot of those guys were teammates in high school.. and they're almost arm in arm talking about what they're going to do for Thanksgiving and such."

"I think it's a first class rivalry, I really do.  And they've got talent," said Doba.

ASU liner notes
Doba mentioned Calvin Armstrong graded out well in the ASU game, as did Karl Paymah, Swoggs and Pat Bennett, to mention just a few.  "He looked like the ol' Forks fullback when he got that interception; setting up that blocker and cutting back to the outside.  I thought that was awesome."

Doba also mentioned Jermaine Green had a great ballgame.

"That 15 yard run was big.. he broke (four tackles) and he had a couple good runs prior to that.  I think he's finally feeling healthy, feeling good."

Hospital visits
We're guessing the ankle sprain didn't hurt quite so much on Saturday for Big Al.  Doba visited Al and his wife Kristin after the game in the maternity ward.  Vincent Albert Genatone entered the world on the day the Cougs dispatched the Sun Devils.  The future Coug checked in at 8-lbs 14 ounces.

He also visited injured ASU player Riccardo Stewart and had great news to report on that end as well.

"He's fine.  He had a CAT scan, X-rays, and MRI -- and everything was negative," said Doba.  Stewart and a team doctor flew home to Arizona early this morning on one of the 6am flights.

Cougfan Top Stories