What they said

WITH SPRING BALL just around the corner, polls and predictions have already begun to surface for ‘04. We thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some notable '03 preseason notes and quotes from sportswriters across the land. For the most part, they didn't exactly have a banner year where the Cougs were concerned.. good thing for them nobody went out and searched around for this stuff.

This year's prognostications on Washington State should be very intriguing. Undoubtedly, there will be those who predict a so-so season for the Cougs. But before getting too worked up, keep in mind that coach Bill Doba can use that to his advantage, as he did during last season's 10-win campaign.

``I'd rather be the underdog and surprise people. A coach likes it that way,'' said Doba.

Still, there are indications more and more sportswriters are casting a wary eye towards the Palouse this season.. wondering how in the world they missed, again, that Washington State would a Top Ten team in '03. A look back then, at what they were saying about the Cougs..

Matt Hayes, The Sporting News, January 2003, assigning a grade to Washington State on their decision to hire Bill Doba as head football coach

"Doba is an unknown outside of the Northwest, and coaching circles. Most big-time programs look for a hot young assistant or impressive mid-major head coach, or try to lure a big-time coach away from another school with a cache of cash. WSU is bucking the trend with Doba. It could be a stroke of genius. Or laziness."
Ted Miller, Seattle PI, January 2003

"Doba isn't as gregarious as Price (recruiting-wise), which means Wazzu will fall from its perch."
The Sporting News January 2003

"Flash: Washington State. The Cougars never really built consistency under former coach Mike Price, whose player-friendly style occasionally resulted in a big season. Building a winner will be even harder for new coach Bill Doba... The schedule is brutal, and the final result could be, too."
Matt Hayes, Smash or Flash? The Sporting News, July 2003

"New Washington State head man Bill Doba faces a likely rebuilding season after losing stars Jason Gesser, Rien Long and Marcus Trufant. Washington State: 4-4, 6-6."
Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated, August 2003

"Few teams have fallen further than Washington State. It lost its coach, nine starters -- including NFL prospects Jason Gesser and Marcus Trufaunt (sic) -- and virtually all the momentum from a Rose Bowl season. New coach Bill Doba is Mike Price's handpicked successor to pick up the pieces."
Dennis Dodd, CBS Sportsline, August 2003

"Final Analysis: Another 10-win season might be out of reach for this Cougar team -- Preseason ranking: No. 61."
Athlon Sports, August 2003

"Who's down: Washington State's roller-coaster history in the Pac-10 suggests a big drop-off this year, especially with concerns about Matt Kegel's readiness to step in for departed QB Jason Gesser."
USA TODAY, Pac-10 Preview, August 2003

"Price was able to survive down years after the 1997 Rose Bowl season because of his charisma and reputation. Doba is a rookie coach trying to live up to the impossible standards set by Price."
Dennis Dodd, CBS Sportsline, August 2003

"Anything better than a 6-6 season would be a blessing."
Inside Players, August 2003

"New coach Bill Doba will get to reload and not just rebuild. The Cougars are solid on both sides of the ball, not great, just solid. They will win six or seven games."
ATS Consultants' Ultimate annual, August 2003

"WSU finishes 6-6 with a wicked-tough schedule."
Greg Johns, King County Journal, August 2003

"Bill Doba gets a mulligan, but the Cougars will fall hard and fast after the lost (sic) of coach Mike Price and QB Jason Gesser."
Dennis Dodd, CBS Sportsline, August 2003, predicting an 8th place finish for Washington State

"For Washington State, some expect a rebuilding year.. That doesn't seem to bother the Cougars."
George Richards, August 2003, Miami Herald

"On defense, teams will try and exploit Karl Paymah at the cornerback spot. If the junior responds and the rest of the defense rallies, Washington State could be a contender."
Carter Strickland, Spokesman Review, August 2003

"Yes, the Cougs took some big hits, but don't count them out for 2003. I think the defense will be fine, even with Long and Trufant gone. In fact, the line could be darn good."
Tom Dienhart, The Sporting News, April 2003

"We picked USC to win the Pac-10 in the preseason. That was good. We picked Washington and Arizona State to finish second and third. That was bad. We (tabbed) Washington State seventh. That, apparently, was pretty dense."
Ted Miller, Seattle PI, October 2003

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