Seen & Heard 7/5

BEFORE I GET INTO the health of Josh Swogger's foot, there's a little matter from the weekend that begs some attention. As a general rule, I think the Seattle Times' coverage of the Cougars over the last few years has really stepped up, both in quantity and quality. But the recruiting story I saw in the Times' sports section on Saturday was, as the saying goes, nothing less than a substance with deep connections to our nation's rich agrictultural heritage.

I didn't get beyond the headline before I was ready to upchuck my Wheaties. It read, and I'm going from memory here because I soon thereafter tossed the paper into the recycle bin, "Elisara ignores WSU and chooses Huskies."

Elisara is Cameron Elisara, the talented son of former Cougar standout Matt Elisara. Cameron plays defensive tackle for Spokane's Ferris High and is considered one of the state's top prospects for 2006. A lifelong Cougar fan, he announced late last week that he was committing verbally to Washington.

He had scholarship offers from Nebraska, LSU and much of the Pac-10.

He didn't, however, receive an offer from his dad's alma mater. Why he didn't has prompted some hand-wringing among the crimson faithful, but Doba & Co. are a discerning bunch and no doubt had their reasons.

The bottom line, though, is that the Cougars didn't want him. They didn't recruit him. They didn't offer him a scholarship.

As Cameron told CF.C back in May, "It seemed like they didn't care much for me, so you know, I don't really care much for them."

Indeed, one might say the only ignoring, to borrow the Seattle Times' word, was done by WSU.

After Cameron made his announcement last week, message boards were abuzz with Husky fans gloating that they stole one out from under the Cougs' noses. As maddening as message boards can be, one redeeming quality is that the record gets straightened out quickly when the facts are fouled. And so it was with the Elisara story.

But then to pick up the Seattle Times and read a headline that was not only false, but so incredibly presumptuous --- and antiquated --- was positively breathtaking.

News flash to the Times: Your one-win Huskies are the joke of the Pac-10 right now. Washington State has won more games over the last four years than every school this side of two-time national champion USC.

The Times staffers who wrote the story and the headline should have done their homework. But in fairness to them, young Elisara may have been a bit misleading. He was quoted as saying UW felt right and WSU didn't.

Of course WSU didn't feel right -- it was the Huskies who offered the scholarship!

I know that sounds harsh, especially when it regards a sharp young kid who comes from quality parents and deserves nothing but good wishes. But in a world where perception is reality I'd rather be brusque than misinformed.

And speaking of plain speaking, I must say that I did smile a bit when I read the quote from Cameron's mom, a WSU grad, saying the UW was the last place she wanted him to go and that she was wishing he'd choose Stanford instead.

OKAY, I'M OFF MY high horse now and ready to move on to the state of Josh Swogger's health. I talked with the junior quarterback a week ago at Hoopfest in Spokane. He's 100 percent healthy, the foot is as good as new and summer workouts are going great.

By the way, until you stand next to these guys, the height and weight stuff you read on the roster just doesn't convey the enormity of it all. Josh is 6-5 and weighs 254. Kyle Basler is 6-3, 238. These boys are BIG --- and cut. WSU strength coach Rob Oviatt clearly is making his presence felt.

OREGON STATE'S GREAT baseball season and College World Series run came to an end, but it did my heart good to see a Northwest school enjoying so much national success.

For those of you who are looking at the Cougs' dismal Pac-9 (the Ducks don't play baseball) showing this season, the OSU story is encouraging. Pat Casey has been their head coach for 10 years and this year's team has been built with regional talent. Until 2005, the Beavers under Casey had never had a winning record in Pac-9 play since they combined the Northern and Southern divisioins in 1999. Believe me, I long for the days of the Cougs being back in the CWS, like in 1976 when my good friend Don Crow behind the plate. So patience Cougar Nation, I think with Donnie Marbut at the helm we're headed in the right direction.

GRAMBLING AND GAMBLING: I'm getting excited for the 2005 season to start! We just received our block of 26 tickets for the Grambling game and I've made reservations for the Nevada game. I've been to Reno many times and my recommendation is to stay downtown at the Eldorado, Silver Legacy or Circus Circus. All are connected and only about a mile walk to campus. Also, save some money and take your spouses to the game ... leaving them unsupervised in the casino can be costly.

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