Seen & Heard 9/20

ALEX BRINK'S ARM strength seems to be a perpetual message board topic, but I saw him throw two second-half passes that were things of beauty. The first was a 29-yard third quarter completion, over the middle, to Jason Hill. Given where Brink dropped back to set up, the ball easily traveled 35 yards in the air --- and it was a frozen rope that looked like it could have motored to Occidental Avenue.

The other pass that impressed me so much was the 56-yard TD scoring strike to Hill at the start of the fourth quarter. The ball was placed brilliantly --- Hill didn't break his stride in the slightest.

Three other things during Saturday's game that brought a smile to my face.

Woolridge: 6.9 yards per carry.

Harrison: 399 yards so far.

First and foremost was Jerome Harrison and DeMaundray Woolridge each rushing for more than 100 yards --- for the second-straight game, no less. I think you'd be digging back to the 1980s to equal that feat.

Second, watching Hill and Harrison do that jumping chest bump in the endzone to celebrate one of Harrison's three TDs --- Harrison ended up on his rear end in the face of Hill's exuberance.

And third, Grambling quarterback Bruce Eugene did a quick-quick in the first quarter when the Tigers were facing a long third-down at midfield. It worked, too. The ball sailed out of bounds at the Cougar 6. I think I have to go back to the Mark Rypien days to remember the last time I saw a QB quick kick.

THE SEATTLE TIMES opined that there must have been a lot of no shows at Qwest Field on Saturday because it didn't look like the bodies matched the official count of 51,000-plus. I beg to differ. That was my fourth Cougar game at Qwest Field and in the second quarter we took a poll of the people I was sitting with and every one of us estimated attendance at between 48,000 and 54,000. The official count, by the way, was DOUBLE what our friends at Montlake drew at Qwest two weeks ago against Air Force.

The pre-game tailgater, ensconced nicely in the first row of the raucus north parking lot, was a grand affair that included visits by Bill Doba's daughter Beth and her husband Ken, long-time message boarders LynnwoodCoug, kjstoph1 and many others. Thanks to all who stopped by. Beth, by the way, was the winner of our drawing for a free diploma framing courtesy of our friends at

Special thanks to the Grambling tailgaters parked next to us for the new recipe. Talk about a culinary awakening, their BBQ Cajun shrimp was something to behold. And our very own Rich Howard did a nice job keeping the brats and dogs coming.

LOOKING DOWN AT THE Grambling sideline there was no mistaking who the head coach was. It's not often you see a guy dressed in a natty black suit, crisp white shirt and gold silk tie stalking the sidelines with a pair of headphones perched on his head. Asked after the game about his sartorial splendor, Melvin Spears said he's dressing up every game this season in honor of coaching legend Eddie Robinson, Grambling's coat-and-tie head man for 55 years, who is suffering from Alzheimer's.

While Grambling is still a force in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the school's unprecedented flow of players to the NFL is a fraction of what it was in the 1960s and 70s. Spears said the reason is clear: The pipeline of talent coming to the traditionally all-black school began shifting to the major southern schools when they began fully integrating their programs.

WSU DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Robb Akey said he liked the pass rush his defensive line mounted against Grambling, but doesn't know yet if it's good enough to go through the Pac-10 without a lot of blitz support. He can say definitely, though, that the line is better than it was a year ago --- and that's very encouraging in light of the fact starting DT Ropati Pitoitua has been out with a broken leg (but set to return for the UCLA game Oct. 15).

With the bye week, the Cougars are going to rest up and heal up for a few days. They won't practice until Thursday. Akey said he plans to work on fine tuning the fundamentals and getting his starters used to the speed of Pac-10 play by having them square off against the No. 1 offense.

Steve Gleason

GAIL GLEASON, MOM of CouGreat and current New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason reports that some 3,000 new backpacks full of school supplies --- plus a load of kids books and stuffed animals --- were collected at Qwest Field on Saturday to help some of the 250,000 school-aged children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The event was spearheaded by Steve.

"In addition, we received over $2,500 in check and cash donations. Not bad on 10 day's notice," Gail reports. "Our volunteers, including members of the community, were great and got the boxes sorted and packed and on the trucks before first quarter ended."

She said the effort will continue at the WSU-Stanford game in Pullman on Oct. 8.

Cougfan Top Stories