A public relations tip for Bill Doba

IN THE WAKE OF FOUR consecutive whisker-thin losses, fans can Monday-morning quarterback till the cows come home. I'm far from understanding the true complexities of the game, but I do have a pretty good handle on things related to marketing. So I'll confine my suggestions for Bill Doba to what I know (selling) rather than what he knows (football). And what I know is this: Coach, you need to stop asking Bud Namek for his suggestions on how to turn this season around.

I've never met Bud Namek. But I can tell you he's not a football coach. He's an excellent basketball play-by-play announcer and his work as the sidelines reporter during Cougar football broadcasts is first-rate as well.

He played college baseball at Santa Clara and likes to golf. Nowhere in his biography do you find anything about playing or coaching the game of football.

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And yet, there was Bill Doba after the loss to Cal on Saturday telling Bud --- for what seemed like the umpteenth time in the last month --- that he was all ears if Bud had any ideas about how to get the Cougs over the hump.

Of course, we all know Doba isn't serious. It's just an expression of frustration. Asking the sidelines reporter for his ideas can be considered quaint --- once in a season. Twice falls into the "getting old" category. In Week 7, after yet another fourth-quarter meltdown, it becomes certifiably lame.

Don't get me wrong. I like Coach Doba. A lot. I feel for him. This can't be any fun --- especially so given the fact he was the 10-win toast of the West Coast just 22 months ago.

Moreover, in the annals of inane commentary, repeatedly asking Namek for advice doesn't come anywhere near Mike Price's infamous "I'm the king of Poop Island" proclamation in the dog days of the 1998 campaign.

Still, this Namek thing needs to stop. Looking at it purely from a marketing and branding standpoint, Doba effectively is telling the world he doesn't have a clue. That he's out of ideas. That he's in over his head. That he'd rather be fishing in western Michigan.

While some boo-birds may agree with that assessment, I know it's not accurate. Doba certainly knows it's not accurate. He's been a college coach for nearly 30 years. He has more football knowledge and leadership skills in his left earlobe than most of us will attain in a lifetime.

For me, the greatest testament to his abilities is the fact these Cougars never quit. They came out and throttled undefeated UCLA for two-plus quarters. After losing to the Bruins in heartbreaking fashion they laid a first-half egg against Cal.

Demoralized, right?

Wrong.

The Cougars were full of fight, fury and pride in the second half. Talk about resilient. They are competitors and fighters. They lost another painful one, but they went down with their guns blazing. These guys have depth of character. And clearly, they can play with anybody in the Pac-10 this side of USC.

That's the branding image Doba needs to be projecting.

Frustration is understandable and expected. Wins and losses are the bottom line. Fans are restless. Reporters want answers. Doba needs to channel it differently, though.

He is no PR guy. He's a bread-and-butter, meat-and-potatoes football guy. It's time the coach adds to his repertoire, because right now he's just fanning the flames of discontent in his post-game interviews.

Bud Namek's bio says he was a marketing major in college. Maybe Doba has the right guy --- he just needs to start asking him the right kinds of questions.

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