Seen & Heard 4/27

COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHES will be racking up the frequent flier miles and burning up the rental car rubber over the next few weeks as the recruiting season's "May Evaluation Period" unfolds. Which leads me to this question: Exactly how many periods does the NCAA have and what all do they mean? Shockingly, the Byzantine NCAA actually made the search for the answer quite easy.

In just two minutes perusing the NCAA's Website, I was able to learn that there are four types of periods in the world of Division I football recruiting.

In alphabetical order, they are:

Contact period. Here it is permissible for authorized athletic department staff members to make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.

Dead period. This is fairly clear. It's not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on- or off-campus or permit official or unofficial visits.

Evaluation period. It is permissible for authorized athletics department staff to be involved in off-campus activities to assess academic qualifications and playing abilities. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts with a prospect are permitted (unless of course a prospect just happens to walk into his coach's office at the same time a college recruiter has stopped by).

Quiet period. It's permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts only on the member institution's campus. (Not sure, but I think this means you can have prospects in for official visits but you can't be making any stops at a kid's house – unless of course your name is Rick Neuheisel.)

SPEAKING OF RECRUITING, I was absolutely sickened last weekend by the attention-whoring stunt of quarterback Jimmy Clausen of Westlake Village, Calif. Considered one of the top college prospects for 2007, this high school junior had narrowed his choices to Notre Dame and USC. When the two became one, he and the folks decided to do what every proud family would: Hire a Los Angeles PR firm to create a spectacle around his decision. Considering they chose the College Football Hall of Fame for the site of his announcement, there was no doubt where he was going. The College Hall is in downtown South Bend.

Clausen and family arrived in a stretch Hummer limo and thereupon pronounced in front of a huddled mass of 300 Irish acolytes that his goal was to leave Notre Dame with four national championship rings on his fingers. Nothing like being a little cocky at age 17.

And here I am thinking it's cheeky for a kid to go on the local news with the requisite three college caps arranged in front of him. That is straight from the school of low key when compared with Clausen, who I believe ought officially be dubbed "The Punk in Cleats." As Dennis Dodd of CBS Sportsline put it after digesting the badinage, "What's wrong with a little humility, some class?"

WORD OUT OF DENVER is that former Cougar corner Karl Paymah is the leading contender to be the Broncos' dime back in 2006. Says beat writer Lee Rasizer of The Rocky Mountain News, "He didn't play a lot as a rookie last season because he tended to grab receivers in coverage and appeared to be afraid of making mistakes. However, his technique and confidence improved as the season progressed, and he has impressed the staff with his work ethic."

While on the subject of Cougars in the NFL, Jerome Harrison's outlook for this weekend's draft appears to be the source of wide-ranging conjecture. Message board pundits are forecasting him in Seahawks, Falcons or Colts jerseys, among others. The Sporting News, meanwhile, pegs him to go to the Titans early in the fourth round. The third round has most often been targeted for Harrison this winter by draft watchers, but Harrison himself told the Tacoma News Tribune this week that he's now hearing second round. Consensus opinion is that his size (5-9ish, 200) works against him but his showing at the NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl did nothing but improve his stock.

In case you missed it, one of Harrison's Cougar teammates, defensive end Adam Braidwood, made headlines last week when he was taken No. 1 overall in the CFL draft. He is the second Cougar so honored, following in the footsteps of fellow British Columbia native (and long-time Jacksonville Jaguar) Rob Meier, who was No. 1 in 1999.

ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE Cougar basketball players, record-setting Bennie Seltzer from the early 90s, has joined the coaching staff at Marquette. He had been an assistant at Oklahoma for the last nine seasons under Kelvin Sampson, who recently took the head job at Indiana.

"It's tough because we've been around each other for so long," said Seltzer of parting with Sampson, whom Seltzer was with for 13 seasons as either a player or assistant coach. "But this opportunity we have is unbelievable. This is an ideal situation for me." One of Seltzer's fellow assistants at Marquette is Jason Rabedeaux, an assistant under Sampson at WSU when Seltzer was the Cougars' star point guard.

WHEN MIKE PRICE SAID he wanted to upgrade UTEP's non-conference schedule, he clearly wasn't kidding. The Miners are negotiating with the mighty Texas Longhorns for a home-and-home set up for 2008 and 2009. The two school haven't played each other since 1933. Price told the El Paso Times, "It makes so much more sense than playing Oregon or someone like that. That doesn't do anything for me."

Price, who has trimmed down considerably since he was roaming the buffet lines of the Palouse, apparently has worked similar magic on his backup quarterback, Brandis "Mountain" Dew. The 6-5 talent from California who was tipping the scales at 300 pounds last season is now down to 265. And yes, your eyes aren't playing tricks, he is indeed a quarterback. The El Paso Times goes so far as to now use the term "quick footed" to describe the slimmer Dew.

STICKING TO THE TEXAS THEME, from the category of too absurd to be fiction comes this mind-bender courtesy of Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly. Last fall a coach in the smallest division of high school football in Texas – six-man ball – was so tired of losing that he told his players and assistants that an upcoming game had been canceled. In fact, the game wasn't canceled and the coach showed up Friday night with a team comprised of buffed, goatee-sporting dudes in their early 20s – including the coach's son, a junior at Texas State, who once set a prep record for TD passes in a game. The opposing coach wondered what they were serving for hot lunch over there at Texas Christian School.

TCS jumped to an 18-0 lead, at which time the head coach, who also happens to be the school's principal and Bible-studies teacher, had a revelation that this was perhaps improper. He offered to forfeit the game. The opposing coach declined – prudently so, it turned out. Out of cardio shape, TCS' players-for-hire became increasingly gassed and ended up losing 26-18.

JEFF McQUARRIE, THE DEVOUT Cougar fan and highly skilled video producer and director, was in the CF.C Chat Room last evening and told the faithful that his feature film on the colorful history of Cougar football will be out in September. The film includes fabulous old game footage, some amazing stories and interviews with a Who's Who of great Cougars ranging from Jim Sweeney and Keith Jackson to Drew Bledsoe and Jack Thompson. It also will feature a countdown of the top 15 teams in WSU history (if it were up to me, the 1997 Leaf-Bender-Fab Five club would be No. 1). To get on the email notification list when the film is ready for purchase, click to Legends of the Palouse


Following last week's passing of Judy Doba, a number of Cougar fans have asked where they can send remembrances. Coach Doba and the family are suggesting three: The Pullman Regional Hospital Auxiliary's Patient Comfort Unit (835 SE Bishop Blvd, Pullman, 99163), the United Way of Pullman (425 East Main, Pullman, 99163) or St. Thomas More Chapel and Newman Center (820 NE "B" Street, Pullman, 99163).

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