COMMENTARY: 13 reasons to love the Cougs

PULLMAN -- A WSU Athletic Department employee took issue with me last week. Really let me have it. Got more than a little bit riled up. Like you, I was absolutely shocked. I mean, I'm the kindest, sweetest, most humble person I know. Just ask me.

It seems the WSU employee thought I was too rough on the Cougs in last week's column -- a column in which I shared the opinion of 50,000 other eyewitnesses that the Cougs looked a tad sloppy against Oklahoma State. I wrote that I expected a California team on the verge of cracking the Top 25 to win with ease against a Cougar team stocked with more youth than the Hannah Montana Fan Club.

Go figure.

But the fact is, after two Saturdays of data collection, this has all the makings of a long, long season for Cougar fans. If you are shocked by this revelation, you a) have not been reading my incredibly insightful prose all fall; b) have been, but summarily dismissed it after considering the source.


Three weeks into the season, I've already grown weary of writing about all the injuries, inexperience, lack of depth, youthful mistakes, veteran mistakes, uninspired quarterbacking, uninspired defense, yada yada yada. Because of that, and because I don't like being hollered at (I scare easily at my age), today's column is hereby declared a No Bash Zone.

Nothing but positives. So much sweet content, you'll contract diabetes by the time you're done reading. Here goes ...

• WSU's class of rookies is most impressive when one considers the late start the new staff got on recruiting. Kevin Norrell, Chantz Staden, Tyree Toomer, Louis Bland, Jared Karstetter (courtesy of the old staff), Myron Beck, Mike Ledgerwood, etc. have considerable promise. And keep an eye on redshirts like Cory Mackay, Andrei Lintz, Bernard Wolfgramm, Zack Williams and transfers James Montgomery and Brandon Jones.

• A great battle is shaping up at running back next year between Montgomery, Dwight Tardy and Chris Ivory. My pick to start? Ivory, if he stays healthy. When that big Texan breaks through the line and builds up a head of steam, whoa Nellie. If I'm a DB, I fake a pulled hammy and hit the ground before Ivory puts me six feet under.

• What do you like best about left tackle Vaughn Lesuma? Due to time restraints, you are limited to the following three choices: 1) He buys 1 percent milk instead of non-fat because the non-fat has a purple lid that reminds him of the Huskies; 2) He once asked his mom to change clothes because she was wearing purple; 3) He honest-to-God said the following words when discussing the support of WSU fans: "I love it and feed off of it and just want to become a better person because of it."

• For all of the above reasons, I hereby declare my intention to have Lesuma marry one of my daughters. If not Lesuma, then Kenny Alfred. Such pleasant, thoughtful, intelligent, highly motivated young men. Mind you, I'm only letting Lesuma and Alfred marry my kids because I failed miserably in trying to convince Kyle Weaver to do so before he left for the NBA.


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• The enthusiasm and passion exhibited by the coaching staff is infectious.

• The no-huddle offense, once the right personnel have time to digest it, is going to be a pleasure to watch.

• Ya gotta love the 24/7 optimism of safety Chima Nwachukwu, no matter what unfortunate happenings are unfolding before him.

• Do you realize that WSU coaches send hand-written notes to many recruits and/or their coaches and parents? What a great idea, and a wonderful reminder that Washington State is oh-so different than virtually every other school in big-time conferences.

• Martin Stadium has never looked better. All that attractive brick on the Stadium Way end is a slight upgrade from the row of porta-potties that used to be there, don't ya think?

• His early struggles aside, if you had an NFL body and arm like Gary Rogers, could you have stayed loyal to your school and waited five years to start? Count me out.

• Future CEO candidates: Rogers, Tardy, Alfred, Staden. Some folks just have a certain presence.

• We take for granted that WSU practices are held smack-dab in the middle of campus, open to reporters, fans, students and anybody else who happens by. A tad different than over at Montlake, where Ty "Does Anyone Know Any Good Realtors? Movers? Employment Agencies?" Willingham has turned Husky Stadium into Fort Knox, minus the charm.

• You do realize, don't you, that WSU has scored in 275 straight games since 1984? And 255 straight conference games since 1975? And 201 straight Martin Stadium games since 1956?

And a final thought. Idaho gives up 70 points the first week of the season. Wazzu gives up 66 points the second week of the season. Clearly, someone must have spiked the Palouse water table with the same stuff that the Mariners, Huskies, dearly departed Sonics and now, too, the Seahawks have been drinking.

* All remaining tickets for the Nov. 22 Apple Cup will go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m., only at To date, only season ticket holders have had the opportunity to purchase Apple Cup tickets. Tickets are $60 apiece, plus a processing charge.

* KJR Radio's new, one-hour weekly Cougar podcast, hosted by Jason Pucket and featuring analysis from Jason Gesser, goes on line every Wednesday at midnight. It can be found at .

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