Glib was good, but Doba devine

A NEW ERA of Cougar football began this morning when <b>Bill Doba</b> was introduced as <b>Mike Price</b>'s successor. And what a change it is. The Cougs have gone from perpetual glib to consumate guy-next-door. From jocular to regular. Where Price was part <b>Jim Sweeney</b>, Doba is more <b>Jim Sutherland</b>.

Bill Doba, the Cougars new head coach
Like Price, the 62-year-old Doba is about as nice a guy as you'll meet. Like Price, you just know he loves college football and everything about it. And like Price, he has a folksy quality that screams "salt of the earth."

But when it comes to a press conference, Doba clearly sticks to his knitting. There's a reason he was a defensive coordinator --- going on the offensive with off-the-cuff stuff is not his style.

In front of a wall of reporters in Pullman this morning, he said all the right things in an unassuming, easy-going way. So unassuming, in fact, it's remarkable to think this is the father of the ferocious Palouse Posse defense of the early 90s.

There were some quips this morning, to be sure. Laughs aplenty were generated by Doba. He's measured, not monitone.

But he's no Johnny Carson either.

He had a game plan today and stuck to it. He thanked Jim Sterk and Lane Rawlins for the opportunity. He called his new post "the dream of a lifetime." He pledged to "maintain and improve" upon the great foundation laid by his dear friend Mike Price.

He saluted Pullman as the finest place to live in America. He said offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller (likely his closest competitor for the head job) would be free to continue working his one-back magic, and that Robb Akey, the super-charged defensive line coach, would be spreading his enthusiasm to the entire D as Doba's successor as coordinator.

He said the program would continue to seek out kids of high character and that academics would remain a major part of their football experience.

He vowed to keep the team and coaches focused on winning the Rose Bowl. He will set out to re-secure the incoming class of recruits (nine verbals and counting). He fully expects to have Outland Trophy winner Rien Long in uniform next season. And he pledged to build a rock-solid staff when all is said and done on who goes with Price to Alabama.

Clearly there will be no more quotes about being the "King of Poop Island" if things go bad. There will be no hyperbole-of-the-moment declaring a particular squad --- like last year's Sun Bowl edition -- the greatest in school history. There will be no dressing up like Elmer Fudd on a duck hunt the week before the Oregon game.

There's a new, old guy in charge. And his manner tells you we're all gonna be just fine.

Largely a behind-the-scenes guy over the last 14 seasons in Pullman -- save for an occasional guest appearance in the CF.C chat room -- Doba is now at center stage.

And he appears completely comfortable in the role.

For good reason, too.

He's been with Price every step of the way in taking WSU from the outhouse to the penthouse.

He was born in South Bend, for goodness sake. That's the cradle of college football. He was a hall of fame prep coach in Indiana. He's been at Purdue, The Citadel and Indiana U.

He has BBQs at his house for the players. He relates to them. They love him.

Bill Doba knows college football. He knows what it takes to succeed. He likes the players he has at WSU --- the ones who will start on January 1, but also the ones coming up through the system.

Saint Mike and all his quotable quotes are gone. But rest assured, unassuming Dean Doba is plenty ready to go to the head of the class.

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