What They're Saying

INTRIGUE, INSIGHT and invective abound as pundits, players and Price put final thoughts on one sorry Rose Bowl game.

Alabama fans who might have tuned in for an early look at their new coach might have been alarmed to see that his team didn't look quite as sharp as the Bear's did when he coached The Tide. This could be the first time that some of them are calling for the head of a coach with a 0-0 record.
-- Randy Harvey, Los Angeles Times

To be honest, I did not have the Cougars losing -- and losing big -- in any of my exacta boxes. On top of that, because the Rose Bowl was not a marquee game this year, scalpers got scalped. So did I, forced to sell two $125 tickets for $50 each. While I took a bath, the Cougs took a beating, and I don't even want to mention what else I took -- 6 1/2 points. And now, after the Cougs stunk it up, I've got to suck it up and prepare for the 24-hour journey back to Port Orchard in a motor home. Happy New Year? Hardly.
-- Jim Moore, Seattle P-I

Happy New Year, Mike Price, and good luck explaining that Rose Bowl stinker to your new fans in Alabama.
-- David Leon Moore, USA Today

No truth to the rumor Mike Price left for Tuscaloosa at halftime of Wednesday's Rose Bowl blowout. Nor that Bill Doba declined the job as next Washington State coach in the wake of the 34-14 embarrassment to Oklahoma. Nor even that Alabama athletic director Mal Moore went on television last night and said, ``Seven-year contract? No, we offered the fella a seven-DAY contract ... and time is up."
-- Greg Johns, Eastside (Belleveue) Journal

It was hard to pinpoint the most disappointing no-show Wednesday afternoon: the Washington State Cougars or the fans. Large segments of both were noticeably missing in action.
-- J.A. Adande, Los Angeles Times

All these mental mistakes, all these lapses in concentration, and there's no correlation with the fact the head coach announced he had accepted another job, in another time zone, two weeks ago?
-- John McGrath, Tacoma News Tribune

The guess here is that some Bubba in Alabama is poring over Mike Price's resume at this very minute, hoping to find a George O'Learyism in there that will allow his favorite college football team to get out of this blind date the athletic director just set up.
-- John Blanchete, Spokesman-Review

Price was being blamed not only for WSU's pathetic offensive performance — 11 first downs and 243 yards — but the game's lowest attendance since the end of World War II. It was more appropriate to recognize him for getting the Cougars here twice in six years, for putting a program in the position to get back here again. To savor the moment of WSU's appearance in the Rose Bowl, rather than regret it.
-- Blaine Newnham, Seattle Times

For much of Washington State's stellar 2002 football season, there has been an undercurrent of strain, of awkwardness. It rose to the surface Wednesday in Mike Price's out-of-key swan song as the Cougars' coach. In losing 34-14 to impressive Oklahoma, the Cougars watched their fourth Rose Bowl appearance in school history degenerate into a strangely colorless performance, particularly in that phase of the game that Price most adores -- offense.
-- Dale Grummert, Lewiston Morning Tribune

Roll, Tide, Roll.
-- Oklahoma fans mocking the Cougars in the third quarter

I'm sure I'll get my share of the blame, which is OK.
-- Mike Price, Alabama head coach

"It wasn't the way I wanted to leave," said Price, who has already accepted the head coaching job at Alabama. It turned out Price's exit wasn't up to him. Oklahoma's defense proved to be the bouncer who unceremoniously showed the coach the door.
-- Carter Strickland, Spokesman-Review

We just couldn't put anything together. We were missing assignments, missing blocks, just going out there and having no idea what just happened.
-- WSU All-American guard Derrick Roche

Man, was that a nightmare or what?
-- Jason Gesser

It's impossible to say Gesser's ankle wasn't something of a factor, even if he didn't want to say so. After all, this wasn't UCLA. This was Oklahoma, at one time considred the best defense in the nation.
-- Robyn Norwood, Los Angeles Times

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