March 22, 2007

The Big Cat Speaks - Spring Has Sprung

The theme for this year's Cougar football team could be "Back to Basics" but it could just as easily be "Change is Good". WSU is coming off a 6-6 year in 2006 that, as the record belies, saw both promise and despair. But it is mostly the despair that receives the air time because the Cougars were sitting at 6-3 late in the season and seemingly a shoo-in for one of the ubiquitous bowl game slots until a three-game slide - capped by an inexplicable loss to a horrible Husky team in the Apple Cup - nullified any and all momentum gathered from the first nine weeks of the season.

The off-season has seen plenty of change - first on the coaching staff, where longtime defensive line coach Robb Akey and running backs coach Kelly Skipper have departed [Akey to Idaho as the Vandals' head coach and Skipper to the NFL]. Akey was replaced by Nevada assistant Marty Long, a longtime buddy of Doba, while Skipper was replaced by his buddy and former Cougar great, Steve Broussard, who was previously coaching at Portland State.

"I like the way Bruiser deals with his kids," says Doba of the hiring of Broussard.in particular.

Personnel has changed as well. No longer here is All-everything receiver Jason Hill but neither is last year's starting running back, DeMaundray Woolridge, who is attempting to get himself back in academic standing so he can re-join the team. That leaves Dwight Tardy as the probable starter while Derrell Hutsona also works on his academic standing.

The Cougars are also one quarterback down from last year as Arkelon Hall transferred out to a junior college. There are numerous other academic and injury concerns - including potentially the most damaging, that Fevaea'i Ahmu may not recover in time from his foot injury to play in 2007.

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