By Jim Moore
I’ve been taking all kinds of heat for having a negative attitude about Cougar football.
One guy on Facebook promised me a bottle of Scotch if I did not write a Debbie Downer post after the Arizona State game.
Another guy, when I saw him at a Tempe bar before the ASU game, got all over me for not having a more positive attitude about Mike Leach and the direction of the program.
So then I thought: “Geez, maybe he’s right. I need to be more patient. I need to toughen up. Maybe this kind of coaching is what the Cougs need to change their losing ways. I have to give it time because it’s part of a process and things will be better in the future.”
But then I went to the game.
We lost 46-7. We were non-competitive, which is a nicer way of saying we were awful.
We have lost eight games in a row. We’re 2-9 and will go the entire season without a Pac-12 win if the Huskies beat us in the Apple Cup on Friday.
And let’s see, since the 2007 Apple Cup, we’re 11-49 and 4-40 in conference play. In the last 60 games, we have had what I would call two “quality” wins – over Oregon State in 2010 and ASU last year.
I don’t care what anyone says about patience anymore â€” there’s just no way we should be this bad in Leach’s first year even if it is a transitional phase in the program.
We’re a joke. An absolute joke.
I wrongly figured, like many Cougs, that the holdovers from last year’s 4-8 team would improve to 6-6 this year under Leach. Or heck, 5-7 would’ve been all right, too, as long as we saw some progress.
I thought we had enough skill players to at least make it more fun for those of us who have been bored to tears for the past four years. But the Air Raid offense has fizzled. We’ve had two games – against BYU and Oregon State – when we didn’t have a touchdown. We’ve had two games – against Utah and ASU – when we avoided a shutout in the last minute.
Coaches talk about everyone being on the same page. On Saturday we didn’t even look like we were in the same library or the same bookstore or the same Kindle or whatever, you get my point – we looked brutal on offense.
And defensively we let the Sun Devils do whatever they wanted to do, passing for 301 yards and rushing for 260. Taylor Kelly finished the game by completing his last 18 passes.
I’m sorry, I just refuse to believe this is a 2-9 team talent-wise. I’m not saying we should be 9-2 or even 6-6, but we shouldn’t be 2-9.
The coaching’s to blame for that. Clearly the locker room’s fractured – I imagine some of the kids want to play for Leach and some don’t. Some like him, some don’t. And I wonder how many respect him.
When you’re not unified in your effort, it will show on the field, and that’s what I’m seeing. There’s enough talent to win games here and there.
I never thought it would get as bad as the 2008 season ever again, but here we are. And I’m to a point where I think that the 2008 team would beat the 2012 team if they played each other.
The 2012 team would be favored by 8.5 points but would find some way to dribble a snap back to the punter and misfire on offense often enough that the 2008 team would win straight up, and Paul Wulff would be celebrating with that goofy dance of his again.
Ah, but we can salvage the season if we beat the Huskies on Friday. There it is, our little battle cry year after year, as if that’s going to happen. You tell me what you saw in that 46-7 loss to ASU that leads you to believe we have a shot at beating the Dawgs.
Guess I won’t be getting that free bottle of Scotch.