I will now drop the patronizing “plucky little Washington State” line in my posts. The Cougars played a heck of a game tonight against SC. They were well coached, played tough, and never gave up. The Auburn near miss against South Carolina made me wonder about Auburn, now I am wondering about SC and their relative level of strength. Auburn certainly separated from Wazoo better over the course of that game than SC did tonight.
Anyway. I am somewhat mystified about Booty as a QB. He fluffs no-pressure longer passes on first down, and then nails these ridiculous clutch passes into coverage on fourth and long. (Does the simple stuff bore him?) Still, he’s getting the results and staying calm. The O-line showed where they are on the growth path; my impression is that they had everything that they could handle from Wazoo, and that had a lot to do with why there weren’t a lot of holes open for the running game.
However, I am not putting my head in the oven over a close win. The defense were a bit erratic, but the good plays that they made, especially in goal-line stands, offset the amazing array of penalties that they accrued. The coaches did a good job of getting Smith into coverage where he could victimize the linebackers of Wazoo, and Moody and Washington definitely show promise when they can get a decent hole. Hell, an eight-minute plus drive for a touchdown doesn’t suggest it’s a lost cause!
That said, I still can’t see this being a no-loss season. The team is a work in progress, and if we as SC alumni and fans hadn’t become so spoiled from the last several seasons, we’d be falling over about how well an entirely rebuilt offense that’s down three tailbacks by mid-September is still ranked as high as second. However, even if the injury rate stabilizes – or better returns to the mean — there’s a hell of a lot of coaching and improvement to go. A better team than Wazoo with better coaches (like, oh I don’t know, Oregon or Cal) could put a real dent on the season.
Enough. I have TPS reports to work up.