This afternoon’s article is directly addressing the fans of Washington State Football, because I am a little peeved right now at you. You know the difference between a real fan and a paper one? A real fan shows up to support their team while a paper one sits in the living room. A real fan understands what it takes to lay a foundation for the future while a paper one complains about every little aspect of the present. A real fan keeps in mind the good of what happened, while a paper one harps constantly on the negative. I’m talking to you, Paper Fan man.
Yes YOU, guy or gal who refused to show up because of whatever excuse you made, be it the smoke or the fact that it was supposedly a win that we could chalk up and you could just watch it on tv. Hey Paper Fan man, did you know we were about 5,000 voices short of capacity on freaking Homecoming? Yes we were. We sold out for Eastern Washington and came up way short against Colorado. 5 thousand voices in Martin Stadium is a HUGE boost and increases the sound level by probably about 15%. And also YOU, guy or gal who took off at halftime to go back to the loft and drink beer while watching the rest of the game on FX because we were up by a measly 2 touchdowns and you were too weak to stay outside for another hour and a half. If you can’t tell, I was disgusted with our fans yesterday, just totally disgusted!
We talk about the team not knowing how to win, but we’re right there with them, holding their hand and playing along. Where were you, Mr./Mrs. Cougar Fan when the Cougs needed you in the 4th quarter to boost their moral with a 10 point lead and Colorado building momentum, beating traffic? Probably by that time we were more like 10,000 ppl short, by the way. And yes, I hope this offends some of you. You need to be offended and learn how to be a real fan, a good fan.
I don’t see (and you don’t see either) a single winning program that comes up 10,000 people short by the mid stages of the 4th quarter with a lead in their own stadium, especially here in our league. Oregon fans continue to pack the stadium till about 3 minutes to go in a 50-0 blowout. Washington fans are arrogant and fail to be intelligent in general but they stay in their seats for the duration of a football game and support their team. You’ll never see them leave in the middle of a 14 point game, no matter which side it’s on. I’m telling you we’re no less to blame for our players thinking a game is over, when they see us wrapping it up and heading for the exits at the 10 minute mark because the game is “in hand”. Coach Leach talked a lot about how weak our teams’ mindset is, and I think it’s no small coincidence that our fans are the weakest minded fans in our conference.
And now for the second part of my rant, on a different topic but still talking to our fans. This time though, it’s so you can understand what’s happening instead of blindly throwing criticism at the wrong sources. Mike Leach is absolutely right when he says that it’s “Unbelievable and crazy that we fail to take the opportunity every play to whip the guy across from us. We think we have the game wrapped up or something and that’s crazy. You work your whole life to get in this position and to not take advantage of it….”.
The Cougs had several chances to just take the game over on the field and I must say that the coaches put them in that position. 2 plays that spanned 150+ yards and probably 25 seconds were the reason that the clock didn’t get run out, not the coaches. There were a few callers on the post-game show that were completely ignorant about the issues in the program right now. You want to be Mr super-fan that knows everything and goes and blames the coach for the lack of execution by his players. Simply put, the Cougs executed the plays for 90% of the game and nobody said anything about how they did it, except that we had finally arrived a little bit. Then, they didn’t. I will say that we should’ve kicked a field goal instead of throwing the 4th down interception, as we’d be enjoying a win right now but I was in favor of the call to go for it at the time, so I can’t and won’t take it back now.
Mr. Paper Fan, please understand that Mike Leach is a winner. He knows how to coach football. He coaches through to the end of the game and his players need to learn how to play that way. There is a reason we were 8-41 over the last 4 seasons, and it’s because we did the things you are suggesting Leach should try at the end of a ball game. Sitting on the ball and trying to run out the clock in the 4th with a big lead (UCLA last season), failing to be aggressive when we needed a score in the 4th quarter to keep the pressure on (SDSU last season), etc. Mike Leach is killing ALL OF IT! The team knows how to lose the 4th quarter, period. The coaches are changing that culture with the way they coach and call a game. Let them do it!
Look, I know it’s been frustrating so far, but if you want to build a winner it starts with playing the full 60 minutes. Leach has always done it as his pace and the man is a genius. The Cougars are genius too, they find a new way to lose a 4th quarter lead every couple weeks and I think it’s a product of previous coaches NOT trusting them with the lead late in a game and trying to kneel out a win, so to speak. When we are able to be that team that plays a full 60 minutes, we will put up 28 points in the final quarter on a team like Colorado and you will be more than excited that we FINISHED THE GAME, instead of sitting on the ball. It’s what Tech did so well for so many years and we just have to realize that his philosophy doesn’t make us bad over the last stanza of football. When we execute, games like this will not be close and we will be singing his praises. Our “fans” are already saying things like “Mike Leach Sucks!” I understand your passion but you have to just chillax and give it a chance!
By the way there are wins still coming this season. Our team is like a child right now and it is in the process of “growing up”, as Deone Bucannon said in his press conference after the game. “We just gotta grow up, we use the young team card too much and we just have to play, even if we’re young”. We are playing a sophomore quarterback who’s made crucial (and most importantly fixable) mistakes late in the games, and we have like 8 or 9 freshmen getting significant playing time in premier roles. Learning is a process and quite honestly I think the team learned more from a loss in that situation than barely holding on for a third straight week. We will see a different team going forward each week and we need to be ready to cheer them on when they get good enough to finish these games.