We’ve been on such a high from the win over Washington that we haven’t really gone back and examined what really happened this season. Here are my six disappointing developments of the 2012 season.
1: Colorado Loss
This game stung more and more each week as the Buffs got worse and the Cougs were competing with the likes of Oregon, Stanford and UCLA. More painful than the setback itself though, was the way the Cougars lost it. On defense allowing 2 inexplicable and long touchdown plays and then the long drive at the end. On offense a turnover inside the 15 on 4th down which should have been a field goal try but instead turned into the spark that gave CU any hope at all. Sure we came back with a field goal 2 drives later, but that should have turned into a touchdown as well and was 1 point short of what we needed. Instead of securing what was a routine victory, we made CU look like a team even halfway credible for just over 7 minutes.
2: Marquess Wilson Fiasco
Let’s face it, he had the media fooled. I mean, what else were they supposed to talk about, but how many times over the final 3 weeks did we hear “You wonder if Wilson were still here….”. No dudes, if he were still here it’d be the same thing, or worse. He was a leader on the team that everybody followed, yes. Unfortunately his examples were poor and when he quit on a game, everybody quit around him. Did you notice after he left that hardly any balls were dropped by the receivers? To be blunt, he may have been our top playmaker (or threat of one), but losing him was the best thing for the team. The way it happened was not, as he tried to bring the entire program down with him.
3: The 3-9 Record
WSU finished an almost baffling 3-9 in a season that was supposed to be a much more positive turning point in the program. There were more chills than thrills in a disaster of year that included 8 straight conference losses.
4: Reaction to Leach Comments
I was really disappointed in the reaction from the Washington State community when Leach called out his team this year. He wasn’t unfair in his assessments and the point of the brutal honesty was to separate the men from the boys, which ultimately ended up happening and changed the work ethic of the team over the final quarter of the season. Basically he got called to the mat by many WSU fans, when it should have been the team getting called out. It isn’t as if we didn’t see the same thing happen when Wulff was around. Remember Cal and OSU in 2011?
5: Tuel’s Injuries/Connor’s Progressions
This is a joint venture, but the continued injuries to Jeff Tuel were a large chunk of the reason the offense couldn’t and didn’t progress faster. Halliday was supposed to be almost as good in relief, but he failed to read coverages very well all year. In fact, the success against ASU in 2011 was probably the worst thing for him in that regard, because he just went out and winged the ball around in that game and ASU didn’t make the plays. As a result, Connor admittedly got into the mindset that he didn’t have to read as much as he could just throw his receivers open. Lots of ints as a result.
6: Offensive Line Play
My final disappointment was the offensive line. This is more of a personal thing than a realistic one. The line played with 6 guys all year and none of them had played significantly in actual games, which is like taking a 6 man basketball team of freshmen into the Pac-12 and asking them to compete. Injuries, exhaustion, inconsistency, constant position changing, all of it was a problem. Yet somehow, 6 players held down every play on the offensive line all year. It’s a success in a way but the end result was very disappointing. The most sacks in the country and no running game led to the aforementioned Qb issues and ultimately was a huge reason for the overall failure of the offense.