Herein lies the problem with kicking a player off of a team or firing a coach or firing an employee before the evidence is absolute. Certain charges or more specifically, “alleged” charges, just have to be corroborated before you act on them as a superior. We’ve seen this story before in Pullman, especially with the athletes, where X is quickly turned into Z by the authorities and community without going through Y and a players’ rep is killed when it absolutely is not deserved. Such is the case here, where Sekope Kaufusi is charged with possession of drugs (and apparently little evidence that he was ever directly involved) and quickly he is the class scape-goat who is hung out to dry. But after the guy is cleared of all charges what happens next?
In most cases our hero returns to the field or the hardwood and we sort of forgive and forget, which is hopefully the case here with Sekope. By all accounts this kid is an upstanding community member, as well as father, with an otherwise spotless reputation. Not to mention he is (was) one of our most prized defensive players that has had his chance at a healthy playing career, at least to this point, stolen from him because of a jump to conclusions without the proper evidence. Of course his value is more than just a football player so what happens is we hope he gets his spot on the football team back and learns who not to hang around as well as his teammates, both for his career and his personal advancement opportunities.
I am not necessarily against the hammer being dropped by Mike Leach early on at Washington State, but this case was one in which a slow-play could’ve been quite useful. I 100% believe that Coach will reinstate Sekope immediately and gain the ultimate respect of everybody involved with the program, because at the end of the day this is a great opportunity to let everybody know he gives everyone a fair shake! In the wrong place at the wrong time is not means for dismissal, especially when the man is cleared in the end of any wrongdoing.
Moving on, spring practices are going into their final phase, with only a handful left and then culminating with the Crimson & Gray Game on the 21st. I am really liking what I’m reading and hearing about the defense. Turnovers are a regularity and sacks are being registered by the front 7, a lot. Normally this would be alarming for an offense, especially when you throw in the fact that your 2 best returning LB’s (and your 3 top overall from last season) are no longer around with their experience and speed. But I’m very optimistic at this point because it’s more important that the defense is catching on to the 3-4 scheme and really enjoying the change. Demante Horton in particular is playing lights out at corner and Eric Oertel is impressing everybody after switching over to LB from running back.
I know these two things for sure, Leach and his staff have always been keen to putting a player exactly where he can get the most out of his talents, and the offense will click into overdrive eventually. The talent on our offensive unit is as good as any I ever saw at Tech and the numbers will be shocking to people outside of the Northwest, even with Leach’s reputation as a guru. If the defense continues to grow in Breske’s system (and especially if Kaufusi is reinstated to add to Sua, Long and Oertel), this team is going to be very, very dangerous.
Check out more on spring practices in the Hub at “All Coug’d Up!”