This is a first for me. I am in the midst of joining the blogging world’s Mile-High Club. Hey, get your mind out of the gutter. I mean I’m blogging from the Alaska flight from Dallas to Seattle. With a 7:15 departure time and a midnight bedtime, there was no way I was getting up early enough to blog before we left Dallas. So we’re up in the air. Just like Saturday’s Washington State’s game was at halftime. But not after the third quarter. For more on that, and an up-and-down day for the Pac-10, read on.
• Washington State: We linked our game story and gave you the unvarnished notebook on last night’s post, but we’ll repeat the story link now, add a link to our published notebook, then add our two-minute drill. … The Seattle Times also ran a different version of my notebook. … From freelancer Howie Stalwick, we have his piece on the game, along with a notebook. … CougCenter has a game recap as does the WSU Football Blog. … From the Dallas Morning News, there is this game story and that’s it.
• Before we get to the Pac-10 links, we have some more postgame comments that didn’t make any of our stories …
• Paul Wulff …
“We just had a not very good third quarter, that’s for sure.”
“We didn’t convert some opportunities,” Wulff said, pointing to a third-and-7 screen pass to James Montgomery early in the fourth quarter. “We just misconnected. We thought that thing could have been to the house.”
“We missed an opportunity early when we kicked the field goal but we had a false start, and we end up with no points. That was a really good drive.”
“Our fans were great. They were solid and very positive the whole game. It was great to have them out there.” There was quite a large WSU contingent in the south east end of the horseshoe.
“We have to learn how to play for four quarters, be in a football game for four quarters.”
“This was the first time we had (a chance). Our next step is to continue to come out and be in football games for four quarters.”
“He got beat on one touchdown,” Wulff said of Deone Bucannon. “But he also made some big time run stops. His speed and aggressiveness, came up and got some guys down.”
“We’ve got some playmakers and their young. We got all the right ingredients but they just have to grow up fast.”
“We just felt the matchup was there,” Wulff said of hitting Marquess Wilson deep. “Thought we would have our opportunity to take some shots deep. And we did.”
• Co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball …
“We just got caught flat-footed,” on the long touchdown pass.
“An outfit like that is going to score some points.”
“I would like to have the big play back.”
“Those kids just keep getting better,” he said of the young players on defense. “They’re fighters, they’re mental game is really good, they study.”
“I thought we played harder longer than we have in the past. We still need to put together a complete 60 minutes, but I thought we played longer.”
• Travis Long …
“The first half was good, but we have to put four quarters together of effort or we won’t win ballgames.”
“I don’t think they expected us to play that well.
“We’ve just got to fight. That’s all it comes down to. We’ve worked too hard to roll over at this point. It’s not going to happen. I’m not going to allow that. I don’t think anyone’s going to allow that.”
• Hallston Higgins …
“We definitely did play better than we did last week, though we didn’t come away with the win.”
• Jeff Tuel …
“Just had to keep your hands dry, because my hands were a little wet,” he said of the heat and humidity.
“I thought we we’re in better shape, personally. I thought their defense was a little tired at times.”
“You have to learn how to win. It’s easy to get on a winning streak and it’s easy to get on a losing streak as we’ve had. We’ve just got to climb our way out of it, again. We’re getting closer and closer, taking huge steps. We’re in it at halftime, tied ball game, talking. We really felt it was our game to win. But, we’ve just got to build off it.”
• Kevin Kooyman …
“The ball game was ours to win. We just didn’t come out in the second half like we should have. … Everyone seemed like they were ready to go, then we go out there and we’re flat.”
“Our game plan was to get after (quarterback Kyle Padron) early and we did it.”
“I definitely feel the Deone one was an iffy call,” Kooyman said of an early penalty that helped SMU score. “The ball was tipped and the receiver is fair game after that. He hit him with his shoulder, you could see it on the replay. It was clean hit. It was a big hit. It was a wrong decision.”
“That was a bad call too,” he said of a call on Daniel Simmons in the second half. “He did not grab him by the facemask, didn’t hit him out of bounds, didn’t hit him late. It’s just rough.”
“Defensively, we’re getting after the quarterback, which is a huge thing for us. We struggled with that a lot last year and it’s good to see this year.”
• SMU coach June Jones …
On building a home field advantage: “What I’ve talked about since I’ve been here is building a home field advantage. To be a really good championship team you have to win at home. If you win at home it doesn’t matter if you are in the National Football League or Conference USA, you’re probably going to feel good about yourself at the end of the year.”
On coaching Kyle Padron and his play today: “It’s hard to say. When I call the plays, I look at the coverages and expect the ball to go somewhere. When it doesn’t go there, I look back and see that we were pressured or had to slide around and couldn’t make the throw. I thought that he had a very nice drive at the start of the second half, where he overcame two penalties and we still went down in 12 plays and scored; the drive took up eight or nine minutes of the clock, which I’m pleased with. But he’s still got room for improvement. With four touchdown passes, he played good enough to win today.”
On third down conversions: “We haven’t been very good at third down conversions this year, but today Kyle did what he was supposed to do in key situations for us.”
On today’s zone blitzes: “Obviously, we do a lot of zone blitzing. It’s going to be fun to be around here for the next few years to see JaGared (Davis) as he gets bigger and faster. Taylor Thompson provided some unbelievable pressure for us today. Overall, I thought when we were zone blitzing, we were bringing the pressure. We’re just going to have to tighten up the back end, and not give up the big play, but I really think that our front seven is pretty good.”
• Around the Pac-10: ESPN.com’s Ted Miller passes out his usual conference helmet stickers. What, nothing for Reid Forrest? How about Reggie Bush’s Heisman? … Washington: When Jake Locker plays like he did Saturday, the Huskies are an ordinary team at best. But he’s too good of a player to go 4 of 20 again. … Nebraska’s play overwhelmed the Huskies and the huge crowd, rolling over UW, 56-21. … There is a little discontent over the blowout. … My guess is there are about 1,000 TV types mad today. Some things Steve Sarkisian said on background in a production meeting about Bush were made public. That’s not supposed to be done. … Oregon State: Not two hours after the Beavers defeat Louisville 35-28, John Canzano is talking Boise State. … The win was little close for OSU’s comfort. … Oregon: The Ducks relatively soft non-conference schedule ends with a 69-0 victory over Portland State. … Despite a big day, LaMichael James is unhappy. … Hey, it was raining in Eugene. Points as well as water. Cal: The loss at Nevada earns some poor grades. … Stanford: It started late, so you might have missed it, but the Cardinal kicked the crud out of Wake Forest, 68-24. And it wasn’t that close from what I saw. … USC: The Trojans won 32-21, albeit not impressively. … A big kickoff return turned the game in their favor. … They come to Pullman next week. … UCLA: How do you figure the Bruins? They are crushed by Stanford – OK, that loss is looking better – then turn around and upset No. 23 Houston, 31-13. … Their fans can breath again – and other things. … Arizona State: Dennis Erickson’s team came this close to an upset in Wisconsin, coming within a blocked extra point of a tie. … Steven Threet is starting to emerge as force. … Arizona: The Wildcats showed they can win a tough game, which is a big deal.
• That’s all for this morning. But we do have a question for you. After three weeks, is it possible the best chance for a WSU Pac-10 win comes this Saturday, when USC comes to town? Of all the teams in the conference, the Trojans look the most vulnerable at times. … We’ll be back from back on the ground following Paul Wulff’s afternoon press conference. Until then …