A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some days you are overwhelmed by the sports news. It's similar to being driven to the beach by an 8-foot wave coming from out of nowhere when you're body surfing at Newport Beach. Other days, the news is more like the constant lapping of little 8-inch yappers, nipping at your heels and finally forcing you back to the sand. Either way, you enjoy the view. Read on.
• If you can't tell, I had trouble this morning coming up with a lead-in to the post. Days like Friday will do that to you. There was a lot of Inland Northwest sports news, just nothing so large it grabbed your attention. No big game or big news. Nothing so important anyone raced to Starbucks this morning to talk about with their buddies. Which makes me so grateful for Christian Caple putting up a poll this morning on his post. He asks who you would like to see play quarterback for the Cougars, Jeff Tuel or Connor Halliday. And it got me to thinking, is there a position in sports other than quarterback in which people have a more interest but actually know less about? The short answer: no.
• People love to have an opinion about who plays quarterback for their favorite team. The old saw is, of course, there is never anyone more popular on a football team than a backup quarterback. It's true, except in case of Tom Brady or Bart Starr or Andrew Luck. But playing quarterback, even at the college level, is a lot like an iceberg. What you see on the field during a game is only about a fifth of the role. Sure, the on-the-field stuff is impressive. Playing quarterback is an amalgamation of a lot of different roles in a lot of different sports. Like a point guard, the quarterback has to distribute the ball. Like a pitcher, he's in charge of getting the action started. Like a midfielder, he has to cover up a lot of his teammates mistakes. Like a catcher, he has to manage the game. Like a setter, he has to put the ball in the right place at the right time. But it's behind the scenes, out of the public eye, where the quarterback does his most important work. The good ones are always in the offensive team room, watching video of practice, of games, of the opponents, of themselves. They put in the hours to improve themselves and, consequently, the team. The best are also able to intuitively understand the pulse of the locker room, to know when the team is starting to tear apart or come together, and be able to either fix it or build on it. And, finally, there is the whole face-of-the-team stuff, the guy the public sees as Washington State or California or Iowa. The quarterback comes to represent his teammates in the public's mind. So keep all of this in your thoughts as you vote in the poll. Factor in the off-field role as well, the four-fifths of the job you never get to see. Wait, if you never get to see it, how can you factor it in? It is a conundrum, isn't it? Maybe that's why you have to trust the coach who is making the decision, the one who will use the only criteria that really matters, picking the guy who will best help the team win.
• Washington State: Besides the morning post, Christian also put up a couple posts yesterday, one with video of senior receiver Gino Simone after the first practice and one with no news on Brock Motum's ankle. As Christian says, coach Ken Bone is talking with the media this afternoon and should update Motum's condition then. ... I'm a little ticked at Christian for linking Ted Miller's Friday mailbag on ESPN.com – as long-time readers of this blog know, it's the one thing that gets me through the week – so I'm going to get my revenge by linking this feature on a WSU pitcher who is coming back from Tommy John surgery. There, now we're even. ... Western Washington, with former WSU guard John Allen playing a big role, will play for the NCAA Division II title today.
• Gonzaga: Guess, what? Found some stories to pass along. One was in our paper, with Jessica Brown writing about Haiden Palmer, who is finding her groove down the stretch for the Zags. ... The Ventura Star updated its readers on a local player for GU. ... And we also ran down this feature from Kentucky, GU's opponent Sunday. ... We found more from the San Francisco Chronicle on the transfers from USF. The Dons are losing a half-dozen players.
• Whitworth: It was another good year for the Pirates and first-year head coach Matt Logie. Jim Allen caught up with the coach for this feature.
• Chiefs: The WHL playoffs opened last night with Spokane losing in Vancouver. There was this story in the S-R and one in the Vancouver paper. ... We also found coverage of the Portland series and Tri-Cities vs. Everett.
• Preps: Despite the weather – hey, it's supposed to be somewhat warm here today – there were a couple soccer matches held Friday. Jim was there and filed this story.
• Mariners: The 2012 season is only a few days away – and a day closer in Japan, where the M's are prepping for their season-opening series with the Oakland A's. Art Thiel has more on the trip, while the rock-god status of Ichiro in his home country is worth passing along. I have just one question. What's with the porkpie hat? Isn't Frank Sinatra dead? ... The A's have even more questions than the M's heading into the season.
• Seahawks: Seattle signed a running back yesterday, though, in fitting with the rest of the day's news, it's not one that will turn a lot of heads.
• Sounders: The Sounders might not be able to overcome the best club teams in the western hemisphere, but they certainly seem to be one of the best teams in the MLS, especially at home. They showed that again last night with a 2-0 win over Houston. ... There was a bit of a dustup during the game.
• I know we didn't overwhelm you today. But, hopefully, we offered enough to keep you coming back. Until later ...