Cougar Corner | Is It All About Recruiting For The Cougs?

Lew WrightSenior Writer IAugust 4, 2009

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13:  A Washington State Cougars helmet showing the initials of Pat Tillman next to the American flag during the Arizona State Sun Devils against Washington State Cougars Pac-10 game at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field on November 13, 2004 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Washington State and the UW football programs were in the spotlight on ESPN last week.

The ESPN CFL 50 State Tour paused for three minutes to cover the proud state of Washington.

OK, interviewing Brock Huard on the topic of college football in the Evergreen state might not be Klieg lights at a motion picture premier. But when ESPN does a three minute segment on the state of Washington, that is some very nice attention.

ESPN clearly was looking to fill time by the in-depth query posed to one of the great UW players of all-time.

College Football Live host Eric Kuselias lobbed the following softball to Huard:

"Tell me about college football in the state of Washington."

The three minutes spent by former Husky quarterback Huard can be summed up in a paraphrased sound bite.

"...it all comes down to recruiting..."


Here's another shocker.

Huard devoted most of his response time to Husky football.


Giving anyone three minutes to articulate why WSU lost 11 games last year and the UW lost all 12 played is absurd. Why not throw in a second question on whether or not the Obama stimulus package has effectively righted our national economy?

Recruiting is a key component to the athletic programs at every Pac-10 university. The conference has a proud tradition of excellence in both the classroom and on the field of play.

Making the point on just how important recruiting is to competitive college sports, let's switch gears for a moment.

College basketball coaches from every top flight school across the nation were in the Las Vegas area last week to evaluate high school players competing in Grassroots Basketball. High school players from around the country play in events such as the one last week in Henderson, NV to showcase their hoops talent. Coaches not only get a chance to see players perform on the court, it's an opportunity to learn more about the character of players.

Rest assured that both Coach Ken Bone and Coach Lorenzo Romar were on hand to not only see young men in action, they were making their presence known to reinforce the interest they may have in specific individuals. They were rubbing elbows with the likes of every Pac-10 head coach as well as Coach Mike Krzyewsk, Coach Jamie Dixon, Coach John Thompson III, and Coach Roy Williams to name just a few.

Returning to college football, most of the month of May, seven assistant coaches for both Washington and Washington State football hit the recruiting trails to evaluate prospects. During their visits to high schools, they were not alone. Assistant coaches from a variety of Division I schools were with them side by side.


Brock Huard may have been able to make a point that there just weren't enough Pac-10 caliber student/athletes on the rosters of both WSU and UW. 

OK, point made.

In making his point, Huard missed the big picture.

Washington State and Washington have always done more with less when it comes to recruiting. That's just a fact. Simply compare the ranking of prospects by scouting services and one quickly discovers that neither major university in the Evergreen state has ever been loaded with the cream of the crop coming out of high schools across the nation.

If it were all about recruiting, USC would be national champions every year. The Trojans were getting top high school prospects long before the arrival of Coach Pete Carroll. Check the won-loss record of USC, including Coach Carroll's first year, and you'll discover that it can't all be about recruiting.

If it were all about recruiting, how on earth was WSU men's basketball able to put together back-to-back 26 win seasons two years ago with recruiting classes that were simply average compared with the rest of the Pac-10?

If it were all about recruiting, how did Washington State defeat No. 5 Texas in the Holiday Bowl back in 2003? They managed that feat with a one-legged quarterback by the marquis name of Matt Kegel.

When talking about college football in the Evergreen state, Huard missed an opportunity to elevate the conversation. He could have pointed to coaching, the overall athletic program at both universities or even loyal supporters.

Will the new coaches for WSU and UW successfully connect their student/athletes to what it takes to excel in both the classroom and on the field?

Rather than search for answers on that level, ESPN and Huard took the easy route.

Both ESPN and Huard are not only capable of better, they usually deliver the goods.

Here's a sound bite for both ESPN and Brock Huard to chew on.

"Major college football in the state of Washington is on the move." - Lew Wright, Examiner.com

 *Thanks to Nuss who alerted CougCenter.com followers to the ESPN feature on the state of Washington spotlight.

Originally published on Examiner.com


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