Washington State coach Paul Wulff ripped a page from the playbook of Ed "Straight Arrow" Gennero this week. Don’t remember Gennero? He’s the tactical genius who led the Texas State Fighting Armadillos to a 1-9-1 record during the 1991 season, a year after the NCAA crushed the program for recruiting violations, steroid abuse, illegal payments and grade tampering.
As part of the penalty, the NCAA stripped the Armadillos of all 85 scholarships, forcing the team to find players from the student body. This resulted in a hilarious tryout that produced a samurai linebacker, a quality Samoan center and a fleet-footed, stone-handed receiver. It’s unclear what the other sanctions were, but it is believed the NCAA also limited Texas State’s staff to only two coaches, Gennero and Robert Loggia. For some reason, Texas State did not suffer further penalties for using a professor as a defensive tackle. Presumably, since Andre Krimm held a Ph.D., his Division I eligibility should have expired. This question was lost in the swirl of feel-good following the Armadillos’ win against the by-God Texas Colts in the 1991 season finale.
Washington State hasn’t been hammered by the NCAA. The Cougars have just been hammered. In Washington State’s lone win -- a 48-9 whipping of Portland State on Sept. 20 -- the Cougars lost quarterbacks Kevin Lopina and Gary Rogers to spinal injuries. The injuries left Wulff in a bind. He needed every quarterback remaining on the roster on the offensive practice field, leaving no one to get pounded by the starting defense while running the scout team. So Wulff embraced his inner Straight Arrow and held a campus-wide tryout Monday for a scout team quarterback.
Twenty-nine hopefuls showed up. They got one turn each in a five-step-drop drill, agility drills, a throwing-on-the-run drill and a distance-throwing drill. It is unknown whether, after plunking a spectator with a football, any of the would-be QBs told his receiver, "I thought you were going to do one of these" while making a serpentine arm motion to signify that the quarterback expected the receiver to run an out route followed by a post route followed by a corner route.
Washington State coaches deliberated Monday night and announced Tuesday morning that Peter Roberts, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound freshman from Woodinville, Wash., had earned the right to be used as a human tackling dummy. Pete, take this advice from a former scout-teamer, the cold tank is your best friend. And if you get dinged, don’t worry. Scott Bakula is still available.
I’d also like to send a personal message to Washington State’s sports information staff. When you hold an open tryout for a supermodel kicker, I’ll head to the Palouse on the first thing smokin’ to cover the event.