PULLMAN — Although the loss to the Huskies appeared to be the proverbial death-blow to the Cougs’ bowl aspirations, several WSU coaches and players were still optimistic the team had a shot at an extended season -- and at redemption. Although that shot may be a long one, it is now all that is left of a season that such a short while ago seemed destined for post-season glory.
Bill Doba was the first to push for the team’s right to play in December. The head coach pointed out the fact that while the Cougs certainly fell short the last three weeks, the team’s stand-up play earlier in the year, including wins over Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA, should also be taken into account.
“When you look around at the different games and the different teams, yeah, I think we’re good enough to go to a bowl game,” Doba said.
Safety Eric Frampton concurred, saying injuries in the second half of the season played a significant role in the team’s slide. He also said the issue of the walking wounded would not be nearly the issue it was should WSU go bowling, as the Cougs are just now getting some of their guys back, and others are healing up.
“I think the way we played tonight, we played resilient,” Frampton said. “We lost the game-there is no doubt about that. But I think we were resilient, I think we showed some things tonight on offense. Defensively, I think we do deserve a bowl game. The way we started off, to be totally honest with you, the last three games as far as the lack of focus, we didn’t have guys in (healthy)…But guys are (now) back, guys are healthy…We’ll see, we’ll see how it pans out.
“There’s a chance, there’s a chance. So we’re hoping for that chance,” Frampton added.
Quarterback Alex Brink said while he hoped the Cougs would buckle it up one more time in 2006, he was also cognizant of the fact that the decision is no longer in their control.
“I have no idea, that’s for somebody else to decide, which is unfortunate, because we could have controlled that. But at the same time, we put on some good shows, and played well. I hope somebody gives us a shot, but it’s not up to me.”
Some other members of the team were confident the team deserved a postseason bid, others were simply hopeful that such an opportunity would be given.
“I hope it doesn’t end here. This is my senior season, I would really like to keep on playing, get one more game out of it and win that game,” senior tight end Cody Boyd said.
Senior defensive end Mkristo Bruce took the opportunity to praise the play of his teammates throughout the season, many of whom played hurt down the stretch. The team captain also seemed mindful that a bid would be somewhat of a pleasant surprise after losing the last three games to wind up 6-6 in the regular season.
“That would be a blessing,” Bruce said. “I would really love another game, but we’ll see what happens.”