Doba: Recruiting, facilities must improve

WHAT DO THE Cougs need to do in order to return to winning seasons and bowl games? Bill Doba offered some solutions during Monday's press conference but whether Doba is the one who will be piloting the ship is another question and one that he was asked directly.

Doba joked about and laughed off questions about his job status before declining to comment.

Things could change but it appeared likely no announcement on Doba's future would be forthcoming until after the season concludes with Saturday's 100th Apple Cup. It will be the fourth consecutive season without a bowl game for the Cougars.

Regardless who the head man is next year, recruiting, said Doba, is what most has to change in order for the Cougs to start going bowling again.

"To be back in the upper echelon...that's just good recruiting and...the other thing is it's an arms race," said Doba. "Facilities help recruiting. I think that's the big thing that's helped Oregon. Plus, they're good coaches too, I think all through the Pac-10 you have good coaches.

"But the key to winning and being successful is to be able to bring in that good recruiting class every year."

It also comes down to injuries, said Doba, and pointed to USC, Oregon and Cal this year as prime examples.

"What needs to be done is recruiting and to get decent players," he said. "Then I think -- you can ask SC or anyone else -- you have to have a little luck and stay healthy.

"SC loses a few guys and all of a sudden they're not unbeatable anymore. And look at Cal. And look at Oregon -- lost their receivers, lost their quarterback -- and how they struggled."

There's little question injuries to the starters will derail a team faster than just about anything else. But it's also true the Cougs during the '07 season have been relatively unscathed in that area -- compared to the last three campaigns, anyway.

DOBA COMMENTED MOSTLY from a defensive perspective on the Oregon State debacle, although he could just as easily have been talking about the offense in using the word "disappointing." He also said answers for why Washington State played so poorly from start to finish remain a mystery.

"That was disappointing. But we've got to put that aside. I don't know why, I can't figure it out but we've got to put that aside and this is Apple Cup week. This is special -- always is," said Doba.

The Cougs, who were off on Sunday, will kick off the practice week for the 100th Apple Cup in the indoor facility on Monday, for the 'teaching walk and talk' session. Last week, WSU didn't pad up trying to go into Oregon State as healthy as possible. That won't be the case this week.

Tuesday and Wednesday are scheduled to be padded practices. The non-travel team will head home for Thanksgiving break on Wednesday morning.

Friday, the Cougs will be in Seattle for a Friday luncheon involving the two school's players.

A win on Saturday against rival Washington would ease the pain but after four consecutive seasons without a winning record, it's not, for many Cougar fans, going to make up for staying home for the holidays four years running.

"This (an Apple Cup win) would keep us a lot warmer here. We're not satisfied with it (the season) obviously but it would sure help," said Doba.

NOTABLE NOTE:
The family friendly Apple Cup Anniversary Rally and BBQ is set for Friday, Nov. 23, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Qwest Field Events Center. Both teams, coaches, bands, cheer squads and mascots will be in attendance. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Register at www.alumni.wsu.edu/applecup or call the WSU Alumni Association at 1-800-ALUM-WSU.