Notes from Pullman:
1. It was cold.
2. The WSU fans were great, very hospitable.
3. It. Was. So. Cold.
Enjoy the 2nd quarter of the drive chart below; the rest is a bit tough to watch. Some general, non-game related notes follow after the animation.
Thanks to some diehard Bruin friends that also made the trip to Pullman, I was lucky enough to leave my seats in the end zone for front row seats at the 35 yard line. Due to the smaller stadium size we were close enough to talk to the players on the sidelines. It was fun to see the interactions and goings-on on the sidelines between plays.
• gbruin’s excellent post about character ties in perfectly with Johnathan Franklin, who was all business, all the time. When not in the game he stood alone, intently watching his teammates, seemingly oblivious to anything happening outside of the game. Half the stadium could have been abducted by aliens and he wouldn’t have noticed; he was focused, locked in. That, or he was simply too cold to move.
• Klemm is legit. And intense.
o As soon his guys were off the field they circled around him for feedback, criticism, praise, adjustments, etc. He was full of energy all game, pacing the sidelines, taking notes, getting emotional; if the cold weather bothered him it didn’t show.
o One player got an earful from Klemm for his uniform not being properly worn (unintentional, I’m sure). Expectations are high and attention to detail a must for this coach, whether on the field or on the sideline.
o During the second half when WSU was mounting its comeback Klemm noticed some players huddled by the heater joking around. He immediately lit into a group Gunnery Sergeant Hartman style, which (unintentionally) resulted in one player on the ground. After that, players seemed to know better than to sit down or stand by the heater, the expectation was to be on your feet supporting your teammates.
o Klemm believes in his guys. After Hundley got spooked out of the pocket and rushed for 3 yards on third and eight late in the fourth quarter, Klemm roared "TRUST YOUR PROTECTION!" I’m sure you guys heard him yell it all the way down in SoCal.
• Baca is the heart of the team. He routinely walked the line yelling at his teammates trying to get them pumped up and back into the game. Payton followed suit during the fourth quarter, visibly frustrated by what was happening on the field.
• Simon Goines does not like cold weather – he looked absolutely miserable, poor kid. He’s also receiving valuable and "passionate" (loud and colorful) coaching from Baca when they’re on the sidelines.
• Big Joe Fauria and Datone Jones are hams. There was a fair amount of give and take between the hecklers (verbal) and Jones (non-verbal), and Fauria was having fun with the crowd for our benefit as they dispersed early in the second half. "Hey, where’s everybody going", he asked us, "Hot dogs? Going to get some hot dogs?", and so on...
• Other: Players seemed to appreciate our six man pond of blue in the sea of red at the stadium. We did our best to counter the often amusing and rarely mean-spirited hecklers with eight claps and supporting cheers. And we fully intended to start the "Beat SC" chant during the fourth quarter as soon as the Bruins put the game away… Yeah, so that didn’t happen. Oh well, I guess I saved my voice for this Saturday at the Rose Bowl.