October 29, 2007

The Big Cat Speaks - A Lo-Cal Diet

Last week was just what the doctor ordered for Washington State University head football coach Bill Doba and the Cougars. After a tough 0-4 beginning to the Pac-10 season with the fourth loss coming in embarrassing fashion to Oregon, there was no better time for rest than last week's bye week. Coming off a few days of rest and relaxation, what better team to face than UCLA - a team that Doba and Wazzu have had their way with over the past six years. Make that seven - as the Cougars took advantage of UCLA's injuries and ran off with a 27-7 victory in Pullman for their sixth win over the Bruins in the last seven years.

"Coming off the field, I was half as excited as coming off the field at the Holiday Bowl against Texas. We really needed that win. It was a happy locker room for a change," said Doba, who has been responsible as the head coach for four of those six recent wins. "It felt really good until Sunday afternoon and I started looking at [film of] Cal."

Head coaches always feel a need for winning urgency but sometimes there is a simulation of that urgency and sometimes it is the real deal. For Doba, who has been the subject of criticism and speculation in the past month, there was no simulating the urgency nor the need to win this game. But the Cougars and Bruins kept the contest a tight-knit affair until midway through the fourth quarter when sophomore running back Dwight Tardy, who had been having a career game up to that point, finally put it out of reach with a 51-yard touchdown run to give him a career-high 214 yards for the game - good for ninth on the Wazzu career rushing Top 10 list for a single game.

"He had a great game and that did as much for his confidence as it did for anybody," says Doba.

Doba feels that along with the in-game injuries UCLA suffered to their top receiver, Brandon Breazell and their top running back, Kahlil Bell, the Bruins' big home win over California in the previous week, also aided the Cougars' cause.

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