The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Dickert-era in Doubt? Don’t be afraid dear Die Hard Cougs

Don’t be frightened by the rumors, the Cougs we know and love will return
WSU head coach Jake Dickert motivates his team ahead of NCAA football game against Oregon, Oct. 21, in Eugene, Oregon.

If you surveyed a swath of college football fans whose school sports a three-game or more losing streak, of which include Arizona State, Michigan State (more on them later) and of course WSU, you might find Coug fans to be among the most pleased with their head coach.

No one is happy that the Cougs, once 4-0, have lost three straight Pac-12 Conference games to fall to 4-3, especially not head coach Jake Dickert.

“There are no consolation prizes, we came in here to get the win. It didn’t happen, but I love the fight of our team. I love the fourth-quarter finish of our team, I love the belief that we felt like we had for 60 minutes, we just didn’t match their physicality at times and didn’t make some plays when we had some opportunities,” Dickert said.

But if you told a Coug fan in September that WSU would be 4-3 after facing a schedule that includes three midseason top 25 teams, they would probably be pretty pleased.

The context that WSU sported the second-best passing offense in the country after four weeks and had beaten two at the time top 25 teams at home (of which Oregon State remains ranked) only to be shut down by UCLA and completely embarrassed on Homecoming by unranked Arizona would be and is disheartening.

That is why fans cynically expected another blowout loss when the Cougs marched into Autzen Stadium to square off with the then-No. 9 Oregon Ducks.

While the Cougs still lost to Oregon, they lost by 14 points; which is a deficit much smaller than many expected. The offense generated nearly 500 yards as quarterback Cam Ward’s 438 yards passing jettisoned him into WSU’s top 10 for several passing records.

It was also a record-breaking day for team captain and wide receiver Lincoln Victor who caught a WSU-record 16 passes for 161 yards. Victor’s 16 catches also set the Autzen Stadium record and are the most passes caught by anyone in college football this season.

The rhetoric online, especially in the Facebook group Die Hard Cougs which has over 33,000 members including current students, alumni, faculty, staff, family and fans has gotten significantly more positive this week than it was last week when the Cougs lost 44-6 to Arizona.

Over the past three weeks, the rumor that Dickert was in the running for the head coach job at Michigan State rightfully frightened Coug fans as WSU already faces enumerable loss with the destruction of the traditional Pac-12.

Dickert dismissed these rumors following the bye week at the beginning of the month.

“You’re gonna get the same answer from me every time. These are the things that come with team success. We wouldn’t be talking about these things if we were 2-2, we wouldn’t be talking about these things if we were 0-4,” Dickert said. “I love my job. I love being here. We’re focused on right here, right now, not on the past, not on the future.”

While concerns for Dickert’s premature departure dampened when WSU began to lose, the idea of a head coach catching their big break in Pullman before moving somewhere else is too familiar.

With fans searching for answers as to how the Cougs went from beating the Beavs to getting blown out by the Wildcats, users promulgated the rumor that Dickert told the team during the bye week of his plans to leave WSU and that the whole team and coaching staff collectively gave up.

This is of course false. Even if Dickert was on his way out, it would be in his best interest to win. Besides, each player recognizes the gravity of this season as the Cougar’s final chance to do something in the traditional Pac-12 Conference and the benefits of playing well and winning. No one has given up, even slightly.

The only scary part about that rumor is the fact that someone decided to share it.

Dickert has done a lot right to lead this program. As the lone Pac-12 program without a single four or five-star player on their roster, the mantra of, “We all we got, we all we need” holds a sizzling significance.

It’s something Dickert has proven to capitalize on. The addition of transfer Mountain West wide receivers Kyle Williams, Josh Kelly and Isaiah Hamilton has shaped the Cougar passing attack into a formidable opponent and Ward seems to be back on the right track as the offensive line does what it can.

The team is not perfect. But when is it ever perfect? It is hard to win in the Pac-12, even against bottom feeder teams like Arizona State, Stanford and Colorado, which WSU faces over the next four weeks.

If WSU wants to have the kind of successful bowl-bound season they are capable of having, they will need to take care of business against those teams before squaring off with the Washington Huskies at the end of November.

Remember, this is the coach who took over a program left stunned after their previous head coach was fired for refusing to get vaccinated. Dickert steadied the ship in 2021 to lead the Cougs to a bowl game and put together a respectable seven-win 2022 campaign.

4-3 is not where Coug fans expected to be after a 4-0 start. It is where Wazzu is now, but certainly not the end of the story.

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About the Contributors
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2023 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.