It started out simple.
Before training camp, Washington State outside linebackers coach Roy Manning decided that before practice every day he would shoot a quick video of himself talking about whatever happened to be on his mind and post it to Twitter. Those weeks leading up to the season are a grind, and he thought the videos would be a good way to break up the monotony and get him fired up for the day ahead.
After the Cougars beat Idaho on Sept. 17, their first victory of the season, he tried something new: a postgame video. It was short (45 seconds), and he was relatively calm, but the feedback was good. Fans liked it; recruits liked it. So, he thought, why not post one after every game?
That began an unlikely tradition that, over the course of Wazzu’s current seven-game winning streak, has turned the former NFL and Michigan linebacker into an online sensation.
“It’s out of control, man. It’s out of control. My Twitter feed just gets blown up after games,” Manning said. “There are so many messages or mentions on there. Like, ‘Can’t wait for this next video. I know it’s going to be good. I’m fired up.’ There’s starting to be some pressure. I’m like, ‘I gotta bring it.’”
Bring it he has.
Each week, as the Cougars have continued to win, Manning’s enthusiasm seemingly reaches new heights.
The videos all follow a common script. First, he gives a shout-out to the Air Raid offense: “Everybody eats in the Air Raid offense.” Second, another for the defense, or as he puts it, the “Speed D.” After that, it’s time to talk about the Special Forces, the moniker given to the Cougars' special-teams units, before he caps it with a call for potential recruits to “join the hunt.”
“It’s all fun to me. I just want to get my message getting out that, Wazzu, man, we’re out here,” Manning, 34, said. “You know what I mean? We’re working hard and starting to see some of the benefits of that. It’s really me just being true to myself and the passion that I have for what I do and these guys on the grind out here every day.”
Manning, who is in his second season on the WSU staff, coached under current Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke at Michigan in 2013 and 2014, but wasn’t retained after Jim Harbaugh was hired. Shortly after WSU coach Mike Leach hired Alex Grinch to be the program’s defensive coordinator in January 2015, Manning was also brought on board.
“The West Coast was totally uncharted territory,” said Manning, who is responsible for recruiting Los Angeles. “I haven’t really recruited out here or spent a lot of time here. But you got to expand yourself and not be afraid to grow. Coming out here has been one of best things that has ever happened for me.”
The next step video-wise, he said, is to get Leach to make an appearance.
“That’s what the people want,” Manning said. “I think I can get that done, but if I’m going to get the big kahuna in, I want it to be something special. Going to put some thought into that.”
In the meantime, here’s a collection of some of the best ones:
Washington State 51, Oregon 33
“We just got the win over the Ducks -- shocka, docka, quack, quack now.”
— Roy Manning (@CoachRoyM) October 2, 2016
Washington State 27, UCLA 21
“The bottom line is: Takeaways equal victory. It’s not just a slogan. It’s not just a motto. It’s a mindset and it’s a way of life.”
— Roy Manning (@CoachRoyM) October 16, 2016
Washington State 37, Arizona State 32
“About a month ago there were a lot of people who said the Cougs wouldn’t win one of the next four ...”
— Roy Manning (@CoachRoyM) October 23, 2016
Washington State 69, Arizona 7
“Dads, hope you enjoyed that game, OK? But this is what I want you to do now. I want you to relax. I want you to calm down, then I want to turn it back up, baby, and party like you’re 21.”
— Roy Manning (@CoachRoyM) November 6, 2016
All of Manning's videos can be found here. Just click the link and scroll down. He posts the occasional mid-week video, too, but the good stuff comes after the games.