Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wulff Brings What We Need


So the story is out there and reality is setting in. Paul Wulff is the new head coach. There are a lot of pros, and some cons as well, and that's to be expected for a guy without a successful D-1 resume. But is that overrated? Does it matter if a guy is coming to Pullman without a long track record of winning on the highest level of competition?

First of all, on the field:
  • Wulff comes from one of the biggest have-nots in the west. Not a swipe at Cheney, but the stadium holds 8 K and the budget is the smallest in the Big Sky.
  • Wulff has a 53-40 record as a head coach. Is that some sort of world-beater? No. He's not exactly like Jim Tressel, who won championships at Youngstown State before he went to Ohio State. But you have to take the record in context. If you factor in the games against BCS competition, where they had no choice but to take the paycheck game in order to even hope to be competitive in recruiting, they were drilled. But the record on equal footing is more like 53-30. He's taken his team to the playoffs in 3 of the last 4 years, and had only one losing season where they basically cleared the bench and went young in every sense. All that youth used in 2006 paid off in spades in 2007 as they fought to the end vs. App State (the same App State that BEAT MICHIGAN).
  • He's got an excellent offensive staff, and one that has produced fantastic results. You don't lead the nation twice in total offense, and finish second in two other years, over the last eight seasons if you don't know what you are doing. His sophomore QB just threw for over 3500 yards and 34 TD's in a system that is designed to play fast, spread the field and really be unpredictable.
  • As a former center, not only is he known as a cerebral guy, but he also knows how to coach up the o-lineman. Since Wulff has been associated with EWU, he's had 17 offensive lineman finish first-team All-Big-Sky, had 14 on the second-team, and 16 getting honorable mention. As several people have pointed out, the offensive line can make or break a team, and you can have very little doubt that the line is going to be good as things roll forward in Pullman.
  • As Hooty McBoob pointed out, Wulff has spent nearly a decade building relationships with high school coaches throughout the northwest and in Washington. He knows them all, and given a recruiting budget of basically nothing, he's turned over rocks and shaken bushes and found players that can compete.
  • One more thing in regards to recruiting - Wulff may not have a lot on his roster in terms of California players. But that's not exactly by design. Again, you have to keep in mind the situation from where he's coming from. The recruiting budget at EWU is very, very limited. In other words, they can't exactly afford to go on all these visits over long distances. Wulff and his staff have put in a ton of windshield time throughout the state of WA, and they have absolutely made the most of the situation they are in. But you can't immediately dismiss the idea that Wulff can't recruit in California. After all, he's from there and played high school football there. If anyone can stand in a living room in that state and tell kids and families first-hand what it's like to move from CA to Pullman and be a successful football player, it's Paul Wulff.
  • If you don't think he's ready for this, then you aren't seeing the bigger picture. And based on his qualifications, you never would have hired Dennis Erickson or Mike Price either. Both were .500 coaches from lower-level programs. And guess what? With that logic, UW never would have hired Don James! Don James had a .568 winning percentage as a relative unknown at Kent State before he showed up in Seattle. Just imagine the outrage today if WSU had hired Dennis Erickson, coming off a 6-6 record at Wyoming. Imagine the rioting today if we hired Mike Price, who was just 46-44 at WEBER FRICKIN' STATE! Yet that worked out OK, didn't it??

How about off the field? As the Go-2-Guy writes today, Wulff is a tough SOB. How tough? Try having an appendix out on Monday, then plays in the Apple Cup on Saturday. Try having your mother disappear when you are 12 years old with no concrete explanation or evidence as to what happened, all the while suspecting that your father did it. Try having the woman you love, your first wife, fade away to brain cancer and having her pass away in your arms.

Adversity can make or break a person and has a huge say in who you are today. Wulff has dealt with tougher times than any of us can ever hope to deal with in our lifetimes, and he's had it all happen at a relatively young age. Yet instead of laying down and wallowing in the hand that he's been dealt, he's instead scraped himself off the floor and said the hell with it. All that's happened to him has made him the man that he's become. He's embraced the challenges and has become one heck of a success story in the making.

And for all that, I'm glad that WSU is going to be another chapter in the Paul Wulff story.

Some other news-n-notes:

I heard Dennis Patchin on KJR last night with Ian Furness. Patchin claims that Wulff will bring with him offensive coordinator and QB coach Todd Sturdy, as well as former Coug and defensive coordinator Jody Sears. Patchin said that it's not exactly known what their roles will be at WSU, but that will be decided shortly.

Everyone wants to know, what about Rosenbach? Patchin made it sound like that is very much up in the air. Rosenbach is actually a candidate to take the EWU job, at least according to Patchin, so he might be moving on. But if Wulff is taking Sturdy with him to Pullman, well, there might not be a spot for Rosey on the staff.

One other key from Patchin's interview last night - Wulff was told that he DOES NOT HAVE TO RETAIN ANY OF THE EXISTING ASSISTANTS ON STAFF. For those of you thinking Wulff was hired on the cheap and would be forced to keep some of the staff together, well, you are wrong. Wulff was told during the interview process that he will have full authority on which assistants he can retain, period. Patchin also noted that it was possible however that Wulff, Rosey and Steve Broussard were part of the greatest upset in school history on that fabled 1988 team, and they all could potentially be on the coaching staff going forward.

18 comments:

AtlantaCoug said...

Notice that Wulff is a dead ringer for Former Georgia D Coordinator Brian VanGorder.

I have a theory..His mother is not dead but simply relocated to Georgia and had more children. You heard it here first.

http://images.dawgsports.com/images/admin/VanGorder_closeup_with_Georgia_cap.jpg

atlantacoug said...

http://images.dawgsports.com/images/admin/VanGorder
_closeup_with_Georgia_cap.jpg

Sorry here is rest of link

Glenn_STL said...

Gentlemen,

As someone who has followed this story, I have been pleasantly surprised and impressed by the quality of your work. It is without question the best non-mainstream media site for analysis, humor and entertainment for all things WAZZU football. Your story today about the new coach is excellent and raises some valid points as to why Jim Sterk and President Floyd have made the right decision.

But I have to say that I am extremely disappointed by the choice you made last night. The story you decided to run in response to the Wulff breaking news was appalingly immature and offensive in every sense of the word. You decided to throw any sense of credibility out the window and firmly into the dumpster with a story like that, and I was embarrassed to be a reader of your site last night. You gave critics of bloggers just another reason to despise what it is you do.

So today I inform you that I am done with WSU football blog. And I am quite sure I'm not alone.

current wsu student said...

I agree with the comment of the guy above. That was just weird and odd. Keep Sedihawk's analyis--its brilliant. Ditch the weird writer who thinks he is Prince. He is terrible.

PoulsboCoug said...

Patchin may not be the best source in relation to Sears. He is not very good as a d-coordinator and might be over his head in d-1. I think he's right on Sturdy. That guy is respected widely as an offensive guru. He was a head coach at St. Ambrose and won a bunch of games there with lots of offense. The Eags talent level isn't very good, but they've done amazing things. Sturdy is new to Wulff but they've known each other for years and PW admitted to using his ideas from the past. I think we are going to be thrilled with this hire.

PoulsboCoug said...

And glenn_stl, lighten up. The very point you made is that this is non-mainstream media, so take it as that. I do not come here expecting ESPN or SI.com style stories. If I want that I'll go there.

Glenn_STL said...

Poulsbo,

The point wasn't that I expect ESPN or SI. The point is I come here for strong analysis with humor and a lets-not-take-ourselves-too-seriously-approach. It is a good escape from mainstream. But they missed badly last night in an embarrassing fashion. It was neither informative nor funny on a night when they probably had a lot of people reading their work. And that is disappointing.

Yet here I am claiming I am done with your site. This time I mean it.

Nuss said...

You're right on, Sedihawk -- pretty much all the reasons I've cited to my friends why the prospect of Wulff has grown on me over the past couple of weeks, and why I think this is not just a solid hire, but actually a very good one.

WSU HOOPS

Hooty McBoob said...

glenn_stl, we hardly new ye. If Hawk posts more pics of Tebow's girlfriend, will you come back? (Wow!) All that gushing about what a swell guy he is; how you'd be proud to have a son like him; praising God...and Timmy's pulling in a piece of ass that would make Gene Simmons blush.

What you have to know about Sigma is that he's an eccentric doctorate student - and not the important kind of doctor - he's just booksmart. His "well-placed" source in the athletic department is a janitor in Bohler Gym with whom he used to huff toilet bowl cleaner in 1989. Give him a break. He may be a retard; but he's OUR retard and we love him.

Sedihawk said...

I'll let Brinkhater speak for himself. But he obviously doesn't take HIMSELF too seriously, so neither should you or anyone else! Nobody hits a home run every night, and Brinkhater will be the first to tell you so. I guess in hindsight it wasn't all that funny, but oh well. It is what it is. We clearly don't take ourselves too seriously around here, so you shouldn't either. Sorry to lose your readership.

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

To quote Barry Gibb:

"How can a loser ever win?"

I think that, beyond losing your readership, that the saddest part of this story is that I still die laughing at that post.

And so you know, we really did have hope that we could help break the story..so, the fact that we we find out two hours after the story broke was funny to us...

Or to me.

shiny new alum said...

Comparison to Prince on the blog, that's intense. How are you going to compare someone on a Coug blog to the Purple One? We can talk, type, and bitch all we want but we should hold judgement on Wulff until recruting is over and football is being played. The info on Erickson and Price's pre-Coug record was insightful. Right now we should all bask in the glory that is WSU Basketball.

Diek said...

I just want to say thanks to Sedihawk for all of the super analysis over the past couple of weeks. Between you and Vince I was able to be the "expert" in my circle of friends and let everyone know who was the top candidates. It's been fun but I'm glad the search is over.

I don't know if Wulff is the best man for the job but I do know he needs our support and encouragement. And, even more trying than that, he needs our patience. We can't expect him to go out next year and go 9-3. Hopefully the Cougs have a banner year and that translates into awesome recruiting and major faith in this guy. But if it doesn't, we owe it to him to give him time.

For instance, Notre Dame never gave Willingham any time. He got canned. UW has given him time. He sucks. I'm just glad the puppies kept him around. Maybe we have a repeat Apple Cup victory in the cards... (Don't get me wrong the Cougs WON the Cup this year much more than TyWill lost it!!!)

I've been reading this blog for months via RSS but this is my first comment. I hope I can add a lot more in the future. You guys do great work.

Anyone going to the 4:00 social in Pullman that can send in a picture?

Also, I hope that Patchin is right about Wulff bringing Sturdy with him. I am not a Timm fan--I blame the Alex Brink catastrophe largely on him. Sturdy sounds like a good guy and his last name just typifies what the Cougs need in a QB.

Finally, to echo what someone else said, God i hope Wulff recruits kickers. I'm tempted to send my little sister to try out.

Sedihawk said...

Breaking news - 5 assistants coming with Wulff, including Sturdy and Sears.

http://spokesmanreview.com/breaking/story.asp?ID=12728

And, rest assured, Wulff has pride in special teams. Ian on KJR talked about it last night with Patchin, that special teams are extremely important to Wulff!

Coug81 said...

If you're really a Coug, that stuff from Mr. Symbol (the blogger formerly known as Brinkhater) last night really shouldn't upset you. Those guys in the picture could have been any of us in the late 70s/early 80s. I am super excited about Wulff, for crying out loud, he wants to be in Pullman! In Go 2 Guy's column this morning Jim Moore wrote that Gesser is angling to get a position on the new staff. What are the chances of that?

Glenn_STL said...

I believe they are very good here and I expected better from them after reading their site all year. I was disappointed they chose that moment to be so asinine. It shows terrible judgement.

I was really embarrassed because I had been talking you up and sending e-mails to my family and friends about what a good job you do...and then last night happened.

Nice picture Sigma or whatever you go by today. That explains a lot.

I am a Coug, ableit older than many of you. Certainly older than brinkhater's 18-year old cherub face.

Fair enough. A spade is a spade. I am taking this too personally.
I wish you all good luck. Even you Sigma. I hope to see you at a game next fall. Maybe you guys should hand out fliers or set up a table or something so people can meet and greet. You have a lot of people who read you daily even if they do not leave a comment. Or maybe it is in your best interest to remain anonymous. I never sent before today but I have been reading you since last year.

Sedihawk said...

Official release is now up:

http://wsucougars.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/121107aac.html

Lakes high school coach likes the hire. Maybe they'll send some talent Wulff's way? Once again, it must be said - you CAN'T UNDERSELL WULFF'S HIGH SCHOOL CONNECTIONS! That's one of the biggest failures when Paul Graham was here in hoops, in that the word was high school coaches hated the guy and refused to send their players to WSU. That will not be an issue now. There probably isn't a better coach around that will be able to hit the ground running in this year's recruiting class!

Glenn_STL - do whatever you feel you should do. We'll still be here.

Anonymous said...

Longball J:
Where art thou? I fellow PHS alumni heading home!
Ptowncoug