Monday, December 03, 2007

Wulff Wants In; Ty-tanic Taking on Too Much Water?

Now that EWU's season is in the books, and hats off to one hell of an effort against App State, Paul Wulff can finally comment on WSU. And guess what?? He wants the job! Wow. Never saw that coming.

Seriously, though, Wulff does want the job and said so yesterday. And as a Cougar fan and someone that's spent money on this program, I'm starting to see some more and more positives in this. Here's why:

1) He's been a winner at a not-so-easy situation at EWU, now 53-40. Sure they haven't beaten any BCS teams or anything like that, but they've done well. And it's harder than one might think in the Big Sky, yet he's had only one losing season in his eight years as the head guy.

2) He coaches a dynamic offense. From everything I've read and heard about him, it's not a true one-back like Levy runs, yet it's not the spread/read option that is all the rage you see these days either. He's supposedly flexible and knows how to play to his player strengths on offense. And he can coach 'em up too. His sophomore QB had an outstanding year this year. Overall, he's had over 200 players win some sort of honors at EWU, and that's no fluke.

3) He can turn things around quickly. Last year they won 3 games, his only losing year at EWU. This year they lose by 3 on the road at App St in the playoffs. Huge turnaround with a lot of youth in key spots.

4) Obvious WSU roots, but it goes deeper than that. He can explain to a recruit the idea of what it will be like, truly, to be a player at WSU. And even he said in the article today that he can be very honest with recruits and tell them like it is.

5) Finally, age. He's got all this experience, as a BCS player and a head guy running his own show - in eastern WA no less - and he's STILL ONLY 40! Let's be honest here, energy and stamina are important in today's climate of winning at a BCS program. And at WSU it can require even more than we can imagine. Does anyone think Wulff would put his feet up on the desk and daydream about an upcoming vacation? Is he a guy who is in the twilight and thinking alot about retirement? I doubt it.

Bottom line here - ok, he's not a "splashy" hire. He's not been a big winner at a BCS program. So what? Do you know what Dennis Erickson's record was when he was hired from Wyoming? 6-6. That's right, Erickson was a .500 coach in his only season at a D-1 school when he was hired in 1987. Price, the guy some advocate as the GUY in all this, is a .500 coach with major peaks and valleys, and was a .500 coach from Weber State when he showed up in Pullman. Is it a coincidence that Price won 8 games his first two years at UTEP, and has now turned in 2 losing seasons the last two years? It's Price. It's what he does. Some excellent highs, poop-island lows.

When you look at the big picture, Wulff is similar to these guys, but actually better, with more experience and success at the same age when they were first hired! I'm coming around on Wulff.

Meanwhile, Sterk is in NY today for an awards dinner. Any chance that Turner Gill will swing by and say hello? Gill was just passed up for Nebraska and has been rumored by ESPN as a guy high on WSU's wish list. And he's been coaching upstate at Buffalo. It wouldn't be a stretch if they took a meeting, would it?

Also mentioned is DeWayne Walker, UCLA's DC. Walker has an unbelievable reputation as a recruiter and a guy who relates extremely well to LA's kids. He also turned a soft UCLA defense into a pretty good unit over the last year or so. His agent says he's been contacted by WSU, and as soon as Dorrell is canned, he'll be available. MAYBE. Actually there are rumors Walker could take over at UCLA, so, we'll see.

All that said? Cougfan has a good article today that's free(!), that talks about WSU needing to set their sights higher. I think they are a little underwhelmed by the's list of 7 candidates. Outside of Wulff, I couldn't agree more by whatever sources Vince has at the Spokesman. That list was pretty underwhelming. It's sort of like what an old radio show host used to preach, time and again: "When you think small time, when you talk small time, and you act small time, you WILL BE SMALL TIME!" So why not shoot high and see what happens??

Finally, the Ty-Tanic at UW might have taken on just a little too much water after their latest iceberg collision of a season. Rumors of a press conference tomorrow to oust him are making the rounds. We'll see. Hopefully we don't have to compete for a head coach with those guys. There's already a lot of jobs available, and while they are down, we really don't need them in the mix as well do we? I know we won't attract the same kinds of candidates, I mean WSU and UW are oil and water, but still, I'd rather not have them with an open spot. So, from WSU Football Blog, we ask PLEASE keep TY!


Diek said...

I just want to say you're doing an amazing job keeping everyone up to date on the search.

Of all the current candidates, Price strikes me as the best fit for the job. He is the only one with national exposure that would also be a household name for recruits. They know who Mike Price is. They don't have a clue who this Paul Wulff character is.

I'd much rather see Price back than Wulff, but the ideal solution is a big name coach who can start over completely fresh. Credentials aside, a clean slate would mean a lot to our fan base, myself included.

LOFA51 said...

It is not a clear-cut decision. We have to be faithful in Sterk and the quality of people like Moos involved. You never know what kind of connections are being made. And I think people are reading way too much into the Spokesman list. After all, it's already being reported that names not on that list have been contacted for interviews.

Anonymous said...

I indicated last weekend that MP is out. 100% guarantee. If I'm incorrect, any post I put on the site will have the screen name of "Dumbest Fortuneteller".
Now on to defend MP. My angle here is to make people realize the MP is a very good coach. His lowest of the lows at WSU was when he built his 1997 run on Seniors. We hit bottom because at WSU we don't generally have D-I starter ready backups. We need to look at what he did after the 1997 to see how good he was. '98 and '99 were bad, but the recruits I brought in from the Rose Bowl year began panning out in 2000. Despite the losing record that year (we got screwed by the AZ hail mary if you recall in one of those losses) we were competitive and could have won a few of those OT losses if we had a decent kicker.
2001- Sun Bowl, 2002-Rose Bowl, 2003-Holiday Bowl (yes I know no MP) but MP had started something at Wazzu. I'm sorry he had to leave because I wanted a largue chunk of change, but that doesn't discount what he established at Wazzu.
Mark my words, the same thing is brewing down in UTEP. They are a 10 win team next year. They taken some lumps with a young team, but will be the better for it.
Done with my lecture.
Ptowncoug out

Woody said...

I am beginning to come around on Wulff myself; and here is why.

I have come to the conclusion that WSU is going to be looking at and hiring 3 types of candidates:

1. Coordinators/Young Head Coaches:
(Wulff, Hauck, the Cal Twins, etc.)
These are the guys looking for their shot at big time football.
The positives are this candidate will be energetic and motivated, b/c they want to prove they belong.
The negatives are they will be building a resume to move on! Let's not kid ourselves - We love Pullman and WSU, but most people can take the locale in moderation at best.

2. Current Coaches at Smaller Programs:
(T Gill, possibly Pat Hill, The Ball State guy, etc.)

Positives: see above
Negatives: see above

3. Retreads; Older Coaches who are looking for a 2nd, 3rd, maybe 4th shot around:
(Price, John L. Smith etc.)

Positives: They have been there done that and they may or may not know what they are doing.

Negatives: more baggage than Samsonite and AGE!

This leads me to this conclusion on why I like Wullf and Pat Hill of Fresno State, if he is even a Candidate.

They both encapsulize what WSU needs and should be looking for.

Pat Hill:
A lot of success at a smaller program, knows California (important), has coached the "it is us against the world" for years, he has a "bring it on" mentality (does everyone remember the We will play anyone anywhere anytime stuff)and I can see him staying for 10-12 years.
He is 55, this will be probaly be his last shot. So, I can see him staying until he is done. If we are at this same place in 10-12 years. I will take that.

Paul Wulff:
This is where I am coming around on him.
1. The success as a Head Coach
2. Knows the State HS players and Coaches(very important)
3. May be able to pick off some of the current staff for continuity. I personally would like to see Rosey, Leon Burtnett, Yarno, Bruiser stay on. I am not married to this opinion though. I believe a fresh start is need as well.
4. He is an Alum and I can see him staying for awhile or forever (Bowden and JoePa style). If the guy has stayed in Cheney for 15 years. He will stay at his Alma Mater for that long as well.

So, as Cougs we have to decide on if we want a Coach who will come in and obviously have success and then leave before the initial Contract is up, or Do we want a coach that will want to stay for awhile.
I am excited either way. I would just like to see success along with stability.

One Final Thought: Jim Tressel of Ohio State was very successful Div 2 coach before he took over the Ohio State, D 2 Youngstown State! He was not a household name outside of Ohio, before that! Ohio State went and got what they felt was the best coach for them. They probably could have hired anyone!



Sedihawk said...

Ptown, GREAT stuff. Please keep it coming. I don't know how you know that about MP, but, no matter how, it's great that you are willing to share. To be honest, we've heard from at least one reliable guy that Price isn't out, at least not yet.

I think you've misread me on my feelings about Price. I always believed Price to be a good coach. I think I've said that all along. And I know I threw in the .500 coach record thing today, and you are right, that has to be taken with a major grain of salt when you consider the circumstances of how he arrived at his record. It's not fair to blindly say "he's a .500 coach" - even if he is.

What's sad is that it was always a wild swing with Price's teams. Feast or famine basically. Yet the one time that he actually went to consecutive bowl games, he leaves. I just wish he could have stayed and we could have possibly become another VA Tech or even what Oregon State is now. Who knows how good recruiting could have turned out. Who knows where we would be today had he stayed. Maybe the stadium would already be done by now?

Let me just say this - If Price was hired, and he took the podium, and laid out a plan for the next 5 years or more, I'd be 100% ALL IN. If he brought Eric to be the OC and eventual head coach, and for example, kept Yarno, Levy, and brought in Gesser as an assistant? I'm IN. 100%. So we'll see. But please, don't misunderstand me about Price. I'll never fully get over his leaving and the way that was handled. But I'll always be appreciative for giving me the greatest WSU football moment of my life!

Sedihawk said...

Woody, good breakdown. The thing I doubt in regards to Hill is money. We would have to take a leap of faith that we could more than double what we just paid Doba, per year, to hire Hill. Hill makes at least 1.2 mil/per. And one could argue that Fresno is a better job, if not for our BCS classification. Bigger population, bigger stadium, bigger football budget. It's not NCAA paradise, but there's a reason he's making what he's making there. Would he be willing to take a pay cut to come to a BCS school? And if we stepped up and agreed to pay what he's getting now at Fresno, what about the rest of the coaching staff?

And, on Tressel, it is a good comp to Wulff. Except that he won championships at Youngstown, and EWU hasn't really been there. But it's about the only negative about Wulff that you can find.

Diek said...

I really like what Woody said and I agree with the exception of who to keep--

Ditch Timmmmmmm and ditch Broussard. I realize they have ties as players and really want to be there. But hell, I really want a college football coaching job at WSU too.

Our running game blew this past year, much more than in recent years, and Broussard has to take some of the blame for that.

And I would love to blame Timmmmmm for sticking with Brink but I know it goes way deeper than that.

No, the proper move is a brand new staff, brand new system.

I also don't like the Mike Price --> Eric Price idea. There is no proof that Eric will be any better of a coach than Aaron was a kicker. (ohh god don't remind me of those days)

Sedihawk said...

You might be right on the Eric Price idea, but I like him. He's got a good rep and he coached on the Jets staff. But you do have a point. And, the tone of Walden during his radio interview last week had me a little worried. Walden basically said flat-out that Price would take the job, in his opinion, to ultimately get it for Eric. Boy, Walden, not exactly Price's campaign manager is he??

Sedihawk said...

Chris Petersen has already said no to UCLA, before they even asked. Petersen did say one "unnamed" school asked to talk to him, but he said he wasn't interested and wouldn't elaborate. Might he have said no to WSU? Might he have his eye on a bigger prize (Oregon when Bellotti retires? UW when TW is fired?):

Woody said...

Like I said I am not married to the idea of keeping any of the current staff. I could live with a completely fresh start. It would not hurt my feelings at all though if "some" of them stayed.

sedihawk...the Pat Hill take is completely relevant and mostly inarguable points.
I had heard early on that he was interested, because of his relationship with Jim Sweeney who he took over for, and the connection with Moos.

However, maybe the guy is tired of being rich and living in Fresno (I know I would be by now). A part of him has to be tired of getting paid the money but not even getting a chance at a shiny brass ring.
We know based on his comments that he feels he can and wants to coach against the likes of Carrol, Bellotti, Tedford, etc.
So, maybe money would not be the huge stumbling block.

But he would not coach for free, so money would play a part and probably the ultimate reason why we probably will not see him at Ricos anytime soon.

On The Tressel Point: I am not comparing what he did at Youngstown vs. Wulff at EWU. But tressel was there for 15 years and built the program to consistently Playoff bound. Similar to EWU currently. But point taken on the lack of Champs.
My point was simply this:
I am sure Ohio State fans, "the media" etc. were not all gaga over a D2 coach getting the keys to a very good program (they were winning 9-10 games/yr at that time)
But OSU hired what they felt was the right coach for them.

WSU should not be hiring a coach based on what Pat Forde, KJR, the Seattle Times, ESPN etc. may or may not say about them. Who cares!
Whether they are a national name, a no name, known in Bristol CT, not even known in their own home; WSU should hire the right coach for them.

Can't wait for the big change that is coming.


LOFA51 said...

Learn from the past, don't live in the past. - John Wooden

Price is our past.

Being average means you're as close to the bottom as you are to the top. - John Wooden

Price = .500 = average.

Wulff > Price

Anonymous said...

Please stop pushing Wulff. Seems like a nice guy, but you only go to that level if you are Idaho. Wulff needs some D-IA (or BCS school or whatever) before I am truly sold on him.
I like the interest in Walker in LA. Just like Gregory. An asst. and a d-coordinator lends to the possibility of keeping much of the staff in place at least for the 2008 season so keeps the continuity.
No problem in doubting me, I just want you and the guy formerly known as Brinkhater be known as the one's who had the upperhand on all those reporters. Remember, ADs generally tend to open their pocketbooks to keep their coaches (e.g., see LSU) when they know their coach might leave. Just saying.
Ptowncoug- Down with Geoduck Rampage!

LOFA51 said...

Gotta love the Vince Grippi backpeddling job on the Spokesman:

"By the way, the names we wrote about last week were names that were at the top of the list at that time. Nothing says that some haven't already been eliminated and others added."

How do you narrow your list to 7 names, according to sources, and now you say "hey, maybe the list has evolved." Blind leading the blind here.

E said...

Ptown - I remember that absolute travesty of a call in the 1999 Arizona game! I was in section 2 and from that angle, everybody in the stands could see the ball take a one hopper before Bobby Wade snatched it. Yet, there's the dumb-ass Pac 10 official raising both arms. Aaaaaaah! Game over. AZ ran off the field faster than any opponent I've seen before or since. I distinctly remember being glad when D1-A introduced instant replay thinking back to that play.

This ought to be a fun topic ... anybody else remember some of the worst calls in Wazzu history? We seem to get more than our fair share.


La cucaracha!

longball said...

Ptown, you really have the Bring Back Price campaign in overdrive! I am suprised you are so dismissive of Wulf. The guy is a an experienced HEAD coach, with very similar challenges to those Wazzu faces and has had nothing but success. The lack of BCS experience is a pretty empty argument and proves how deep you have to dig to come up with a reason to not want this guy. He doesnt excite me as much as Turner Gill, or Pat Hill or some of the sexier ESPN names, but i think he is a much more exciting option than an MP retread. I love mike, and i'll be behind him 100% if he ends up being the guy, but i think it would be a real missed opportunity for the football prgram to just go with "what we know".

I guess going with Price would also leave me with the sinking feeling that he was the guy all along and this fancy, big name search committee and the search itself were all a big joke.

I love MP and i honestly think we should be playing our home games on Mike Price field (at Costco, or WaMu, or Boeing stadium for the $$$ baby) but you'll never convince me that an objective search would result in him being the best hire we could make for this job.

Dont sleep on the Goeduck Rampage!!!

longball said...

Was that Bobby Wade phantom catch right around the same time the Hawks lost to the Jets in the playoffs on Testeverde's phantom TD? I spent about 3 years in a padded room due to those calls.

but the prize for the ultimate screw job i have ever witnessed goes to a basketball game against UCLA and the O'Bannon brothers and Co. We were winning the game by one and with time running down Eddie Hill drained what would have been the icing bucket, but for Ed or Charles O'Bannon sticking their arm THROUGH the hoop to block it. In the ensuing scramble for the rebound the refs whistled Eddie Hill for an INTENTIONAL FOUL!!! UCLA made the winning foul shots and got the ball back for the last second or so and Beasly went nuts. I actually participated in garbage avalanche that rained down on the refs as they made their way to the tunnel. Worst. Call. Ever. I remember ESPN opening the highlights with "Wanna see a bad call?"

Aww, memories.

Anonymous said...

Mike Price is a TERRIBLE game day football coach. He managed to recruit 2 NFL #2 draft picks (Leaf and Bledsoe) and managed to lead that elite talent to 2 bowl games in their combined 6 years on campus. There should be no discussion of keeping Rosenbach, Levenseller or anyone from the current staff. Take note that there is NO ONE looking to hire these guys with all the openings around the country.

Also note that an "unnamed" WSU assitant told the Prosser Wideout on monday that he should sign with Washington and "kick our butt". Nice loyalty assholes. He committed to UW the next day