Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Paul Wulff Radio Show Recap - Week Six

I will try and be brief, yet hit the key points. As usual, we'll jump right in:
  1. Practice report from Tuesday was an "excellent" practice. Everyone came ready to work hard and the coaches were all impressed by the effort and enthusiasm. It's tough right now, obviously, but they are doing everything they can to remain positive. Have to have the right mindset, and realize that in a brand new system, in just five games they have already started three different quarterbacks, five different offensive line combinations and five different groups of wide receivers/tight ends. For a season of change, it's been nothing but change across the board every single week, and it's really difficult to develop continuity/consistency that way.

  2. They are already down to just three QB's on the roster, so, next Monday, if you are on campus and can play the position? Head on down for TRYOUTS! Right now we simply need the body, period.

  3. Wulff talked about Marshall Ocho Rojo. He thought he did a very good job, considering 1) the quality of the opponent in Oregon, one of the quickest, most physical teams he'll see all season; 2) the youth of our offensive line and skill positions; 3) the fact that it was his first start, at home, for homecoming. Add it all up and he did just fine. Had three drives that went well, two for TD passes and one other one that he had Brandon Gibson wide open for a TD but missed him. Wulff also said that he has no doubt that Marshall's game is going to come fast, faster than they expected initially. He's classy, competitive, hates to make mistakes. He's an absolute film guy, all the way, and Wulff said right now he's watching more film than anyone on the roster, coaches included! He is calm, cool, collected, and handles him self extremely well. Wulff has no doubt he will develop into a fine player over the next four years (this is the closest I've heard Wulff "gush" about a player on the roster, so, I think you can read between the lines to understand that Lobbestael is going to be THE GUY for the forseeable future).

  4. Wulff mentioned in the open that there will be some new faces, again, in the lineup. Wulff said that Louis Bland will start at linebacker, as he has moved ahead of Ken Dunn. Wulff did gush a little about Bland, in how he was a two-time state champion wrestler, two-time class president, all-state, all-area, all-everything, player of the year, etc. And a really good looking young linebacker. Bland has the mental toughness and physical traits that they want to build the program with going forward, exactly the kind of kid they are looking for. Tyree Toomer will also play this week, although probably as a backup, but he will definitely play in the secondary. Wulff went out of his way to say how both Bland and Toomer are talented, but also showing some tremendous leadership and they've only been in the program for a few months. Very impressive kids.

  5. A caller asked about recruiting, and especially about the units they will make a priority going foward. Without hesitation Wulff mentioned (surprise!) the D-line. They need depth, now, and they will spend multiple scholarships on defensive linemen. A quick look at the current commits, and out of six players, three are defensive linemen. We can expect more to come most likely. The caller also asked about the traits they look for in offensive linemen. I thought this was interesting in that Wulff stated for tackles, they are looking for big kids, but they want the lean body types coming out of high school, almost the offensive tackle/tight end kids in that 6-4/6-5, 250-lb range. They want to be able to add the "right kind of weight" on their frames and that the weight they have at a young age is lean. They want their tackles to be quick enough and have good enough footwork to handle the speedy defensive ends that they will face every week. For the guards, they want the thicker kids, but still, ones with a good frame that they can pack on the muscle with proper weight training and nutrition (more on that later). For centers, they want a strong mental player, one that is capable of handling all the line calls on every play, things like that.

  6. Bob-Rob asked about the recruiting process right now. So far it's gone well, and they are working hard. Wulff stressed that "you have to recruit every single day, or else you will pay for it down the line." I thought this might have been a bit of a swipe at the prior staff? But Wulff stressed repeatedly how recruiting is 24/7 now, much different compared to back in the day. They watch tape of recruits, write letters, make phone calls, everything they can do on a day-to-day basis. They also are constantly contacting the high school coaches and also are part of some recruiting services where they always get updates on players they are looking for.

  7. Wulff also touched on the relationship with the state of WA coaches. It is a HUGE deal, and he said that the relationship is so good that many of the high school coaches WANT to help and send kids to Wulff! (I know that was touted when he was hired, but I think that will really pay off going forward.) They also have visits every weekend, and just had four kids in for last weekend.

  8. One very cool thing, and an example of the President's involvement with the program, is that President Floyd actually met with one of the recruits and his family last weekend! Wulff said you will rarely find that at any school in the country, where a President will actually meet with football recruits. It just doesn't happen very often.

  9. Wulff also touched on his first recruiting class, signed in February. Wulff said that they are all doing well, and the encouraging thing is that nobody has quit the team(!). But seriously, they are all working very hard and are getting a chance to play if they earn it. They all get up at 5:30 in the morning and hit the weight room too, each and every one of them, so the seeds are being planted right now with this group of what it takes to get better. But most of all he said many of them are driven, passionate and there are some very good leaders in this first group.

  10. Wulff was asked about UCLA. He said that they are somewhat similar in that they are down a couple of QB's as well, and they have a whole new staff. He also stressed that with new staffs come completely new systems, and you have players making many mistakes in the first month of a new regime. It happens everywhere. Wulff stressed that turnovers continue to kill them, and they are now minus-13 in turnover ratio. Once again, that must change immediately if they have hope to get a win. They cannot afford to keep doing it.

  11. Wulff talked about Kevin Craft at UCLA and how he's played. He said sure, he's got five INT's this year, but four of them were in the first half vs. Tennessee. He's had some rough spots but he's already doing a better job of taking care of the ball.

  12. A caller asked about the culture and what goes into making changes. Wulff said basically they are trying to set some new, basic standards for what the players will be accountable for. But they are trying to preach about how the right way to do things, things like the weight room and proper nutrition. Wulff said if they don't take it seriously, especially the nutrition, then they will never reach their peak physically. They must eat correctly, they must do the work in the weight room, or else. The caller asked if they were getting a lot of push-back from the veteran players? Wulff said well, yes and no. He said some of them are happy with the changes and are getting the structure they crave. But others aren't taking too well to it. But he said it's nobody's fault, really, and that it's just a new way of doing things. People in all walks of life are often resistant to change, that's no secret. But he said that mainly the older players it's harder on because they just don't know any different than what they've been taught all along. It's the old dog/new trick deal, where you are trying to get them to break the bad habits and develop some new ones. It takes time to get there.

  13. Wulff was asked about in-state recruiting and how important that is. He stressed, again, the relationships with the high school coaches and that they've got a very good advantage there when it comes to the staff he's assembled and their experience in recruiting the state. But Wulff said that's only half the battle, and they still need to entice the kids to stay at "home" as much as they can. They have to WANT to stay home. He also touched on the stadium renovations and how much that will help going forward. That stuff really does help sell recruits and contribute to the gameday experience. He also spoke about the Oregon schools and how much they have put into their facilities, and what do you know, look at how it's paying off? Both schools have pulled ahead of the WA schools in the northwest, and it's no coincidence that their facilities improved, so did their records. Wulff truly believes we will close the gap, and sooner rather than later. The biggest thing with recruiting is the opportunity to build layers upon layers of depth, but it simply takes time to get the kids in and then develop them.

  14. Finally, sort of a funny one but Wulff asked Levy today about his thoughts on this year's team. Levy has been at WSU for 17 years, and has seen some real highs and lows, obviously. But Levy did say that he honestly sees progress, and really believes they are about to show some big improvement. He can see it coming. HOWEVER, Wulff wouldn't reveal exactly where he rated the 2008 WSU Cougars compared to some of the other teams Levy has been a part of! Needless to say, it's not hard to figure out where he ranked them. :)
That's about it. I really hope/wish some of you could hear Wulff say these things in his own voice. You hear him speak from the heart, and he sounds as though he really believes they are going about things the right way, and that their system will ultimately prevail. It's hard NOT to feel better about things after you listen to him. He's not a RAH-RAH guy, but you can hear his energy and passion about the job in his voice. He's got to be the rock in all this, but I don't think anyone is taking these losses harder than he is. Don't forget about all the personal equity he has in seeing that this thing is a success, and I don't think anyone is going to work harder than Wulff to see that the job is done.

13 comments:

atlantacoug said...

thanks for the recap for those of us not in the area. Of course after reading all of this I get pumped up again and can't wait till Saturday. God, I am a sap.

Amoeba said...

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Michelle said...

Every week I fall more and more in love with you Sedi. Thanks for the great recap. I've met and heard coach Wulff speak in person and I agree that it's hard not to believe in him when you see how genuine he really is.

Go Cougs

kaddy said...

Atlanta - yes, you are a sap.

Sedihawk said...

Michelle, whoa, love? Pretty strong words there, but thanks. However I thought Grippi was your #1? Did we move up in this week's rankings? :)

Just trying to keep it real, you know? All of us try and do that, but you probably know that already from what you've seen around here.

Kaddy, ATL is a sap, but a good sap. And he's representing down in the miserable sprawl known as the ATL, so that's good for something?

Michelle said...

My rankings are sort of Doba-esque. I have been on sportslink longer than the football blog, therefore I have to be loyal...Right?

Seriously, I would not check one without the other and I appreciate that as a cougar fan, I have so many opportunites to read such great analysis of our teams and programs...and that there are smart people outside of cougfan posters (millcreekcoug, no offense).

Sorry for making you blush, love seemed like the best word to describe my appreciation for what you do :)

Babbling done now.

Sedihawk said...

It's all good Michelle. Just giving you a hard time on your love of sir Grippi. Sportslink is great, even if he refuses to acknowledge our presence outside an occasional comment. It's all in good fun. And you are one of our best commentors and always welcome to vent/express here.

Anonymous said...

Nice picture of Louis. Yummy. And it's ok I'm female ;)

ptowncoug said...

Good stuff as usual Sedi. Does it feel like the offseason to anyone? I feel like it is as we concentrate more on getting guys to improve and talking about recruiting. Yikes!
Let's pound the Bruins like we always do this weekend. Man I need this win, and now with Neweasel at the forefront, I would love all the better.

kaddy said...

Yes, he's a good sap, but he chose to live there, so you can't give him too much credit.

logan said...

I'm just always pumped for Cougar Football! well Cougar anything really. You never know what's going to happen...well maybe brinkhater is the exception to the rule, but i always hold out hope for the best.

a very sorry Portland Coug said...

I took a day to check myself and I am back to apologize to those offended at yesterday's rant. Bill, I am sorry for the cheap shot. What do they say, always, wait 24 hours before you e-mail someone as the feelings could be very different? I am sorry for acting like an idiot. I don't hate you or anyone here. I am so frustrated by the current state of affairs. I bought into wulff from the start and like fox Mulder I want to believe. As hawk said, we are all frustrated right now but as true great Cougs we have to stick together. And Michelle dropping the l-word, Uh oh do we have a crush on our hands? I dont know this hawk beyond the blog but he seems cool. How can ayone not like him for positives right now? He can sure as hell write about ncaa gridiron.

Sedihawk said...

1) Welcome back Portland! Time to move on. Nice visual with Agent Mulder and the I Want to Believe thing. Hmm, might have to steal that one??

2) Appreciate the "cool" reference, thanks for that. But drop the "crush" thing. She made it clear that she loves what we do around here, and that's all that needs to be said.

3) Ptown, wow, you aren't kidding! It does feel like January or February where all the talk is of recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Sadly our recent December activity has been limited to recruiting, and/or wait 'til next year!

4) Logan, Brinkhater's streak is nothing short of impressive. Not only has he correctly picked our last 17 WSU football games in a row, but he actually went something like 38-2 in hoops last year. He's a guy of many talents and easily the smartest blogger around.