Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wulff Speaks on State of the Program

Good morning Cougs. Hope you are all enjoying the cooling off period we are experiencing in the beautiful pacific northwest. It's only creeping into the 70's now, quite a difference from last week's triple-digit scorchers.

Lost in all the previews and such this time of year, none other than Paul Wulff hopped on KJR with Mitch Levy for an interview on Tuesday. If you haven't heard it yet, check it out here.

It is a good listen if you have the seven or so minutes to give it a go. Wulff is candid, speaking on a variety of things. And say what we will about KJR from time to time (and we say a lot), after all they are the UW flagship station. But Mitch Levy is one of the best in the biz in terms of handling player and coach interviews. He isn't shy about asking some sticky subjects, and always does what he can to kind of peel back the layers and get some of these guys to open up a bit more than the norm.

Wulff touches on the usual things we've heard before - the players weren't physically ready for PAC-10 play, changing the culture, surprised at the lack of nutrition and eating right, etc. Things we've been hearing for the last year-plus.

But he also hits on a few other things that I haven't heard from him, such as some deeper self-evaluation for himself and the staff. He said things like "As a coaching staff, maybe we went too fast last year and didn't take into account what our players were capable of handling mentally and physically. Looking back, maybe we should have slowed down on some things." He also spoke on the state of the program when he arrived, saying there "were things spiraling out of control and the program was in a tailspin when we arrived. There were situations happening on the inside that people didn't hear about but the changes we made were necessary".

He also said he's been doing a lot of reading about certain things this year, things like change. He's found that it's easy to just make change, but the reality is that people really won't fully change for maybe a couple of years. This isn't the NFL where you can go out and sign free agents to fill holes. Instead you have to go out, recruit players and build them into what you want them to become. And that takes time. Not only is it about recruiting the players that fit what you want to do, but you ALSO have to get the current crop of players to embrace the changes. Again, it all takes time.

He also lists some quickie things to be excited about (you mean there's something to be excited about??), including:

Defense - We will be mentally stronger and clearly a more physical football team on defense. When asked about Andy Mattingly, Wulff says could be an NFL player, depending on his season and how he fits with some teams on the next level, but he needs to have a great year.

Personally I'm a big fan of Mattingly. The glimpses he showed in '07 are that of an impact, game-changing linebacker who can be a real headache for opposing teams to deal with. Now that he's back at his natural position, and it's his senior year, I feel like he's on the cusp of going out with a bang.

He also spoke about Chima Nwachukwu and Brandon Jones in the secondary, and says Jones will open a lot of eyes this year.

Offense - o-line should be much improved, and there is solid depth there and at running game. He's also excited about the QB and passing game, with a lot of youth at WR but some game experience now. Special teams will be improved as there is more depth this year, plus both kicker and punter are returning. EVERY AREA will be much improved.

We've touched on this in the past as well, but we're talking about young kids. Sure, they are resilient and often times just need some strong leadership to steer them in the right direction. But I don't think we, on the outside looking in, can fully know what last season must have been like with the vast differences between the two coaching staffs. That shock to the system was probably a big part of why they hit rock-bottom last year. But they are going in the right direction.

Looking around, Buster Sports has a list of the Top-10 PAC-10 QB's for '09. Guess which team didn't have a player listed??

UW blogger John Berkowitz takes a quick look at WSU, and basically declares UW will kick our asses in November, and doesn't see WSU winning a single game. I hesitated to even link to it, but you may want to check it out. Of course, his crystal ball has got his own UW in bowl contention in '09. The same UW team that failed to win a game last year and was actually worse that WSU. So if you do click over, just know that going in.

ESPN dropped their list of the top 150 recruits in the country. No, no WSU commits on the list. In fact, very few PAC-10 teams actually have players in the top 150, with just NINE commitments right now. But it's still just August, and a lot of undecideds are on the list.

That's all for now. Enjoy your Thursday, and GO COUGS!


Anonymous said...

Interesting interview but I agree that Wulff was candid. He has been candid since he took the job and said things we Coug's did not want to hear but they were the truth. It is obvious now when you hear stories about Romeo Pellum and those types. I really want to trust in this staff and I think we are on our way but it will still be tough.

That UW blog sucks. It has to be the worst blog on SB Nation. Does he write that crap with his husky cheerleader outfit on? How does he type with purple and gold pompoms? Just atrocious.

Lucas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
'03CouveCoug said...

I really think that Wulff’s honesty is the reason why he has so many WSU fans already calling for his head. Think about it…when is the last time we had a coach that was so candid? Probably Jim Walden, right? Erickson told people what they wanted to hear, Price was a little more straightforward than Dennis the menace, but would always spin it with a joke and a smile. And Doba…well, we all remember the “Golly, gee, aw shucks, we’re just lucky to be here,” attitude because it’s all too fresh.

Wulff doesn’t sugar-coat a thing and that’s why so many Coug players and fans weren’t (aren’t?) ready to accept his style. It’s gotta be pretty tough on a player that is used to being coddled and not made to do things that he doesn’t want to do to suddenly be told, “Do things my way, or the door is over there.” Similarly, for fans that were used to hearing, “he’s a good kid, he just needs to work a little harder on the field (or classroom, or weight room, or…),” to suddenly hearing, “These guys haven’t put in the work necessary to compete at this level.” Quite a shock, indeed.

Personally, I am so happy that we’ve got a leader that doesn’t beat around the bush. I find it very refreshing to hear Wulff be critical of our team (including his staff and himself) because it will only make us better. If we give Wulff enough time, his way of doing things will certainly get us back to being competitive in the Pac-10 consistently. We MUST have an attitude of out-working the competition, because it’s unlikely that we’ll ever out-talent many teams on a regular basis.

I’m ready to see the changes come to fruition…bring on the Trees!

Lucas said...

Had to read the Dawg Pound Blog (really, is Snoop, Kurupt, and Nate gonna rap for him too?) and here are my thoughts on it.

~The Marshall Lobbestael comments about having a crazy off season isn't much of an option. LOL.

~When previewing the RBs, could somebody inform me who Ivory Randle is? Quality, quality...

~Louis Bland is the star of our defense? Granted, I've been singing his praises since last year, I think any blogger worth their salt in the northwest is aware of Hicks, Mattingly, Jones, & Chima.

~The only way we get better is if we clean our roster of criminals. Oh, yeah because we're so thug life out on the Palouse. At least we aren't sodomizing women on Greek Row, Robbing drug dealers at gun point, beating our pregnant girlfriends, etc....

Lucas said...

Oh, and these "gold" endzones mean the Huskies are going to be good.

The Coug-A-Sutra said...

It is so difficult to find peace in one's soul when confronted with IDIOTS like UW and Oregon fans.

And so, Mr. Berkohomersimpsonwitz, I have a NICE Sutra palindrome for you:


Wanna know what that represents in the football cosmos?

Your final standing in the conference over the last four years (and by the way, one of the "9's" was a tie for last where you lost the tie breaker).

So please, spare the universe of your predictions for us or anyone else in the Pac-10 until you find a way to finish somewhere near respectability.

Simply put: It aint 1991 Defeateds, YOU ARE THE WORST FOOTBALL PROGRAM IN THE PAC-10.


kaddy said...

I'm with CouveCoug - I love Wulff's style.

You know who he reminds me of? Anyone remember the statement of "Buy in or leave?" Jason Gesser.

If you're playing football in the Pac-10, and going to school for free, you need to grow up and accept the truth, no matter how much it may sting.

Wulff is the man to turn this around, no doubt. When he does, I hope we reward him financially, and he stays for many years.

Sean Hawkins said...

I am not sure what to make of Berkowitz's post, I mean he is all over the place with it. But you go back and read his other posts about the teams on UW's schedule and it is all pretty similar.

I know John a little bit but we haven't communicated in a while. I do know he really hates WSU after their stadium bill failed. He was pretty sure it was WSU's fault they didn't get $150 million in taxpayer money in the worst economy since the depression. If you get a chance, ask Nuss about all him. It wasn't pretty.

Couve, great points. Wulff's no-bullshit approach is naturally going to be tough for those who don't want to "play ball". And I like that Wulff admits to some faults, and also says he has been reading a lot about change. That doesn't sound like a guy who sits there and says that he is perfect and everyone else is the problem. He sounds like a guy who has a strong plan in place, but now understands that it is a tough task, and that he has made some errors along the way. I really hope that in a couple of years, maybe even next year, he achieves what he set out to do.

And Lucas, outstanding takes my man! You haven't heard of Ivory Randle? I think he's the Bastard son from Ivory Clark and former NFL defensive tackle John Randle? He is right in the mix for carries this year, and has Ivory's height and Randle's girth, a 6-7, 300 pound NIGHTMARE! Wait until Stanford gets aload of him!

'03CouveCoug said...

For the record, I got into a written sparring match with Mr. Berkowitz on CougCenter following the whole Apple Cup @ Quest debacle. It was like trying to have a debate with a 4th grader. He, of course, was still extremely upset about the small group of WSU backers that “squashed” the UW’s efforts at obtaining financing from the State for the renovations to Husky Stadium (laughable). It showed in his childish retorts when he was taken to task on his views by other visitors to the site and me.

He did the typical Ewe Dub thing when it became obvious that he wasn’t going to sway any Cougs’ opinions by resorting to name calling and insulting those that were educated at Washington State University. As a result, I’d take any analysis that he puts together for what it’s worth, and that’s nothing. He is obviously your typical myopic, egotistical and childish mutt fan that clearly can’t be objective in any way, shape or form when it comes to his beloved Huskies and their rivals. Which is very much UN-like the writers at this site and CougCenter.

I’d encourage everyone here to avoid his blog. The site hits will only further inflate his massive ego.

Brian C. Setzler said...

I went to the coachsark page about the gold endzones and those Fuskies sure are a riot.

Here are a couple quotes that made me LMAO:

"We are one of the most storied programs in college football, on the verge of a new glorious era, and the best we can do in having someone repaint the endzones..."

"Real Gold?! Sweet! GO DAWGS!!"

"This is outstanding stuff. Get back to that golden promise land!"

That is some funny stuff.

Anonymous said...

haha that coach sark link is hilarious!

and a correction: there are actually TWO teams with no QB's in the top 10 on that buster sports list, the cougs and UCLA.... if that makes anyone feel better....

jackitoff69 said...

the cougars still suck. you can delete my comments all you want but i'm going to keep postin it because you guys are such sore losers that someone can't even post a simple little truth about your football team and university in general as well. you guys won't win a game this year. not one. you guys really do suck.and always will

Sean Hawkins said...

Jackoff, rule number one - never feed the troll (you). You are wasting your time here.

WSU91 said...

Amen, Sean!

Lucas said...

Ah a Son of Same (Berkowitz) disciple. Maybe we should put up some goal posts, they say that is the best way to keep Huskies out of your yard.