Welcome to the first bye week radio show report for this year (hooray bye week). Note that there will be no radio show next week, as they truly have the week off. But they were at it on Wednesday night, so let's get to it.
Right away, as you may have heard by now, coach Wulff spilled the beans on something - WSU IS GETTING NEW UNIFORMS FOR NEXT SEASON! It's true. Wulff said that as part of Nike's "branding" of WSU I believe, they will be rolling out new uni's for 2011. So remember the hub-bub for the 2009 uni's? We get to do that all over again in 2011. I know you uniform junkies will get off on that, and that's cool. Bill Moos has alluded to this kind of thing during some of his own radio shows this year, that one of the things his office is going to try to do is to get all the uniforms and colors and everything, well, "uniform" for all the sports teams. Moos has also mentioned that you're going to see more stuff around Martin Stadium to remind everyone of our football history too, which will be cool, all in part of the effort of brand awareness. Anyway, just wanted to get that out of the way - NEW UNI'S FOR 2011!
Read on for the rest of the recap.....
First, I have to say that I didn't get the whole show. I heard most of it, but missed out on the last 15 minutes or so. If you heard the tail-end of it, feel free to add a comment as to what they said. Anyway, here's the top things to take:
1) Wulff started out saying that they are doing well, and it's great to get a win. They are looking forward to some time off, and that the "bye week couldn't have come at a better time. Looking back at it, having the extra bye week now, we didn't know how this season would turn out with injuries, but finishing this streak of 11 games with a win and a chance to heal and get ready for Apple Cup is a good situation for a lot of ways."
Bud said but yeah, 11 straight weeks of games is tough, but now you get two weeks in a row off. After winning last week, maybe the players don't want a bye right now?
Wulff said "We would like to go play again! But we have been very anxious for the bye. Plus it gives the kids a chance to be home for Thanksgiving. That's a rarity for most players at this point, and it's great for them."
2) Bud said that with your competing on a weekly basis, and now getting that win, you hear coaches says that they don't want their teams to get too low or too high. How are things right now? Is there an "extra high"? Wulff said "It was that way in the locker room after the game, and really, that should be the case. But it was pretty quiet on the plane, many of the players were sleeping or just tired. But guys have felt a lot better the last couple of days, they are excited. But this one is now behind them, we wanted to get that win and now we move forward. But we are already anxious and excited to play football again."
"It is a great feeling, but we have to get it out of the way. Now we move forward. We have to do that every week, whether it's a big win or emotional win or an emotional loss. Like we had an emotional loss vs ASU, in that we weren't very emotional, in fact we were flat, but it was a bad loss. But we were spirited in practice the next week, and I thought for the first time we showed great maturity in the week before the Cal game. We had a chance to win that ballgame in many different ways. And then, we responded last week with the Oregon State win. We are still learning to play at a high level, but we don't want to let highs or lows dictate what happens the following week."
On that same note, Bud asked about the players handling of the time off. Do they see much of them? Do they just kind of wander in and out? Wulff said "They are still coming by. They are lifting twice during this 5-day window of not practicing. They are around, which is good." Bud asked about the attitude of the players? Wulff said "Well, it's a little lighter, and it's nice to see that. But we can't sit here and say anyone is satisfied, we are all looking forward."
3) Bud asked about the coaches right now, what are they up to? Wulff said "They have been out recruiting since Sunday but they are all coming back tonight. We have been in Florida, Hawaii and points in between. We are hitting players who are already committed or we are hitting hard on some kids who haven't committed yet. Many of these guys will be here for the Apple Cup weekend, probably 10-12 kids will be here for that game. And then the next weekend is our team banquet, and we'll have a large number of recruits for that one. These upcoming weekend are very, very important recruiting weekends for us."
Bud asked about the logistical work it takes with recruiting visits, seeing players, how do you handle the NCAA limits of not doing too much? Wulff said "We have a software system where we log in all contacts by phone or in person. But we are only allowed 45 recruiting "opportunities" from 9/1 to the end of November. We will use all 45. We do not miss opportunities to recruit! There are different windows of times of what you can and not do, such as in-home visits, watching a player play during evaluations, things like that."
Bud asked with these NCAA limits, do you get enough time to get to know them? Do you really know them during the process? Wulff said "Not enough, but what is helping is we are recruiting sooner so you can form a relationship. And they can call you, as much as they want, and that's OK. We are already offering juniors RIGHT NOW, forming it right now. We have already identified juniors in the last 3 days, just to get a leg up. And texting is not allowable anymore, 3 years ago it was taken out. I like that you can't do it, one less pain in the rear to be honest!"
4) A caller asked about the Cougars uniform schemes, and why we sometimes wear all whites on the road (like last week), and sometimes we don't. How do we decide on uni's on road? Wulff said "Really, the equipment managers decide. As coaches we really haven't pushed one way or another, although sometimes we do. Generally, if a game is on a grass field, we will wear the read pants. And the reason is that grass stains are hard to get out of white pants! When we play on turf on the road, we wear the all whites. But that is all about to change. We are going to have all new uniforms shortly, next year! It is part of Nike and their branding efforts."
Note - so THAT's why they don't always wear white on the road! Personally I like the all-white look on the road, I think it's sharp overall and just looks better, top to bottom. The red pants throw it off a bit. But wow, new uni's after just two years in these things? I have heard some people complain that they really don't like our current scheme, so, looks like they'll get their wish.
5) A caller asked about the headsets and why he may or may not wear them at times? Wulff said "Earlier this year, I wanted to take off the headset with this young team. I wanted to have more communication with players on the sidelines during the game, have more conversations, make better eye contact. I felt it was better for me to just not wear one for a few weeks and be more involved with the players on the sidelines. I will still try to do that here and there as we go forward. But during that time, I didn't think it was just about the x's and o's with us. It was about execution during games. We needed to have them continue to grow up. The headsets are coming back on, but going forward sometimes I will wear them, sometimes I won't."
6) A caller said it was nice to see Marshall Lobbestael get some playing time (it turned out to be Marshall's cousin on the line). Wulff said "I agree. It was nice to see him jump in and play. Marshall is one of our true leaders on the team." On the QB note, Bud asked about the after effects on Jeff Tuel from that hit he took in the endzone? Wulff said "He's been fine, he felt fine within 30 seconds afterwards." Bud said that he noticed Tuel looked a little mad on the sidelines? Wulff said "He didn't like the tests for the concussion! He just wanted to get back on the field to help the team win." (Note - if you watch the highlights, you can see Tuel on the sideline talking to the team doctor, and you can see his frustration).
7) A caller said that he was at the 1982 Apple Cup. UW was massively favored. The Cougs were behind at the half, but still came back and beat UW.
But of all games the caller can remember attending at home or on the road, this weekend had a real "feel" of importance. In terms of emotional impact, do you sense it on the team?
Wulff said "We do sense the emotional impact. We have played well in a number of spots in games this year, but our rough schedule and youth, and a team not used to winning, just doesn't have true inner confidence. If we had more wins under our belt we could have pulled some of these games out. To win the way we did, the fashion we did, we did it the way we have been preaching all along. We went out and executed. It was a huge hurdle to overcome, and we did it."
Wulff added: "I promise there will be a lot of wins in this program in the next few years. I know how it is supposed to look, how it is supposed to grow, and the steps to be made along the way. And there will be games played in December and January in the future. But we have one more game we have to get this year, and get that great feeling we had on the road last week in Martin Stadium in a couple of weeks."
8) Bud asked about the validation last week had for the players, the hard work they have put in, the belief in the system. How much does winning like that validate to the players? Does it help them "buy in"?
Wulff said "The thing to remember, this team, so many of the players having an impact who have only been here 4 months! Or in most cases, just 15-16 months. We are a very young team, but we are making strides."
"For example, right now we have between 30-40 players we monitor daily. Two weeks prior to the Oregon State game, we had 100% attendance in every single situation. In years past, we've never really come close to 100%, especially the first year or two. Back then, we used to have about 20 "misses" out of the 40 that we would monitor. Now we were having 100% participation. That's going to classes, going to study sessions, meetings, everything. Everything has been happening right recently. And at the end of the 2nd week with the 100% participation, this Oregon State game happened. We believe that the correlation in being a good person, accountable for doing the right things in your daily lives, it shows how serious they have to be about preparation in all phases of their lives."
9) Helmets were brought up, in regards to the hit on Tuel. Some may not have heard this, but Bill Moos said in his show on Monday that the hit on Tuel "split his helmet". Wulff said "The technology has sure come a long way. When I played we were just getting into having the air padding in helmets. I really liked my helmet and kept the same one for a couple of years, if it's working for you then you don't want to mess with it. But today, the technology has come so far, that some of these helmets are almost like wearing motorcycle helmets. They are that comfortable."
That's about it for this week. Again, I missed the last few minutes of the show, so if you heard something that you feel is worthy to share, please feel free to comment about it.
All for now. GO COUGS!