Paul Wulff is, by all accounts, a very loyal guy.
The oft-criticized WSU head football coach, through three seasons, is working on turning around a program that has sunk to new lows under his watch.
Was it his fault? Not entirely. But on the other hand, he didn't do enough to help his own cause early on in his tenure. Click the button to continue reading.
Replacing former OL coach George Yarno (who now works for the Baltimore Ravens) with the dim-witted assistant Harold Etheridge from Eastern was an underrated misstep. So was former DL coach Malik Roberson's hiring. Players I've spoken to weren't crazy about him. Former graduate assistant and NFL defensive linemen Chad Eaton tried to knock him out in a coaches' meeting. I can't imagine he could take Roberson's read and react-style of playing the defensive line any longer.
Wulff's allegiance to his former assistants at Eastern Washington might end up costing him. Offensive Coordinator Todd Sturdy is a prime example.
While he deserves credit for handing the keys to the offense to Tuel beginning with USC, Sturdy was nonetheless responsible for two or three losses during the 2010 season. In the world of college athletics, players win games and coaches lose them.
Sturdy's inability to realize the offense wasn't suited for a run-first pass-second playcalling scheme cost the team in a 35-21 loss to SMU and it nearly galvanized a riot on the Palouse when the Cougars barely squeaked by Montana State early in the season.
I can remember sitting a few rows back on the 40-yard line begging him (very audibly) to stop running the stretch play to James Montgomery for a 1-yard gain against the Bobcats.
Against UCLA, a lack of creativity from the UCLA 1-yard line with the score tied at 28 late in the game led to a WSU four-and-out which shifted the momentum of a game that appeared very winnable.
I don't even want to talk about the James Montgomery backwards pass that was intercepted late in the Arizona game as we were driving to cut their lead to a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
How about in the Apple Cup when on fourth and a foot and the score tied at 28, (once again late in the game) Sturdy chose to drop Tuel seven steps back and throw a bomb down the left sideline to Marques Wilson? Never mind that Mitz and Montgomery were averaging five yards a pop against a shellshocked UW defensive line. Is anyone else sensing a pattern here?
To put it nicely, Sturdy has a lot to prove. His progression this year as a playcaller late in games might ultimately decide whether CPW keeps his job.
And Wulff, not necessarily to his discredit, has acted more like a GM then a head coach while in Pullman. During practice, he stands stoically in the middle of Rogers Field watching plays unfold. During half the season, he didn't wear a headset on the sideline. He recruits vigorously, but clearly, he puts an unbelievable, almost puzzling amount of trust in his assistant coaches. Players I've spoken with anonymously have said Chris Ball, Sturdy and Morton are among the most popular, vocal coaches at practice.
If CPW can motivate players before games in the locker room and his assistants are competent, then his coaching style isn't problematic. The addition of Todd Howard as a defensive line coach will certainly help his cause.
The talent to compete for a bowl berth in 2011 is finally here. However, CPW's level of success will ultimately be determined by his still unproven coaching staff.
Can everyone just calm down and get a few things straight. This is not reporting by any means. This is a blog and this is an opinion article. He doesn't quote anyone and most likely is leveraging friendships with players on the team as "sources." Take it for what is.
I thought the article was well written. The author is careful to make sure his sources are accurate. The sources CAN'T be named on record, becuase they would find themselves retaliated against. We see it over and over.....this is supposed to be a free country, but if someone doesn't toe the company line, whether it's government, church, business, schools, they will pay for it. I welcome the discussion on this board; it's far better than apathy.
to whiskey amigo
Impatient cougs? Impatient? No other FBS school would have tolerated 5-32. We have one of the most patient fan bases and patient administrations in DI football. We now have had 7 full years of mediocre to pathetic football. Moos came here popping off his mouth about not tolerating losing, that WSU fans should expect to win. We'll see.
Can we all just agree that we hope it goes better this year? I don't know about you but I'm just tired of hearing this down-trodden banter from impatient Cougs. Let's look for some positive signs huh?
to tomwulff12. You keep saying that the writer does not know the FACTS but you haven't said where the article is wrong. I was disappointed to learn that when Wulff took over he didn't even have the courtesy to interview the existing coaching staff. That was a slight to good cougars like Yarno. There was talent on the existing team that went 5-6 the prior year, 2007. I disagree strongly that "there was not a coaching staff in America that could have made a significant difference." Wulff somehow managed to alienate the existing players, especially upperclassmen who had had to suffer through the Doba nightmare years. The job of a new coach is to take the existing players and make them better, and work with them to win as many games as possible. Wulff and Co. managed to blame the existing players, and blame Doba. Wulff's lack of concern about the margin of the losses was astonishing.
--I figured Eaton had alienated Wulff, so he got reassigned. I was sorry to see Eaton go. He has fire and passion for WSU.
@bpcoug54 When Wulff got here, there were legitimate issues with the upperclassmen. Many had come in on the tail end of our success, and had created an atmosphere of partying, underachieving and failing out of school. Wulff had a choice to make. He could try and work with these guys, get them to change and slowly weed them out of the program over the years. He would win some more games, but the culture may never have changed. The other option was saying that it would be cheaper and better in the long run to build an entirely new house than to keep trying to remodel the one that was already standing. The cupboard was pretty bare from the start, and Wulff chose to empty out the stuff that was left over and stock it from scratch. I don't think it was necessarily the right call, but I do not think it was wrong either.
As for the coaching staff changes, I completely agree. Wulff had no experience at this level, and should have kept experienced assistants around. He obviously relies pretty heavily on them on the field (which I have no problem with), so why did he ditch valuable guys like Yarno, Walker and others to replace them with an entirely inexperienced crew? I was recruited by Yarno, I've checked on his career. He is an excellent coach, and someone who should have been retained.
Paul Wulff did not make the best of the situation he walked into, but it was one hell of a situation for a first time D1 coach who we got for a song to walk into. I am hoping that he has started to figure it out and has some success, this year. We were a massive project and he was ill-equipped to deal with it at first, but he has done some solid recruiting, made some coaching changes and is poised to put out his best product yet onto the field. Will that product be good enough? Talk to me in December.
So they got extremely lazy under from a recruiting standpoint under Doba, I think we all know that. That being said, their coaching resumes spoke for themselves, and it's clear now that we know Yarno and Walker were let go, and replaced with far inferior coaches.
That's kind of where Adam was going with this post is that maybe CPW was a bit too loyal to some of the guys he had on staff at EWU that he brought to Pullman. Were the jobs even offered to Yarno and Walker on the premise that they improve upon recruiting? That's information 99.99% of Wazzu fans are not privy to. That's what message boards, blogs, and websites talk about.
This site is pretty positive towards CPW, if you want to be frustrated, go check www.cougzone.com. Appreciate the feedback though Tom, thanks!
But, as you stated, he chose to blow it up and start over again. That definitely cost us in the short term. Whether it ends up making for greater success in the long term we have no way of ever knowing.
I think Wulff has certainly made mistakes, but given his more recent hires, it appears he is learning from them. I'm fine with the fact that there has been a learning curve for this staff; it's to be expected. I would say that the play calling last year was better than the year before, though I agree with the examples given in this post regarding Sturdy's mistakes. I will give Sturdy credit for changing up the offense early in the season; what he was doing wasn't working, and he figured it out and made the adjustments. By the end of the season, the offense was NOT the reason we lost games.
The 2010 team was MUCH better than the 2009 team. If we get a similar improvement this year compared to last year, we will have a very competitive team.
It seems like the articles on this blog have gone kinda downhill. Ever since that article where the author was basically posting about things he heard at parties, it seems like there has entirely too much posted as "this is what I heard" type stuff. It's a blog, but still, that's lazy journalism. Get someone on record before referring to stuff in a story. Especially before alleging that a player and a coach got into a fight.
Ben. As a writer for a blog, I reserve the right to use anonymous sources from guys on the football team who speak with me "on the record." In journalism, it is acceptable to report things on the record without naming names. This way, I don't alienate sources who say something controversial that is true. I'll only go forward with a story or column if I'm certain the information is accurate. @BenWentz
@BenWentz I couldn't disagree more. In the post you're referring too, everything that was reported turned out to be true. THAT is some pretty solid reporting if you ask me. Lets not forget that it's the middle of the off-season and football related news is down to a trickle right now. Stuff like this is about all that can be written.
There are so many WRONGS in this story and comments I want to Puke!!! All of you need to learn the facts including The idiot that wrote it!
@tomwulff12 Judging from your screen name, I think you might be biased. To be clear, I would like to see CPW succeed at WSU. I personally believe he should have brought more experience with him from Eastern when making his transition to the D-1 level. It's been especially hard for him to rebuild the program while replacing his OL, DL, Special teams, running backs and linebackers coach in just three years on the job.
@CougarLou32 @tomwulff12 There is NO DOUBT I am biased! I do not often pay attention to these blogs for this very reason! But sometimes things are so far off base I cannot help myself but to comment! Vertually every area of discussion in this topic was fraught with inaccuacies or were just completely wrong! FACTS are important in discussing any situation and analyzing what went on and what result should be achieved. I impatiently looking forward to the season starting because I am very optomistic! Prior to this year with all the circumstances that this program has had to endure, there is not a coaching staff in America that could have made a significant difference! I know many out there will disagree with that, but thats because most everyone out there do not know the FACTS!
@dawgishly I would love to find you someplace we could work this out in private! I am sure i would get your attention!
What about the fact that Doba went 30 and 29 with all the recruiting talent from a program that won 10 games three years in row? I'm sorry, you are spouting "facts", but the truth is Doba was pathetic! What he did to the Cougs was criminal. Any coach that can bring in the talent that Wulff is bringing in under the circumstances is a stud in my book. If you cant see that , then I believe your use of the term "dipshit" was applied to the wrong person. @dawgishly @tomwulff12
I think your getting the word facts confused with opinions and excuses.
Here are the only facts that you and you dipshit brother need to know: Bill Doba was 30-29. He got canned for going 5-7 in 2007. Your brother is 5-32.
Anything you say in response to those FACTS are opinions and ghey little excuses.
BTW your a complete pussy for alluding to inaccuracies without having the balls to address specifically what you are talking about. Furthermore, do you really think any coaching staff in the country doesn't face challenges and tough breaks every year? Your family is long on excuses and complaints but short on performance.
Tom, this post was essentially a column expressing an opinion. The only facts I really pointed to were playcalls by Sturdy I disagreed with. Are you insinuating that CPW doesn't place a great deal of trust in his assistants? @tomwulff12
@tomwulff12 @CougarLou32 Would it be unfair to point out what facts are inaccurate in the article? As an Edward R Murrow School of Communication graduate, I would demand proof from such an accusation presented to me. But that's just me. And we ALL want the Cougars to succeed, not just the football players. Coaches too.
Agree with the post. On a lighter note, I may have missed a post or something but has no one written a post on the new stadium renderings? They are awesome!
I found em here
Apparently they have been up since May and would love to here what everyone has to say about em. (That is unless I missed a post about these renderings)
@WhiskeyAmigo What's wrong with a little constructive criticism? It's totally fair to criticize a coach regardless of his record, nevermind the fact that he's 5-32 (or something along those lines).
BTW, I am not sure who is familiar with the Eaton trying to KO Malik. If anybody could fill in the details, that would be awesome!
Harold Etheridge didn't come to WSU from EWU. I want to say he was at one of the directional schools in Illinois
@LucasNurmi My bad on the typo. I should have double checked Etheridge's background. As for the Eaton story: All I know is the rumors I've heard from players on the team. Apparently Eaton and Roberson had a disagreement in a coaches meeting. It was heated, but I don't know whether or not they came to blows. Days later, Eaton was reassigned to an administrative position under Moos in the athletic department. I know for a fact he wasn't happy with the coaching staff after their incident. Word on things like these always gets around in Pullman.
@LucasNurmi by "knocked out" in the column I meant one or both needed to be restrained from going at it
@LucasNurmi Correct, Norther Illinois. Which makes it all the more puzzling why Wulff went with him instead of a proven OL guy like Yarno.