Coach Paul Wulff denies Cougars were "flat" before latest loss
The Cougars may appear to be out cold, but coach Paul Wulff assures the fire is still burning in his players. Questions about the team's...
Special to The Seattle Times
The Cougars are holding a "campus tryout" for quarterback Monday. No kidding.
"We have to find somebody for the scout team," coach Paul Wulff said.
WSU lost both Gary Rogers and Kevin Lopina to back injuries two weeks ago, and are starting redshirt freshman Marshall Lobbestael while Lopina recovers.
"I've never had to do this before," Wulff said. "There's got to be somebody enrolled that has played quarterback."
PULLMAN — The Cougars may appear to be out cold, but coach Paul Wulff assures the fire is still burning in his players.
Questions about the team's drive have been asked ever since safety Alfonso Jackson said the Cougars "were so flat" before WSU's 63-14 loss to the Oregon Ducks in Martin Stadium Saturday.
"I don't think we were flat," Wulff said. "That's not accurate. They were ready and emotionally into it. I wouldn't use that as an excuse — it's just not the case."
Flat or not, the Cougars have been flattened by every NCAA Division I Football Bowl Series (formerly I-A) opponent they have faced thus far, losing by an average of 42 points.
Much may have to do with the high number of changes the roster has seen. The team has had 22 players make their first collegiate start in the first five games — 19 underclassman and five true freshmen.
"Generally you would hope for no more than two or three every year," Wulff said. "Ideally you would like to redshirt every freshman, but that's unfortunately not the case when you have recruiting classes that don't pan out over a period of time. You get stuck in a situation and then someone's got to get it fixed."
Wulff also spoke very candidly about the upperclassmen's dietary habits in years past that have stunted their development — something he said correlates with the team's injury problems.
"There are a lot of veterans here that should be a lot stronger than they are," Wulff said. "That's just a big picture deal that we have to address as soon as we possibly can. It's a combination of them understanding nutrition, how many calories they need to input and re-emphasizing the lifting in pushing a lot of weight and challenging the whole team to get themselves a lot stronger."
Wulff said he would be "very, very" disappointed if this freshman class looked similar in size and strength in four or five years to this year's upperclassmen.
"Don't get me wrong, some of our upperclassmen are strong," he said. "But the overall core is not. And I'm clearly not blaming the players."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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