Archive for the ‘Tyree Toomer’ Category

Young Secondary a Primary Concern?

August 4, 2009


Good morning Coug Nation. Hope all is well in your corner of the world. As you may or may not be aware/care, we’ve looked at the ’09 Cougs among the positional previews, and so far, so good. Now we come to the last group to check out, and that is the secondary.

Err…maybe not. Some of you already saw it, but, WSU has put out their own pre-camp depth chart, complete with an analysis of the candidates to start at each position. And new and improved, NOW WITH comments from coach Wulff! It’s a really good read, so if you haven’t already clicked over, check it out.

That said, we’ll still weigh in and offer up our own opinions. Hey, we’re a blog. It’s what we do. So let’s scan the secondary, and see if things are going to be better in ’09? Or, are we doomed for more struggles in the last line of defense? Let’s see….

To get the obligatory “2008 was a disaster” out of the way, yeah, the secondary had their issues too. But it’s not as bad as you might think, at least on paper anyway. They finished 6th in the PAC-10 in passing yards allowed per game, just a couple of yards per game more than 5th place Cal. But they gave up the 3rd-most TD passes in the conference(22), and at 7.8 yards per attempt, were just ahead of UW for ninth place.

While this isn’t good, well, I don’t think it’s entirely the fault of the secondary. The sack totals were really down, just 16 as a team, tied with UW for dead LAST in the conference. Can’t get any pressure on the QB, give him time to set up, make a ham sandwich, and still deliver the ball wherever he wants? Not good. And then you consider the lack of takeaways, where the Cougs averaged one takeaway a game (13 for the entire season), and you can see it wasn’t exactly an opportunistic group.

Wow, 16 sacks and 13 takeaways for an entire 13-game season. Just thinking back to the early part of the decade, WSU’s defenses used to pride themselves on two things – SACKS AND TAKEAWAYS! Think about that great run from ’01 – ’03. In ’01, they had 40 sacks and grabbed 26 INT’s, second only to Miami in the country. In ’02, they had a school-record 55 sacks(!), and led the PAC-10 in rushing defense. In ’03, Doba’s boys led the nation in takeaways (48), tops in fumble recoveries (24) and second in interceptions (24). They were also in the top 10 in rushing defense and pass-efficiency defense.

So you can just take a peek back into our own history to remember and realize how important sacks and picks are to a defense, hell, to an entire football team overall. And the Coug D in ’08 didn’t do much sacking or taking away of the football!

The lack of pressure up front really trickled down. Even the best defensive backs in the country can only be expected to hang with the coverage for four or five seconds, but after that, even the best are going to give up plays. It’s the nature of the beast, but the secondary without a pass rush really has no chance to thrive…let alone survive.

Obviously the numbers can sure be skewed, too, can’t they? For example, Oregon gave up nearly 1,000 MORE passing yards on the ’08 season than WSU, and they surrendered 25 TD passes, the worst in the conference. In fact, Oregon gave up 270 yards per game in the air, also worst in the entire PAC-10! Not what you would assume, just thinking of their strong pass-rushers like Nick Reed and Will Tukuafu, and a stacked secondary with Jairus Byrd, Patrick Chung, Walter Thurmand III, etc. But as you know, Oregon won 10 games last year and were Holiday Bowl champs. So, trying to swallow the entire stack o’ pure passing D stats and justifying things isn’t the best route to go. Just look at WSU’s rushing defense, or lack thereof, and you can see there’s always two sides to the argument. The Cougs, after all, allowed SEVEN opponents last year to rush for at least 317 yards a game! Why should the opponent do anything but run the heck out of the ball, especially when staked to early lead after early lead?

Anyway, that was last year. Let’s just leave it where it belongs. There was a problem. But it’s gone. And there’s nothing we can do about it….

Cornerbacks
Starters: Aire Justin (soph) and Brandon Jones (redshirt junior).
Key backups: Daniel Simmons(redshirt frosh), Anthony Hayward (redshirt frosh), Anthony Houston (junior, switched from WR last couple of years), Shane Thomas (junior).
New faces: Nolan Washington, Anthony Carpenter.

Analysis: Well, right off the top a pair of experienced starters – Devin Giles and Romeo Pellum – are gone. We won’t rehash all that. But clearly the door is wide-flipping-open for any of these youngsters to run right through. Justin (previously known as Tyrone) got a lot of PT last year, six starts plus other action. Justin’s on the light side at 156 pounds on a 5-11 frame, but he did alright in his first shot at playing time as a red-shirt frosh last season. His three pass-breakups are the most among all the returning players contending at corner…..but that’s because, uh, NOBODY else in the mix for cornerback besides Justin actually played a single down of football last year! Brandon Jones has PAC-10 experience, playing in 12 games from his ’07 season at CAL, but that’s about it. Everyone else is brand new to this caliber of play, coming off redshirt seasons or even true frosh right out of high school in Carpenter and Washington.

I guess the corners are similar to what we saw along the defensive line – the faces are new, but, it might not be too big of an issue since the newest kids may be better/more talented than those they are replacing anyway? We won’t really know until things get serious, but it’s an awfully young group of corners. While the PAC-10 might not be what it once was in the air-it-out department, the lack of game experience could be an issue out of the chute. I know, for example, SMU wasn’t very good last year, nor are they thought of as any type of breakthrough candidate for the upcoming season. But they throw the heck out of the ball in that June Jones run-n-shoot, and you better believe these inexperienced corners are going to be tested.

Now, Wulff did mention when talking about the corners that Chima Nwachukwu has some starting experience at the position, and could possibly move back there this year if necessary. I guess it wouldn’t be a shock to see Chima slide over if some of the young guys aren’t quite ready, or we see some injuries pile up.

I know a lot of people really like Nolan Washington, the true frosh. A highly rated kid coming out of Kennedy high school, the early buzz on what he could become has been extremely positive.


You hate to throw out any type of expectation for true frosh, but this could be a different story. He was labeled “a divison I prospect with outstanding speed and great instincts” by the Seattle Times, and it isn’t a stretch to think he could see some early PT. You would hope a talented true frosh like Washington could redshirt that first year, then you cut him loose in 2010, but his performance in camp and the subsequent performances of those in front of him may dictate that he see the field this year.

Safeties
Starters: Xavier Hicks (senior) at strong safety, Chima Nwachukwu (junior) at free safety.
Key Backups: Tyree Toomer (soph), Jay Matthews (redshirt frosh) at strong safety; Eric Block (redshirt soph) and Leandre Daniels (redshirt frosh) at free safety.
Newcomers: Jamal Atofau, Casey Locker

This area looks pretty strong. Hicks is set for his senior year, and maybe this is the season it all comes together for him. Big hitter and the leading returning defensive player on the entire team in terms of tackles (78), interceptions (2) and pass breakups (5), this is it for Hicks. There never has been much doubt that the kid could play the position. We all remember the de-cleater vs. UCLA where he absolutely destroyed WR Brandon Breazell over the middle….


He has a nose for the ball, and even in just three starts back in ’07 he logged 60 tackles primarily as a backup. That’s taking advantage of limited playing time and making the most of it, no question. Nothing else to really say about his off-the-field stuff, so we’ll leave it at that. They MUST get a huge season out of Hicks – HUGE – to have a respectable defense. Every good secondary needs an intimidating presence of sorts, someone to set the tone with aggression and strike a little fear for those who dare to venture over the middle. Hicks has that ability.

Chima is an interesting player. I still can’t believe he’s only a junior, as he’s been starting since he arrived in Pullman. He already has 25 starts under his belt and he’s still got a couple of years of eligibility left! Smart, strong, and not afraid to get his hands dirty with 57 tackles last year, he will be a crucial piece for the entire secondary. It’s not too crazy to say that the combo of Hicks and Nwachukwu could be one of the best safety duo’s we’ve had in some time, and maybe one of the better sets in the conference?

Eric Block is a guy to keep an eye on. Especially if Chima has to slide over to corner to provide some veteran experience and leadership, but Block, if healthy, could be a rising member of the secondary. Just a redshirt sophomore coming into this year, he’s dealt with some injuries and illness in his time in Pullman, but it sounds as though he’s ready to go. As to the other new faces, I would bet Wulff has designs on redshirting both Atofau and Locker if he can help it. There is depth at the safety spots, but with Hicks graduating after this season, it would be wise to preserve some future eligibility on the talented youngsters. Let’s hope they aren’t forced to play out of desperation.

That’s it for the secondary, and our ’09 pre-camp positional previews are now complete. I hope you enjoyed them. After all those smelly spring fishwraps, it was fun to kind of dig in and see how things are looking for the crimson and gray lads, right on the eve of camp.

I have to admit, overall, I’m encouraged and excited to see what happens next week. We’ve heard so much about the improvement in size and strength, all the gains made by so many, all that noise. They should be a much better equipped football team to handle the rigors of the PAC-10. Look for some first-hand coverage of fall camp from our own Longball in the weeks ahead. Here’s hoping for a productive, HEALTHY, high-energy month of practices, and a mentally and physically prepared football team ready to hit Stanford with all they have on 9/5.

Enjoy your day, and GO COUGS!

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Hey, it’s Colin with Sham-Wow?

July 23, 2009


Good morning to you all, great Coug Nation. Hope the week is winding down on a positive note for you? At least it is now very positive for LeAndre Daniels and Tyree Toomer. We remember the story with Daniels and Toomer, where they were spotted walking off with a couple of bikes that didn’t exactly belong to them? Something else with a hacksaw may or may not have been involved? Well, turns out that NO CHARGES are to be filed! Once again, the liberal, left-wing media makes something out of nothing….but all in all, great news. Especially if they are innocent, as some have suggested that this thing could have been a misunderstanding from the beginning. Seems like there is always more to the story than what initially makes headlines, and that’s clearly the case here. Wulff hinted that this might be the outcome. Remember this interview Wulff gave in June, after the uniform unveiling (fade to black….)?

Q. I have to address the Tyree Toomer and LeAndre Daniels situation. They’ve been suspended from team activities. What else, if anything, can you tell us about their situation?

A. First of all, it’s a mistake, and a poor choice by a couple young guys that have never been in trouble prior to Washington State or in their first year. Both have been done very well academically as well. I think when it’s all said and done, there’s a question mark on whether the charges will even be filed. There are some issues there behind the scenes that look favorable for the players.

Q. Have you spoken with them, and if so, what was your message?

A. Oh, yeah. I had a message. But we don’t need to talk about that one here. But, bottom line is they’re very remorseful and we’ll deal with that, and the bottom line is they need to make sure they learn from those mistakes.

Q. Do you expect them to rejoin the team, and if so, when?

A. Yes we do, and hopefully soon.

I’m sure Chris Ball and Jody Sears are happy to hear two of the members of the secondary are now free and clear, and ready to hit the field next month!

Moving on, so have you seen the new SportsNation show on ESPN?

ESPN Radio’s own Colin Cowherd, a former northwest native and complete UW lover has teamed with the super-cutie-pie Michelle Beadle to bring a new show format to the worldwide leader in sports.


Note – while I have been sweet on Michelle, as she seems ultra-cool, funny, and quite a little ball of fire, well, with the Erin Andrews stuff lately, I just don’t feel it. The Times’ Jerry Brewer has kind of brought me down a bit, and most of you might feel the same way….but wait, there’s more…

Michelle is good at what she does, she looks good doing it, and that’s all I have to say about that….anyway, I have caught the show a few times over the last couple of weeks, and I have to admit it’s a pretty good take on all things sports/pop culture. Very fast moving and hip, filled with polls, twitter comments and reactions, youtube videos and such, all while debating the hottest topics of right now. You know, sort of like a blog, only on TV? What’s funny is that Colin Cowherd HATES BLOGS with a passion and doesn’t hide any of those feelings on his four-hour radio show. Yet, here we are. Anyway, the show is TAYLOR-FRIGGIN-MADE for short attention span America! Yes, I include myself in that.


But one thing has struck me about seeing Colin out from behind the ESPN mike and in front of the camera. Is it me, or…..

Just saying.

So in honor of Colin’s new hit show, and to honor the passing of Billy Mays and Michael Jackson in a very roundabout, serious-reach-type way, we present the biggest hit going right now…yes, it’s “Jam Wow”!

I guess it’s a tribute to Billy Mays because, well, even in death, at least he’s STILL NOT VINCE with Sham-Wow. And an honor to Michael Jackson, brought to you by the biggest MJ-lover/1985 imitator, Alfonso Ribeiro! Although I’m not sure Alfonso, or is it Carlton from Fresh Prince, can move like that anymore?

Enjoy your Thursday, GO COUGS and all that other stuff.

Sunday Roster News

July 12, 2009

Some news broke yesterday on the WSU roster, updated prior to next month’s fall practice. The news? Some names you might have expected to be on the roster are missing. Grippi has a good read on the situation, including some quotes from Coach Wulff, so check it out.

While all the names are disappointing, I think the loss of Devin Giles might hurt the most on the field. Projected by some to start at corner this year, even though he missed spring ball due to academics and was a reserve for most of ’08, he did start 12 games in ’07. The senior-to-be was one guy with at least some starting experience in the PAC-10. And for those of you scoring at home, the corner position has been hit hard this off-season. Romeo Pellum, who started 12 games last year, is no longer in the program. Others in some hot water include Tyrone Justin (now known as Aire, per Grippi?), Tyree Toomer, and LeAndre Daniels.

Glancing at the spring depth chart, you wonder how the corner position is going to look once things get going next month. Devin Giles was actually listed as the starter at left corner, but that’s out the window now. Brandon Jones, the Cal transfer who sat out ’08, might elevate to the starting spot. Jones was singled out by coach Wulff during spring as a player who was performing quite well. Jones was technically listed at #2 behind Giles this spring, so it’s easy to see him as the starter now.

We’ll look at the secondary in the coming days, but overall? Things seem awfully thin back there.

Michael Willis is officially gone as well. Not disappointed there, just a little sad that it never worked out for him.

Willis had a long journey to Pullman (just check out all the stories on him from Scout.com, dating all the way back to 2003!). Willis also saw multiple position changes, from safety to corner to WR and back again. Excellent size, outstanding athleticism, and always regarded as a seriously hard hitter, it’s all over for him now. However, per the Grippi article, it appears that Willis is still in school and on track to graduate. So at least he’ll get a degree when it’s all said and done.

Meanwhile, Cougfan.com broke the news that there are four incoming recruits who will delay enrollment until January 2010, with the famous “gray shirt” path to Pullman. Offensive guard Quayshawne Buckley, safety Osi Hosea, defensive end Chris Mastin, and linebacker Terrell Thompson will all miss the ’09 season. Here’s hoping they get their academics in order and we see them early next year.

Finally, it doesn’t have anything to do with football, but Cougcenter has been blowing up with summer basketball updates. Looks like Klay Thompson’s Team USA won the gold today. Cool. If you are interested, check it out.

That’s it for today. GO COUGS!

Wulff Speaks on Arrests

June 15, 2009


Happy Monday Coug fans! Still rolling around over the new uni’s? I was out of town over the weekend but snuck away to check them out on my little blackberry. EA Sports kind of “softened the blow” a bit, and they were pretty close to the real thing. The all-white look might be pretty cool on the road, although they look a lot like Oklahoma? But you can bet they’ll mix-n-match. I thought the gray pants looked a little dull, but that could just be the lighting. And you know they’ll roll out the “Cougars” helmets for the Apple Cup, and hopefully with the gray pants as well. Anyway, overall, put me in the like ’em camp.

Meanwhile, Q-13 spoke to Wulff in an interview over the weekend, and of course, the topic of the recent news is the off-the-field arrests ‘n such. He addresses the recent bad news, plus Xavier Hicks as well. Check it out, in THREE PARTS:

Part One – HAVING trouble directly imbedding the video, so here’s a link to part one:

http://www.q13fox.com/video/?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=3865121

Part Two – Having trouble directly imbedding the video, so here’s a link to part two:

http://www.q13fox.com/video/?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=3865116

Part Three:

Note – if you can’t see the videos, here’s a link to the transcript.

Don’t want to click the link? On the juicy stuff (read: arrests), here’s what he had to say:

Q. I have to address the Tyree Toomer and LeAndre Daniels situation. They’ve been suspended from team activities. What else, if anything, can you tell us about their situation?

A. First of all, it’s a mistake, and a poor choice by a couple young guys that have never been in trouble prior to Washington State or in their first year. Both have been done very well academically as well. I think when it’s all said and done, there’s a question mark on whether the charges will even be filed. There are some issues there behind the scenes that look favorable for the players.

Q. Have you spoken with them, and if so, what was your message?

A. Oh, yeah. I had a message. But we don’t need to talk about that one here. But, bottom line is they’re very remorseful and we’ll deal with that, and the bottom line is they need to make sure they learn from those mistakes.

Q. Do you expect them to rejoin the team, and if so, when?

A. Yes we do, and hopefully soon.

Q. You talked about Xavier Hicks during spring practice as being a leader on the team. How much of a blow is that, that it happened again?

A. Xavier’s done a great job. He really had. What occurred was he had a traffic ticket in 2007 in Othello and it wasn’t paid. And college students move around, his address, he didn’t receive any of the information that it was suspended. And then he got pulled over and then he found out then. So, that’s the offense. It’s something he has to learn from, obviously, but those mistakes are going to occur.

Q. Are there any repercussions?

A. We’ve got a few things we’ll do to handle that, but for the most part, at this point, he’s not going to be suspended.

So there you have it. Daniels, Toomer and Hicks will get dinged, but will be part of the team this fall. Interesting.

The entire interview is pretty good, and it’s the first in-depth information we’ve really heard from Wulff this off-season. He sounds pretty forgiving. But they have a process in place and he knows the full story for each of the bad news items. If they don’t deem the offenses bad enough on the scale to actually kick someone off the team, then so be it.

That’s it for today. Enjoy your Monday, and GO COUGS!

On and On and On it goes….

June 10, 2009


Where it all stops? Nobody knows.

As Nuss at Cougcenter asks, “WHEN IS THIS CRAP GOING TO END“?

If you haven’t heard, two WSU safeties were arrested for theft and burglary charges on Tuesday. Included in the story has the two safeties, LeAndre Daniels and Tyree Toomer, spotted taking bikes from an apartment. A subsequent investigation revealed more details, as always, per Cougfan:

A hacksaw, reported stolen from a nearby home construction site, also was located at their residence, according to the report.

BRILLIANT.

Now, I’ve been a Wulff supporter since he was hired over a year ago. I know I’ve preached that he will turn this thing around, and to give him time to weed out the bad guys and bring in the good guys. And there ARE GOOD GUYS in this program. But Daniels and Toomer? They aren’t even “Doba leftovers” we can conveniently shove under the bus. Both were signed in Paul Wulff’s first class.

Sigh. I don’t know about you, but it’s getting really, really old. Boys will be boys, but wouldn’t it be nice to stay out of the news right now? ENOUGH already.


Paul Wulff Radio Show Recap – Week Six

October 1, 2008

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.