What are you expect on Saturday? Tuesday, freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel said “We have a great chance to win this ballgame, and we all feel like we should win this game.” I asked Paul Wulff today what he thought of that statement and whether it was the exuberance of youth or if the team really believed it. For his answer and more, read on.
• At first Wulff smiled. Then he answered. “It’s a combination of both, maybe. We have some young guys that are highly competitive and have high expectations. I think that’s a wonderful sign, to be honest. Again, that’s where we believe we’re headed. With higher expectations amongst ourselves.” Of course, Wulff knows how good ASU is. “We’ve got a good challenge on our hands,” he said. “They’re a good football team.” … Tuel will get to see how good first hand. He’s healed enough that he’ll start for sure. … Who will be in front of him is still up in the air, however. Brian Danaher will play, but Alex Reitnouer and Joe Eppele are still the two starting guards. Wulff said he wants to take it slow with Danaher, who has had concussion problems in the past, but Danaher wants to play. We’ll see how much. … The defensive line is also in flux with Bernard Wolfgramm out for this week. Anthony Laurenzi, who is a little nicked up himself, Dan Spitz and Toby Turpin will man the tackle spots. Travis Long and Jesse Feagin will start at end, with Casey Hamlett in reserve. … Feagin spent last year unable to play because of academic problems, but Wulff said he’s done a good job of progressing as a student and has become a contributor up front. Now he would like to see more consistency. … Speaking of academics, the injured players who need help in that area spend their practice time in the academic resource center, keeping their grades up. Freshman safety Jamal Atofau, who is healthy, also has been off the field during his redshirt season, working in the ARC during practice. … With Alex Hoffman-Ellis out, Louis Bland will start at middle linebacker and be backed up by Mike Ledgerwood. … One last thing. It’s obvious the bye next week is needed. This is a team that not only has a lot of guys on the injured list, but a bunch of guys playing with bumps and bruises. The Cougars will come back Sunday for treatment, take Monday off, then practice – my guess is without pads – Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. The early time is to help coaches get out on the recruiting trail. The players get Thursday, Friday and Saturday off before beginning their week getting ready for Cal on Sunday.
• That’s it for now. We’ll be back in the morning with our usual stuff. Until then …