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Paul Wulff talks about WSU’s opener


COUGARS

Just got down with Paul Wulff’s weekly Tuesday press conference. We have a summary of what he had to say on the link. As promised, here’s a link to the video.

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• To set the stage, I asked Wulff what has been accomplished in the 20 or so days of practice. He emphasized getting all the new players integrated into the team concept, getting everyone to work in sync on offense and communicating on defense. … As for the steps the players took, Wulff said he was pleasantly surprised. He also said that due to all the youth, he thinks this is a team that can keep improving as the year progresses. … I then asked a question about Jeff Tuel and how he’s different from the Jeff Tuel back in the USC week last year, when he was preparing to play his first college game. Wulff’s answer started with the physical changes, he stronger and bigger, then progressed to the mental ones. He also mentioned that this was his team, and the players are used to hearing his voice. … The subject switched to Marquess Wilson with someone asking if he had NFL talent. Wulff said he’s done a lot of good things, but he has yet to play a college football game and has a ways to go to reach his potential. He’s still just 17 and his strength level has a ways to go. … Wulff said Nico Grasu will do the kickoffs and more than likely the first field goal or extra point. But he emphasized Andrew Furney has done so well, he probably will get a chance to kick at some time. He is a true freshman, though, and they want to bring him along right. …

I asked Wulff how, besides the gray hair, he’s different than he was the last time WSU played Oklahoma State – his first game as the Cougars’ head coach. He talked about the comfort level he has with the players and they have with the staff. … The Cougars will take 70 players to Oklahoma State – the Pac-10 decided in the spring to raise the travel squad from 64 to 70 – and roughly nine of them will be true freshman. Last night I noticed walk-on Jack Wilson from Gonzaga Prep was being fitted with a crimson helmet, indicative of a traveling squad member, but forgot to mention it. Wulff pointed out how well he’s played in the fall and the backup safety might see time on special teams. … He also mentioned how conservative they are being with Kristoff Williams’ turf toe injury, because his future is so bright. He won’t be traveling. … With more depth, Wulff believes the special teams will be better than the past. He said they will need to be because Oklahoma State has a tradition of being very good on special teams with great returners. The Cougars saw that two years ago. … Who has stood out for the Cougs? Wulff mentioned Kyle McCartney, Wilson, Jamal Atofau, Arthur Burns and Daniel Blackledge. … I’m sure you’ve already figured this out, but with Oklahoma State’s new offensive coordinator coming from Houston, Wulff said the WSU staff has watched a lot of Houston video. But he said the big difference was Houston had a experienced quarterback (Case Keenum) last year. … There were a couple of questions about the offensive line, including the two junior college transfers, and how they were faring. Wulff said well, but they aren’t playing Feather River College any more. As for freshman John Fullington, Wulff believes he has all the tools. All he’s missing is the experience and playing time. He’ll get that this year because Wulff said he’ll play. … Finally, he said freshman C.J. Mizell will travel but how much he’ll play is still to be determined.

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• That’s all for now. We’ll be back after practice with more. Until then …


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