The following post is going to be a long one. It's going to contain a summary of what Paul Wulff had to say on the Pac-10 Conference media call and what he added during his local media press availability. Then it will finish with notes from practice, of which there is going to be quite a few. So much for the coming attractions. For the main event, read on.
• Wulff had another long Pac-10 call today, with the first question concerning the UCLA game and whether he considered the outcome progress. That reminds me, we have our Pac-10 notebook today, in which we relate Rick Neuheisel's answer to basically the same question. We're not giving away the answer but you can read it here as soon as it becomes available on our website. Now back to Wulff's answer. He went into some depth about progress but the bottom line was, he said, is yes, it was progress. Asked what he told the team in the locker room, the answer was even longer, speaking about where the Cougars are now and where he expected them to be. Turns out, for this year, they are meeting those expectations. Learning to win is a process and they are in the middle of said process. If you look only at wins and losses, it looks bleak, but there are steps that need to be taken and the Cougars are taken them. In a later answer he was even clearer. "People are trying to put measuring sticks on wins and losses and I understand that," Wulff said. "But we cannot get from A to Z by jumping over all the other letters. We've got to take our steps." ... He was asked about the replay against UCLA and said he was told by an official that he thought the review was of the extra point, because the snap had already occurred, so nothing could be done at that point. But the referee came over and said he didn't receive the notice, but it had been pushed and the replay showed Jeff Tuel didn't score. ... He praised Tuel and his improvement, saying it's only going to get better. ... He had almost the same things to say about Jared Karstetter. ... Asked about the support he is receiving in the athletic department, Wulff said it's been very good. He said Bill Moos understands what it takes to build a football program, what the process is, where it began, where it's going. ... The last couple questions had to do with Oregon's offense and the challenge it brings. Asked what the key is to stop it, Wulff laughed and said, "If I had the key, everyone in the nation would be on me." ... As for his local media conference, you can watch and listen to Wulff here. Much of what Wulff said was illustrated at practice Tuesday afternoon. ... Some guys sat out, including Andrei Lintz (shoulder), Alex Hoffman-Ellis (leg) and Arthur Burns (leg), all of whom suited up but avoided contact today. With Hoffman-Ellis watching, the plan to get Sekope Kaufusi a lot of snaps at middle linebacker went out the window, because Kaufusi ended up playing almost exclusively at the Will spot. That left C.J. Mizell in the middle and Myron Beck on the strong side. Talking with Beck afterward, he said Mizell is starting to get what it takes to be successful at this level and his practice ethic has improved greatly in the past two weeks. That was evident today as Mizell flew around and didn't take a play off, something Beck said has been a problem all fall. If Mizell can keep it up, he will be a fixture in the middle. ... Another freshman saw a lot of time at linebacker. Eric Oertel was healthy today and worked a lot at the Will spot. ... Toni Pole, who ran with the scout team Monday, was able to go full speed today and did just that, running with the second team in practice. He seemed OK and I won't be surprised if Saturday he becomes the 11th true freshman to play this season. ... In an attempt to simulate how quickly Oregon runs plays, there were two groups of offensive scouts that worked against the defense, each reading a play while the other ran it. At times, even some of the defensive starters were playing O-linemen against the backups. ... And that is what we've got.
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning with our usual post. Until then ...