Paul Wulff's time with the media was longer than any of the other Pac-10 coaches Tuesday. And he was on his local conference call for more than 22 minutes, as far as I can remember close to a record. If you want to know what he had to say, you'll have to read on.
• Because there's always an audio file of Wulff's conference call up at CougCenter sometime in the afternoon, we will spend our time summarizing and paraphrasing what he had to say. Let's start with the Pac-10 call, which is a sneak preview of the longer local one. ... Really, the only thing Wulff was asked that was different than the later call was about the team's attitude, which Wulff sees as good. He said they understand they did a lot of good things against Oklahoma State that the teams the previous two years never could have accomplished. He reiterated something he said Sunday and Monday night: the mistakes were ones that can be fixed, unlike previous years. What he means by that, I'm sure, is that the Cougars were not physically overmatched, not too slow to catch guys, too weak to handle guys, too shallow to have rest. The mistakes were more non-systemic ones, missing an assignment, not making connections on a handoff, not communicating. Things the players on the field can fix. ... I started to later call asking about Montana State. The Bobcats are a veteran team, especially on defense. It probably help the MSU cause that both Kansas and Mississippi lost to FCS schools last weekend, bringing the chance of an upset even more front and center in the Cougars' minds. Besides, Wulff said, this isn't a team that can look past anybody. They have to get better, starting playing at their best, to reach their potential. ... I also asked about MSU's quarterback Denarius McGhee, who can make plays with his feet and arm. But he's also a redshirt freshman who has played one college game. Wulff said it's obvious he's a good athlete with a strong arm who seemed to make the right calls in the Bobcats' opener. The MSU attack has balance, Wulff said, and McGhee's a big reason for that. ... Later, Wulff talked more about MSU, saying they had tough, good character guys who are going to play hard and "they are a damn good football team," that executes and is not going to beat itself. ... Wulff and Montana State coach Rob Ash are friends, with the relationship going back a few years. ... He also said MSU assistant Rob McEndoo, the former Cougar offensive lineman, was considered for a position at WSU and would be considered in the future because he is one of the best up-and-coming coaches in the country. ...
• Wulff answered some injury questions, talking about Kristoff Williams, who is out for this week but, as we said last night, might be available for SMU and Toni Pole, who is still battling the calf problems. The swelling in Pole's calf, Wulff said, is still too intense to allow him to practice. ... Jared Karstetter will be at practice today, albeit in a yellow, non-contact jersey. ... Gino Simone will take it slow this week but should play. ... Wulff talked more about Jared Byers injury, saying he didn't like the way Byers was submarined and hit right on the kneecap. He said a doctor told him a few more inches and Byers' kneecap might have been dislocated and his career done. Wulff then went into a long discussion on the ethics of tackling and what constitutes a clean hit. ... Byers, as we said last night, will have surgery but should be out no more than six months. ... To replace Byers, Marcus Richmond will play more and Andrei Lintz and Chantz Staden will work at the position. ... Louis Bland is moving better but probably will still redshirt. ... Wulff said there are no starter changes, yet. But he did single out the play of two backup offensive linemen: Andre Roxas and John Fullington, and said those two along with Tyson Pencer are pushing for time. Roxas, in fact, ran with the ones on Monday, as we passed on last night. ... There was also some discussion of the linebacking spots, with Wulff saying C.J. Mizell played well and that seemed to perk him up, meaning the true freshman already has worked harder at practice and in video study this week. Those are the areas he needs to improve if he wants to get on the field more. ... Finally, the no-huddle wasn't in evidence last week. I asked if the youth at quarterback had anything to do with that and Wulff said yes, along with the callow wide receivers that were used. He still hopes to build enough experience to be able to play it all the time.
• That's all for now. We'll be back after practice. Until then ...