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WSU’s Wulff talks UCLA, Cougars


COUGARS

Paul Wulff had his usual Tuesday Pac-10 call and local media teleconference calls today, which means we have our usual summary of said calls. Read on.

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• Wulff was pretty damn honest about Saturday’s play on the Pac-10 call, calling out his defense for its tackling – reiterating the need for tough guys who want to knock the snot out of people – and the linebackers for their especially poor play. “We’ve got to get guys to come to the party and make some plays,” he said. … He did praise the offense, saying the first drive was excellent and that, for the first time since he’s been here, the Cougars went an entire game without a three-and-out against what he called “a good, quality defense.” … The local call was dominated – at first anyway, when I was asking my questions – with UCLA questions. Wulff said the difference between the Bruins now and the first two games is negligible. The Kansas State game was one of too many turnovers and the Stanford loss, well Stanford is just damn good. Against Houston and Texas, the defense has been playing with more abandon and the offense has committed to the run. … He talked at length about the defense, the big cornerbacks, the ability of the linebackers, and the dominance of Akeem Ayers, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound junior who Wulff said is someone you have to know where he is on every play. … The pistol offense came up and though UCLA isn’t running it as well as Nevada – where it was invented – is this season, they still are doing a good job because Kevin Prince is able to run the ball and Johnathan Franklin is adept at getting downhill in a hurry. … Even with that, Wulff expects UCLA to throw the ball a lot more Saturday than it has lately. Last year Prince hit 29 of 45 passes for more than 300 yards against WSU. … If WSU isn’t disciplined in its assignments and doesn’t tackle well, it could be a long day, Wulff said. … He talked a bit about the running backs and how none of the remaining four (Rickey Galvin was lost for the year in the opener) have distanced themselves from the rest. James Montgomery is still the starter – and Wullf mentioned again he feels Montgomery is doing well but should get stronger as the season wears on – but everyone has earned a chance to play. He hopes someone will step up and show they deserve the ball 15 to 20 times a game. … Chantz Staden should play this weekend. … The linebackers came under tough scrutiny once again, with Wulff saying Mike Ledgerwood is still bothered by the stinger, that Alex Hoffman-Ellis and Myron Beck have to be more consistent and that the freshmen backups will continue to get some time. … The attitude behind tackling was a major subject of discussion by Wulff again, saying that while fundamentals are important, the want-to is more important. … He admitted the senior leadership on defense isn’t very strong. They have been encouraged to speak up more by the coaches, but the group has trouble doing that. … The final question concerned the UCLA offensive line, which Wulff believes presents a real challenge. Which is true but also a surprise, because the five guys who are playing, even Rick Neuheisel this summer didn’t believe any of them would be starting where they are.

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• That’s all for now. We’ll be back after practice, so until then …


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