Coach Paul Wulff just finished his Tuesday afternoon local press conference and the subjects ranged from facing Idaho State and its coach Mike Kramer – who has a long history with Wulff – to personnel questions among the Cougars. Read on.
• As most of you know, Kramer gave Wulff his first job in coaching, when they both were at Eastern Washington, and Wulff returned the favor last season, giving Kramer a spot at WSU and helping the former Montana State coach get back into coaching after problems in Bozeman. Though there is respect and affection between the two, Wulff said he wouldn't have a problem winning Saturday's game by 35 points, which gets more to the nature of coaching than the nature of their friendship. Wulff did admit, however, that he's least a 500-word underdog to the gregarious Kramer. ... Asked about the cornerback battles, Wulff said the thing that's set Damante Horton apart in camp is his consistency. Wulff said Daniel Simmons has shown flashes, though he needs to be more consistent, and Nolan Washington (hamstring) has had trouble getting on the field, so it's hard to tell how he's progressing. ... With Washington, Wulff would label him probable for Saturday, though he has to progress through the week. He's also putting the same label on Travis Long (knee sprain). ... Wulff reiterated what he's been saying all camp about Adam Coerper, who has used physical play, especially against the run, to vault atop the depth chart at left defensive end. He's another player that has to be more consistent, Wulff added. ... I asked Wulff if there was anything that surprised him and he had something. He said he was pleasantly surprised in how well the Cougars practiced throughout camp, their consistency of effort and focus. ... I followed up asking if there was anything that disappointed him and he paused for a second then said no. And he was sure of it because he's seen a lot of disappointment in the past few years. That shouldn't be interpreted that he's satisfied, however, because he emphasized the need to continue to improve. ... Asked if he thought WSU hit enough in camp, Wulff said yes. The plan was to hit a lot in the spring, then throttle back some in the fall and WSU followed that plan. He added hitting is done to improve tackling and practice film showed the Cougars were a better tackling team in live team drills and got themselves in better positions to make tackles even when the drills weren't live. ... Wulff praised the camp linebacker C.J. Mizell had. ... More than once Wulff stressed, with the changeover in the coaching staff, there's not a lot of film on Idaho State, so the Cougars have to concentrate on what they do and be ready to adjust throughout the game. ... Asked about freshman linebackers Darryl Monroe and Chester Su'a, Wulff was effusive in his praise. He mentioned Monroe's maturity and polish, his hitting ability and his speed. He said Su'a was not as polished, but it is tough to keep a kid who is that athletic off the field. ... I asked about the schedule and if the first three weeks set up as sort of a preseason for the Pac-12 and Wulff said it sort of looks like that. But the Cougars won't be making wholesale changes in any game, though everyone who has earned the right to get on the field will get on the field. That includes the two guys – Marshall Lobbestael and Connor Halliday – who are battling for the backup quarterback job. Wulff is going to try to get both playing time when he can. ... As for Wulff's Pac-12 call, held earlier Tuesday, Wulff didn't cover much more, other than to say he thought the offensive line would be "much improved" this season. He also believes the offense has all the pieces to play the way he's always wanted to play, which is a lot faster than they have in the past. ... And that's about it, except here is the video of Wulff's local conference, courtesy of WSU's athletic department ...
• That's all for now. We'll be back after practice this afternoon. Until then ...