Latest from The Spokesman-Review
FROM PULLMAN — At least two former Washington State football players will have a chance to earn their way onto NFL rosters this season. And the Cougars got a commitment from an in-state player whose WSU career is still ahead of him. Keep reading.
FROM PULLMAN — It didn't take long for Jeff Tuel to sign a free-agent deal after going undrafted.
The former WSU quarterback announced on his Twitter page today that he has signed with the Buffalo Bills. That's not all that surprising, considering Buffalo was one of the places Tuel visited prior to the draft and the Bills had shown more interest than most teams.
Proud and excited to be a #Bill— Jeff Tuel (@qb10jvt) April 28, 2013
FROM SEATTLE — We trekked across the state last night and are in Seattle a few days ahead of WSU's game against Buffalo here on Friday. But that doesn't mean there wasn't any work to be done yesterday. Read on.
(UPDATE: Here's the unedited version of the story we're filing for tomorrow's paper)
FROM PULLMAN – Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel will no longer seek a fifth year of eligibility from the NCAA and will instead begin working toward an NFL career, Tuel confirmed to the Spokesman-Review.
The Seattle Times was the first to report Tuel’s decision.
Tuel sought the fifth year due to the amount of time he missed during the 2011 season. He broke his collarbone in WSU’s season-opener that year, missed the team’s next four games, then returned and played in one full game before reinjuring the collarbone in the first half of a game against Oregon State.
Tuel missed the rest of that season after being diagnosed with compartment syndrome.
Because that Oregon State game was WSU’s seventh of the season – meaning it came in the second half of the Cougars’ schedule – Tuel’s appeal was widely thought to be a long shot.
“It’s just all a big ‘if,’ and I’m not going to put my future on if,” Tuel said. “So the decision had to be made.”
FROM PULLMAN — We have a few notes for you this afternoon, along with some comments from quarterback Jeff Tuel as the Cougars prepare for Stanford. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Washington State senior quarterback Jeff Tuel was one of three Cougars players selected to speak with the media today. He answered questions for about 10 minutes.
WSU coach Mike Leach said Tuel will take the starter's reps with the No. 1 offense this week, an indication that he probably has a better chance than Connor Halliday to start against Stanford on Oct. 27.
Here are Tuel's comments, some of which are more enlightening than most we've heard this season.
FROM PULLMAN — If we had to guess who Washington State's starting quarterback will be on Saturday, we'd feel at least semi-comfortable saying …
FROM PULLMAN — With last week being a day short and this week being a day long, Washington State took Saturday off and returned to the practice field for its usual Sunday night practice session. We have some notes, so read on.
FROM PULLMAN — There was plenty to observe during practice, which meant there was also plenty to talk about afterward. So let's get right to it. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Obviously, there's one question on everyone's mind when it comes to who practiced and who didn't for Washington State on Monday: who biked the fastest? Wait, that's not it. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN -- Move it along folks. Nothing to see here.
That, predictably, was the tone of the response by coach Mike Leach and quarterback Jeff Tuel to questions about Tuel's apparent leg injury, which he suffered on the first play of the fourth quarter. He didn't return to the game and was seen walking on the sidelines with an ice pack wrapped on the inside of his right knee.
"He took me out because I was just actually feeling too good," Tuel said.
"We don’t have injuries around here so he’s 100 percent and I would think if anything, he can run a 4.5 now instead of a 4.7," Leach quipped.
There obviously is no way of knowing how long Tuel might be out, or whether it's major or minor. Tuel was hit low after releasing the ball by Eastern Washington's Jerry Ceja. Tuel stayed on the turf for a while before walking off under his own power.
Trainers examined his right leg on the sidelines, then wrapped an ice bag around his knee area. Connor Halliday relieved him at quarterback.
FROM PULLMAN — Well, it wasn't easy. Or pretty. And the biggest concern at the moment is likely the health of Jeff Tuel, who left the game after taking a low hit on the first play of the fourth quarter and didn't return.
Tuel walked off the field under his own power, and trainers applied an ice bag to the inside of his right knee. He was able to walk without much of a limp.
Eastern Washington made things very interesting by finishing a 99-yard touchdown drive to pull within 24-20 with 2L17 left in the game. And the Eagles got the ball back with a chance to win the game, but Kyle Padron's hail marypass from the WSU 32-yard line was knocked away as time expired.
We'll have plenty more on the blog after interviews.
FROM PULLMAN — OK, so they weren't terrible numbers.
Jeff Tuel did complete 30 of 45 passes for an acceptable completion percentage of 66.7. That's not awful. But it wasn't great that he didn't throw any touchdowns, threw two interceptions and seemed to hold onto the ball too long.
That's what Thursday's loss to Brigham Young looked like to anyone who saw it. And it looked the same on film.
"I need to play better and get through my reads quicker and really disperse the ball," Tuel said Monday. "And when guys aren’t open, I need to find my backs and just put the ball in play really, that’s the biggest thing."
He didn't do that so well on Thursday, though part of the issue also stemmed from a lack of pass protection at times.
Tuel was asked if he wishes he'd pulled the ball down and run on a couple of plays when receivers weren't open. He said that, yes, there were certainly times when that would have been the right thing to do.
"I was maybe just a little too passive in the game, and maybe at times trying to be someone I wasn’t," Tuel said. "I've made plays with my legs my whole career here, and I need to continue to do that and give the defense problems with it. There were definitely opportunities for me to take off and run that I should have taken advantage of."
Is that OK with coach Mike Leach?
"Coach Leach always says he’d rather watch one of the running backs or the receivers run with it than me," Tuelsaid. "But I can’t let that affect my play, and if I see something, I need to go ahead and take it and just get the yards there. We’re learning each other and that’s what this is all about. Just continue to grow."
Moving past the BYU loss won't be an issue, Tuel said.
"If you guys are expecting us to sit around and mope for the whole week, you’re wrong," Tuel said. "Because that’s not what’s going to happen here anymore. Those times are over."
More from Tuel …
FROM PULLMAN — Now that the season has started, it seems we're going to see shorter practices, as coach Mike Leach is want to do once games are played. So the Cougars practiced for about an hour and a half on Sunday, and we have plenty of notes to pass along from the session.
FROM PROVO, UTAH — They're limited, but we do have some postgame quotes from both teams to pass along for you. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Big plays dominated Washington State's scrimmage. Big plays that involved a few different receivers and both of the Cougars' competitors for the starting quarterback job. Read on for more.
FROM PULLMAN — The defense recorded 12 sacks during WSU's scrimmage of 115 plays or so on Saturday, but the offense got its licks in, too. In other words, it was standard fare for a mid-spring scrimmage. Read on for a whole bunch of words about it.
FROM PULLMAN — In the days leading up to the start of spring practices at Washington State, we're going to take a quick, capsulated look at each position group, just to refresh everyone's memories. Up first: the quarterbacks.
Since they let the fans pick the uniforms online last week, maybe the next step for the Washington State Cougars is to let them call the plays from the stands. On the next-to-last snap before halftime here Saturday night, quarterback Jeff Tuel ducked and wiggled and shuffled to buy himself more time for a pass downfield, and what he bought himself was a long incompletion and a vicious lick from Oregon State linebacker Tony Wilson. One second remained and WSU coach Paul Wulff, even with a timeout in his pocket, either out of compassion or common sense ordered Tuel to take a knee on the final play rather than wager on a miracle from midfield. And thousands among the 49,219 gathered – egads, they drew more here for Grambling – for the misbegotten idea of the Cougs ceding a Pacific-12 Conference home game off campus booed/John Blanchette, SR. More here. (AP photo: Coach Paul Wulff, right, protests an unnecessary roughness penalty)
Question: Is it time to get a new coach and a new direction for Washington State?