We're back in the Inland Northwest and will be for the next week or so, thanks to a home game in Pullman this Saturday (and yes, we've almost forgotten what those are like). Paul Wulff had his postgame press call this afternoon, so if you want to know what he had to say, read on.
• As is the case in all close losses, Wulff saw a couple different key elements that led to the Cougars' demise. One was the big plays made by UCLA in the passing game. It was quite obvious to me the WSU defense went into the game knowing it had to limit the Bruin running game and to do that, it was going to leave some opportunities for UCLA through the air. The Cougars challenged the Bruins to make plays and they made just enough. ... Another element in the defeat Wulff pointed out concerned the Cougars four field goal drives and UCLA's four touchdown drives. If just one of those had ended differently, WSU wins. ... Though UCLA tried hard to limit the Cougars' chances of a big passing game, Wulff said, the opportunities were still there. The plays just weren't made. ... I asked Wulff about Kevin Prince's play in relief of the injured Richard Brehaut and he couldn't have said nicer things about the Bruins' backup quarterback. He made plays, Wulff said, with his feet and his arm. ... The Cougars switched kickers on their kickoffs halfway through and Wulff said they are still searching for consistency from the spot. The coverage has been excellent, he said, but the kickoffs haven't. ... Junior Dan Spitz did pretty well in his first offensive line start Wulff said, though of course he added there were some things he'll need to clean up. With Spitz, Matt Goetz (a sophomore who made his first start against Colorado) and John Fullington (a sophomore) playing together much of the time Saturday, the Cougars are building depth for next season. Wade Jacobson's lower back problem, which led to Spitz's start, will be evaluated by more than one doctor this week and a treatment plan will be put into place. Wulff hopes he'll be back on the field quickly. ... The subject of Jeff Tuel's shoulder came up and Wulff said nothing's changed. The next evaluation is still scheduled for Wednesday. Asked about a medical hardship, Wulff said that's still an alternative as Tuel has yet to be cleared. If he's not cleared, the fact Tuel played just a handful of plays in the opener would make it a possibility. But that's for down the road and Wulff is still hoping Tuel will be cleared sooner rather than later. ... There were no injuries of note from Saturday, though Sekope Kaufusi has a sore shoulder and Isiah Barton rolled an ankle. Punt returner Leon Brooks should be back this week. ... Asked about C.J. Mizell's play on the game's final snap, Wulff said he didn't see a problem with it. It was still a one-score game, Wulff said, and Mizell was trying to force a mishap. If it had been a two- or three-score game, Wulff added, it might have been a little over the edge, but the outcome was still in doubt. ... Now Stanford comes in, ranked seventh in the nation and riding a long winning streak. Wulff emphasized how important the crowd could be this week and he hopes Martin Stadium will be packed. ... One last note. Take a look at the coaches' poll from today. Look at the others receiving votes. There's a school getting one vote that lost to UNLV. How can a poll have any validity if Hawaii received a 25th-place vote? Ridiculous.
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning. Until then ...