PULLMAN – No matter what happens between the lines Saturday, college football coaches spend the next day dissecting the results. Over and over again, in dark offices, they break down the game tape, going back and forth over each play.
They’re looking for teachable moments.
Paul Wulff thinks he found the mother lode this week.
“(It’s) possibly one of the better tapes we can use to learn off of,” the Washington State University coach said Sunday. “There’s a lot of good to show, and some things that went wrong for us that were our own demise.
“There’s some very good teaching stuff on this tape.”
Watching the season-opening 39-13 defeat by Stanford cemented Wulff’s post-game thoughts.
“We had a few missed assignments on special teams that really hurt us,” Wulff said. “We had some guys in the right positions, but just enough who were not that it really cost us.
“When we had the big plays against us we had a few mishaps that technically we just weren’t in position to handle.”
So, with Western Athletic Conference foe Hawaii on tap Saturday at Qwest Field in Seattle, it’s back to the practice field this afternoon with those moments fresh in the players’ minds.
The Warriors are coming off a 25-20 home win over Central Arkansas, a Football Championship Subdivision school that led 20-19 late in the fourth quarter.
“This is just an important week to get back and fix some things,” Wulff said. “We’ve got to work extremely hard. This is a big week to take a big step.”
Whether the Cougars will take that step playing one quarterback or two, Wulff wouldn’t say. WSU used Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael almost equally against the Cardinal.
“We haven’t decided that yet,” he said. “We just watched the film, graded it but we haven’t spent time yet deciding on that direction.”
Wulff wouldn’t even say if Lopina, who was 10 of 16 for 122 yards passing and led WSU to all 13 points, would start again this week.
But he did say he wasn’t satisfied with the offensive line’s pass protection – Stanford had three sacks and three quarterback hurries – and that would be a point of emphasis this week.
“I was not happy at the end,” Wulff said of the protection. “There were some things there we’ve been working on and we just didn’t quite get it done.”
Which was the case for everyone Saturday. And the subject of the teachable moments.
“There’s some drive because we know we can clean some things up,” Wulff said, “and we know there’s potential for a tremendous amount of improvement for our football team. I think we’re all anxious to get back to work to make those strides.”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.