Coug players mum on recent hullabaloo

JEFF TUEL and MIKE LEACH

PULLMAN -- In the wake of an explosive 24 hours at Washington State, players were reluctant to speak Monday on the turmoil from within the program. While uncertainty looms, and answers are few and far between, one thing rings true, there remains football to be played.

"I couldn't tell you," said senior quarterback Jeff Tuel on Marquess Wilson's future, who also said his reaction was one of "disbelief" that Wilson had left the Cougs' Sunday "workout".

Wilson has been officially suspended by WSU. Sources have told CF.C that Wilson has departed the program. Regardless of whether Wilson comes back in the fold, the 2012 season has turned tumultuous.

"We just need to step away from it all," Tuel said. "It's our day off."

Distraught and clearly reeling from an emotional week, senior Travis Long declined to comment on the turbulent matters at hand, instead electing to rally the troops. Long said following Saturday's contest it wasn't the first time he thought the team wouldn't be going to a bowl game.

"Just got to keep fighting," Long said. "I'm going to encourage these guys to keep fighting."

Long has been quintessential leader in 2012, drawing praise week after week from players and coaches. Effort has never been a problem for the soft-spoken Spokane native, something that was readily apparent in Sunday night's ‘workout' session.

"Travis was the only one," said Tuel of the team's effort Sunday night. "He was screaming and hollering for more. He was the only one."

A lack of effort has been at the center of the firestorm that erupted after the loss to Utah, when Mike Leach questioned the drive of some Coug players in general.

"Coaches think we need better effort and I agree with him," Long said.

Tuel not only agreed with Long and Leach, but added that if effort isn't had, making an example of players not displaying effort shouldn't come as a surprise. Bringing the entire offensive and defensive lines to the forefront to answer questions from the media Saturday was a prime example.

"I mean, he changed it up," said Tuel, seemingly sarcastically opining on the call-out. "Gave some other guys a chance to answer questions."

"It's been frustrating," said freshman Brett Bartolone of the season. "There's going to be a lot of guys giving more effort now."

Bartolone, clearly identifying the precedent that has been set by the coaching staff, said he doesn't know what this team will look like at the end of the season.

"Possibly, I don't know," said Bartolone of the possibility of more players leaving soon. "We'll see I guess."

Both Long and Bartolone refused to comment on the Wilson matter, instead electing to focus on the task at hand -- UCLA.

"We've got to respond," Long said. "And we will."



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