NOTEBOOK: Coaching 'em up
MIKE LEDGERWOOD
MIKE LEDGERWOOD
Cougfan.com Senior Editor
Posted Sep 8, 2008


WASHINGTON STATE, AS was shown against Cal, has a ways to go. And they have not clicked in the new offense as quickly as many had expected they would. There could also be some lineup changes this week. But Paul Wulff says the staff is focused on coaching 'em up, and they're not looking to make changes just for the sake of change.

Paul Wulff says the staff has not decided on any personnel changes but will do so over the course of the coming week.

"We're going to get to Tuesday and see exactly..who's healthy and see exactly who they all are. There may be a few changes here and there. But our deal is to coach these kids, and get them as good as they can possibly get. We're not here to push kids aside. We want to get the kids out there to help the team have the most success," said Wulff.

Injuries from the Cal game would appear to be few. Cory Evans has a slight stinger and may not fully participate in practice this week but Wulff said he expects he will be good to go for Baylor.

"There's a few other bumps and bruises but nothing at this point that we would think would keep anybody out of the game," said Wulff.

THE COUGS FOCUSED on Cal's power run all week, said Wulff, who also noted the Cougs needed to play disciplined, assignment perfect football across the board, something that didn't happen.

"(Cal is) good enough where if one guy doesn't fit in his gap, they're fast enough to get out and go a long ways and that occurred a few times. That's the scary thing when you face somebody that explosive, if you're not disciplined, they're going to beat you," said Wulff.

QUARTERBACK IS A position that may see a change this week. Starter Gary Rogers has had a rough two weeks to start the season and Wulff has said the Cougs need to get more out of the position. Wulff said he'll decide on whether Rogers or Kevin Lopina gets the start at Baylor possibly as early as Tuesday.

"We're going to look at it for the next couple days. We may have a decision on Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm not sure, but it's something we're mulling over as we speak, and we'll go from there once we have a better feel," said Wulff.

THERE WAS A point against Cal where Wulff had three true freshman linebackers on the field at the same time -- Louis Bland, Mike Ledgerwood and Tyree Toomer. They made mistakes, but wait 'til they're old enough to shave, said Wulff.

"(Bland), he did some good things, he got completely put on his back a few times and the running back ran right by him. But you can see some instincts where as he gets bigger and stronger, and more familiar with what he does, he's going to be a good football player. He can fly into those cracks and move around and make plays. I'm very encouraged about his potential along with (Ledgerwood and Toomer)...They still have their diapers on. We hope to get their diapers off soon," said Wulff.

IT WAS HOPED defensive tackle Toby Turpin might be able to play against Cal after surgery on Monday, having his thumb casted and getting in a little bit of work on Friday but that proved out of reach. Wulff said he hopes to have Turpin back for Baylor.

"I think he'll be back. We sure need that kid to step up and give us some sense of depth," said Wulff.

And that lack of depth on the d-line is illustrative on the challenge facing the Cougs this year at most of the positions. Wulff said walk-on Adam Hineline, who started up front for the Cougs, and Matt Eichelberger, had their hands full. Wulff even put defensive end Matt Mullennix inside for a few series.

"It's tough when you're going against a first round draft pick at center and maybe the best offensive lineman in all of college football," said Wulff, an award winning center himself during his playing days at WSU. "Matt Eichelberger has been a journeyman here. It's pretty tough, for those kids to hold up all game so we need to get some guys in there to spell (them.)"

D-end Jessy Sanchez injured a shoulder early in the week and was unavailable for Cal. He's likely to be questionable for this week, and perhaps beyond, said Wulff, until an MRI comes in and the medical staff can further evaluate him.

ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE, Wulff said some of the mistakes can most certainly be corrected. He also said, however, the lack of experience and depth likely means more growing pains.

"We can get better on a lot of things -- some of it we've got a lot of young kids shuffling in and out," said Wulff. "We had an injury at the beginning of the week (starter Andrew Roxas) so it forced us to play some guards that had never played guard before in a game. We've just got to perform better. And we can get better, and we've just got to look at it that way.

"We're youthful enough where we should make some big strides, but we also have to be prepared that we're going to make some mistakes at times."

WULFF AND STAFF spent more time this spring than they expected working on basic fundamentals -- time that they had hoped to spend on further implementing their offensive and defensive plays and schemes. But few expected the early season returns would be a combined 16 points through the first two games. They've still only put somewhere around 50 percent of the offense in -- and the Cougs are still struggling with it.

"Offensively, a lot of opportunities there that we just couldn't capitalize on...there were things available to us but we just didn't get all 11 guys functioning as one -- that was a big, big issue for us," said Wulff. "Whether it was just getting beat physically or an execution mistake, the combination occurred.

"They're quiet. No one's happy, but they're okay right now."



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