WULFF: The last thing we're going to do is...
PAUL WULFF
PAUL WULFF
Cougfan.com Correspondent
Posted Sep 29, 2008


WASHINGTON STATE has had two bad beats in two Pac-10 games. There are a few position battles to be waged this practice week and the Cougs are about 50-50 on if they'll get back a couple defensive starters in time for UCLA. But there is also one thing the coaches won't do as they point towards the Bruins game and the rest of the season.

Paul Wulff has been candid in saying that a culture change will be necessary before WSU returns to winning ways on the field. And in laying out the roadmap of how to get from here to there, Wulff said what to do and what not to do, is clear.

"The last thing we're going to do is get real, real negative," said Wulff. "We're going to just keep working hard. And (to foster) an environment where they're going to continue keep winning and growing -- and that's the best thing we can do for the players that are on this team right now and for the future of the club."

Wulff said the Cougs are looking to think of in terms of a one-game season, with UCLA on tap. The Cougs have, at times over the first five weeks, had their moments but they've been too few and far between. The challenge in front of the Cougs headed down to L.A. is to play a more consistent brand of football.

"We've got a team that we think, if we can get better this week, we can go down and compete to win," said Wulff. "That's going to be our only focus. We're need to make sure we take care of the football and try to play as hard as we can."

POSITION BATTLES ON the offensive line this practice week are likely to include Joe Eppele challenging for the right tackle job. Micah Hannam has started all five games there. At left tackle, Steven Ayers will battle with Vaughn Lesuma.

"We'll be fairly youthful in our offensive line if that's the direction we end up going," said Wulff.

If Eppele and Ayers start, the Cougar o-line would feature a freshman (Ayers), three sophomores (Eppele, RG Andrew Roxas, LG Brian Danaher), and a junior (C Kenny Alfred).

THE COUGS MAY get back a couple defensive starters to help shore up their defense, with Wulff putting the odds at 50-50 early in the week. DE Kevin Kooyman has a "little bit of a high ankle" sprain. His availability for Saturday as well as that of linebacker Cory Evans (hamstring) probably won't be known until late in the week and/or could be game time decisions.

Missing Evans and Kooyman certainly didn't help matters on Saturday but the issues on defense go beyond the absence of two starters, said Wulff.

"For us to be successful on defense when we face a really good team...we've got to be 100 percent right..in our execution and every kid has to be in the exact right spot," said Wulff. "For us to have success we've got to be that right."

WSU has forced few turnovers on defense this year but getting "right" doesn't mean the Cougs will now start taking big gambles ot concentrate more on stripping the ball rather than making the tackle.

"If we're going to grow our kids and grow our program, we have to hang our hat on something in the base defense. We need to make sure we're sound and doing the things we need to do..it's a fine line -- if you blitz, you need to get there," said Wulff.

Coming out of the Oregon game, there was the usual assortment of bumps and bruises but WR Daniel Blackledge (shoulder) looked to be the only one early in the week who would be considered questionable for Saturday. Wulff was cautiously optimistic, pending more tests today, on his availability for UCLA.



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