PAUL WULFF AND his coaching staff last year, as he's said often and again Saturday, probably tried to do too much too fast and the players weren't ready for it. With a better sense of his personnel in Year 2, improved performance across the board is the expectation. There's an injury update from Wulff plus lots of other news and notes on the eve of fall camp.
Among those on defense Paul Wulff said have done solid work and made strides this offseason -- S Chima Nwachukwu, DT Toby Turpin, DE Kevin Kooyman, LB Myron Beck and CB Brandon Jones.
On offense, Wulff singled out OT Micah Hannam, OT Joe Eppele, TE Zach Tatman, QB Marshall Lobbestael and RB Dwight Tardy.
For some of the aforementioned, Wulff said, their strides had in part to do with how hard they worked in rehabbing injuries.
"Those are just a few. I think there's definitely going to be quite a few more that have stepped up and proved themselves," said Wulff.
WULFF EXPECTS A battle royale at QB between Lobbestael and Kevin Lopina for the starting job. He also plans on giving others, such as J.T. Levenseller and true frosh Jeff Tuel, for example, as many reps as they can to see what they've got. Logic dictates the starting QB job does figure however to come down to the two most experienced guys.
"We've got a lot of football ahead of us this camp, and I really believe it is open. And I'm not going to rule out (the other) quarterbacks on our roster... We just hope that somebody really, really steps up and takes the bull by the horns, really leads the team and performs well," said Wulff.
A POTENTIAL STARTER at defensive tackle, Bernard Wolfgramm (back) has been cleared to play but is still dealing with a lingering nerve issue.
"His back is actually doing well. He's in okay (physical) shape, not great shape. The issue we're still having is he's dealing a little bit with nerves they're trying to get fired in his calf. He's cleared to play, he's just not 100 percent. We're going to work through that in fall camp," said Wulff.
ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE, Kevin Freitag was the third string right guard on the depth chart. But he just had recent toe surgery -- and the projection is he will miss the entire year.
BACKUP CENTER, AND potentially in the starting mix at guard, Andrew Roxas (undisclosed injury or illness) won't be ready to go at the start of fall camp, Wulff said. He could, however, be ready before too much time goes by.
As has been oft-mentioned, LB Louis Bland (knee) will be limited and may not be ready by the Sep. 5 opener against Stanford. CB Terrance Hayward (shoulder) and S Jay Matthews (shoulder) are likely to be cleared to participate, but probably with no contact early on.
THE DEFENSIVE LINE doesn't have a large number of bodies in the mix to start fall camp. That means two things..
"We have to make sure those guys keep getting better and stay healthy...There is potential there for those guys to all get a lot better," said Wulff.
WITH A STABLE of six running backs who have seen time in the Pac-10, WSU is expected to run the ball much more effectively than in '08.
"As long as those guys are playing well and the offensive line is blocking well, I see that as being something we need to hang our hat on," said Wulff.
WULFF SAID HE has high expectations of Montgomery, but is also very intrigued to see the competition between him and Tardy, who is now healthy again after playing last year rounding back into form following a torn ACL.
"(Montgomery) does a lot of things well -- he catches the ball well, he blocks well. As a runner...he's more of a slasher. He's a good all around player," said Wulff.
WULFF WILL SIT out the first three fall camp practices as part of the NCAA ruling on issues when Wulff was at Eastern. Wulff said he'll be working on mapping out recruiting strategy and other tasks in his office for the two hours the players are on the field. He also said he doesn't expect it to have an effect on the flow of practice.
"I don't think it will matter a whole lot. Practices have been thoroughly scripted out. I'm very confident in where our staff and our player are at...I'll have plenty or work to do," said Wulff.
PERHAPS THE No. 1 priority on offense headed into fall camp -- taking care of the football.
Wulff noted that WSU led the nation in turnovers last season, and that translated to a huge number of points scored against.