Scouting Report: Washington State

This is a tough one as the Washington State Cougars have a new staff with new head coach Paul Wulff. Most of that staff came with Wulff from Eastern Washington where had been for all 15 years of his coaching career, including the past eight years as head coach.

Wulff is a tough man that was a standout center earning All-America honors as a senior at Washington State. You have the motivation of coming back to work for your alma mater (OSU knows that with Mike Gundy) and Wulff lost his mother when he was young as she disappeared and was presumed murdered. His father was accused of the crime but was later tried and exonerated.

Wulff also lost his first wife to cancer, so he is an individual that has met tragedy and dealt with it head on and overcome it. He will bring that personality to his team. When asked about it, he refused to single himself out.

"I sure hope with the staff we have built and with our system that we can get things going in the direction we all want to be," answered Wulff. "We have to plan and we do feel that we have a lot to offer these young guys as a staff. It is a lot more than playing football and our goal is for these guys, first and foremost, to become great young people and get them to be as solid as they can be off the field and then that will translate onto the football field and give us some consistency."

Oklahoma State fans need to hope that consistency doesn't materialize this coming Saturday. The signs in camp point to that not being the case as they have loads of injuries and according to reports lots of mistakes. Below is your look at the Cougars.

Offense
Coordinator: Todd Sturdy
Wulff will be very active on that side of the ball but he brought Sturdy with him after only working with him for one year at EWU. Sturdy, who also coaches quarterbacks, was a head coach at his alma mater, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Sturdy was 85-40 as a head coach and he is a spread offense guy that actually came over to coaching offense after having served as a defensive coordinator.

Key Players:
Brandon Gibson, WR, 6-1, 202, Sr. - All Pac-10 with 67 receptions for 1,180 yards and 9 touchdowns last season.

Devin Frischknecht, TE, 6-3, 256, Sr. - Possession receiver and strong blocker at tight end.

Vaughn Lesuma, LT, 6-5, 340, Sr. - Has been injured some but is unquestioned leader on the OL.

Kenny Alfred, OC, 6-2, 293, Jr. - Stout blocker that is a tough guy in the image of his new head coach.

Dwight Tardy, RB, 5-11, 212, So. - Rushed for 699 yards and 14 touchdowns on 143 carries before an ACL tear.

Chris Ivory, RB 6-0, 228, Jr. - Run game did not drop off much when Tardy was injured, but both have been gimpy in camp.

Jared Karstetter, WR, 6-4, 195, Fr. - True freshman that will play because of injuries, Wulff likes his competiveness.

Gary Rogers, QB, 6-7, 234, Sr. - Fifth-year senior has little experience other than holding, will need confidence early.

What the head coach has to say:
On Gary Rogers having a strong arm: "He does and he is still working on getting in sync with the receivers. We've had a few injuries so we've been moving guys around and we haven't been able to get a lot of rhythm yet and we are hoping that we can sustain some rhythm in our first game."

On needing to rely on Brandon Gibson: "We have to (rely on Brandon Gibson). He is an explosive football player and an experienced player and we need him to do well. We need the guys around him to do well also so everyone can't just isolate on Brandon. We have some others kids that can do that and the more we spread the ball around then the better Brandon is going to be able to do and help the team."

Defense
Coordinators: Chris Ball and Jody Sears

Ball is the guy that will call it as he comes back to Washington State for a third stint, after most recently coaching the secondary at Pittsburgh. He has also coached the secondary at Alabama under Mike Shula and was on that staff that faced OSU in the Independence Bowl, so he has seen the OSU offensive system before and prepared against it.

Sears is a former wide receiver at Washington State that is thick in the Wulff and Todd Sturdy coaching family. He was with Sturdy at St. Ambrose and preeceded Sturdy to EWU coming to the Eagles in 2003 as defensive coordinator.

Key Players:
A'I Ahmu, DT, 6-0, 292, Sr. - Very intelligent leader on the defensive line, 22 tackles and one sack in 2007.

Andy Mattingly, DE, 6-4, 241, Jr. - Very productive with 91 tackles, 11 tfl, and eight sacks in 2007.

Cory Evans, SLB, 6-2, 240, Sr. - Leader that had 84 tackles, 10.5 tfl, 1.5 sacks, and an interception last season.

Greg Trent, MLB, 5-11, 220, Sr. - Another leader by example that had 89 tackles last season.

Chima Nwachukwa, SS, 5-11, 189, So. - Played in all 12 games as a freshman and has had a huge camp.

Alfonso Jackson, CB, 5-9, 204, Sr. - Had two interceptions last season; missed three games with a concussion.

What the head coach says:

On how the defense has performed in preseason camp: "We've done some good things and we've done some things that aren't so good. We have really pushed our players very hard, trying to get them prepared as fast as we could in the time that we're allowed. I kind of feel like the defense has made some strides. We have been pleased with some of the veteran players and the strides they have made in stepping up and that has been nice. We need to acquire some more depth. It has been an issue here, depth in our program, and it has been no different on defense. If we can get some young players top step up and perform on the defensive side of the ball during the season then I think we have a chance to be a fairly solid defense."

On the defensive leaders: "I think Greg Trent, our middle linebacker, is a big cog in our team. He's been a guy that has been a very, very good football player in out program. Corey Evans has been another linebacker that has played quite a bit of football and has shown great leadership skills, and then Alfonso Jackson is a cornerback that played last year and is a good solid player. Those are three guys that have been playing well and they are good solid leaders and have been doing a great job."

Special Teams
Coordinator: Steve Broussard

A former Washington State great at running back that spent nine years in the NFL, Broussard comes home after having coached running backs and wide receivers at Portland State. There is no telling how this will go as there is a three-way battle for the kicker's job, the punter is out with an injury, and you are not totally sure what schemes they will run.

Key Players:

Dan Wagner, P/QB, 5-11, 209, Fr. - Scout QB may get the call to fill in for injured punter Reid Forrest.

Wade Penner, Nico Grasu, Patrick Rooney - Three players battling for kicking job, Penner kicked two PATs last season and the other two are transfers.

Brandon Gibson, WR/Ret, 6-1, 202, Sr. - Only returned two kickoffs last season.

What the head coach says:"I feel like we're not where we want to be right today. We have an opportunity to be solid in our special teams, but we have some unproven guys that on game day haven't really proven it. The ability is there, but they haven't proven it. We are just hoping in this first ball game they can perform."

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