Wulff: Cougars need to 'flush' loss

IT SEEMS ODD to suggest that a Pac-10 team that has not won a conference game since 2008 could be overconfident. But Washington State coach Paul Wulff suggested during his Sunday teleconference that might have occurred during the Cougars' 42-0 loss Saturday at Arizona State.

"You look at our progression ... those young guys were growing up," said Wulff, referring to his team's performance in conference play until Saturday. "But we got into a week here where everyone was telling them you have a chance. We didn't respond very well and got beat by a better football team. That's the bottom line."

Wulff also felt fans underestimated that the Sun Devils (4-4 overall, 2-3 conference) are better than many thought after they lost 50-17 at California on Oct. 23. ASU lost 20-19 against then-No. 11 Wisconsin and 42-31 the following week versus Oregon, which was ranked fifth at the time.

"I felt Arizona State played the best game of the year based on what I've seen on film," Wulff said. "They punched us in the mouth early and that set the tone. It was a physical football game."

The Sun Devils held the Cougars (1-8, 0-6) to eight rushing yards. They also forced three turnovers. Wulff said ASU has excellent speed in both its linebacking corps and in the secondary and great depth along the defensive line.

"Whether people believe me or not, that's the most talented defensive unit in the Pac-10," he said.

Wulff said the best way to approach a blowout win or loss is "to flush them."

"If you don't come to play every single week in this conference, you're going to get knocked in the mouth," he said. "We've got to understand how mature you have to be to fight, compete and win."

WSU returns to Martin Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday (TV: FSN) against California (4-4, 2-3). The Golden Bears were defeated 35-7 on Saturday at Oregon State and have lost all four of their road games by a combined score of 145-61.

"We've got a talented football team we're facing, but we've got them at home," Wulff said.

THIS INITIALLY WAS supposed to be a bye week for the Cougars, but Wulff said the game was moved up to adjust for TV scheduling. He said it was the simplest alteration for the conference to make because moving another game would have required significant changes. But the result was 11 consecutive games for WSU before its first bye after the Nov. 13 game at Oregon State.

"I knew it was going to be a huge mental and physical challenge to go 11 games," Wulff said. "We're going to have to grind ourselves through the strain."


  • The Cougars adjusted their offensive line during the game. John Fullington (right tackle), Wade Jacobson (left tackle) and Zack Williams (left guard) all moved from their original positions with Chris Prummer entering at center. Junior right guard B.J. Guerra was the only player who lined up in his regular spot.

    Since junior left tackle David Gonzales (fractured forearm) suffered a season-ending injury Oct. 16 against Arizona, WSU has started Fullington (left tackle), Guerra, Micah Hannam (right tackle), Jacobson (left guard) and Williams (center).

    Wulff said the moves were made because the coaching staff wanted to look at a different lineup -- the Sun Devils put consistent pressure on sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel -- and because of a lack of depth at tackle. Sophomores Tyson Pencer (pneumonia) is out indefinitely and Dan Spitz (torn right-shoulder labrum) is finished for the season.

    Beyond their normal starting lineup, Wulff said the only healthy reserves are redshirt freshman Elliott Bosch, Prummer and junior Andrew Roxas. He said sophomore Alex Reitnouer, whom Wulff wants to redshirt, remains a possibility to play if the line suffers further injuries. Sophomore tight end Skylar Stormo also has practiced at tackle.

  • Wulff said he is hopeful that his secondary can regain some players against California. He expects both redshirt freshman Anthony Carpenter (concussion), junior Aire Justin (concussion) and senior Chima Nwachukwu (hamstring) to return. Wulff also thinks senior linebacker Myron Beck, who suffered a stinger Saturday, and sophomore running back Carl Winston (hamstring) back for Saturday. He said redshirt freshman Sekope Kaufusi (shoulder) and senior running back James Montgomery (thigh contusion) will be evaluated as the week progresses.

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