Wulff's new-found security a hit with players

PULLMAN -- Players on 2-10 teams can frequently be heard muttering less-than-favorable comments about their coaches, but Washington State football players expressed delight after learning Sunday that head coach Paul Wulff and his staff are coming back in 2011.

"I'm excited -- real excited," junior wide receiver Jared Karstetter said. "I love playing for him."

"I like him," junior offensive guard Wade Jacobson said. "When you think about it, Wulff did an amazing job of recruiting."

Players like sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel and junior offensive guard B.J. Guerra had expressed strong support for Wulff when speculation was running rampant about Wulff's future.

"We're real close to him," Tuel said last week. "He's a real players' coach. Everyone is real close with him and respects him."

"I love what he's doing," Guerra said after Saturday's season-ending loss to Washington. "Everyone is buying in. We support him 100 percent."

Players and coaches of the Cougars as well as opponents said all season that WSU has made considerable progress under Wulff, despite another losing season. The Cougars started five freshmen much of the season, even though WSU's schedule was rated the third-most challenging in the country, according to the Sagarin computer rankings.

The Cougars played three consecutive Top 25 teams at one point.

"Coach Wulff and his staff have taken the strides compared to when they first got here," senior punter Reid Forrest said. "It's just going to continue to go up."

"The way I think of it, if they get rid of him, we'd be disrespected like we were three years ago," Jacobson said. "Keeping him another year, all our hard work is going to pay off."

Forrest and senior wide receiver Daniel Blackledge said they agree wholeheartedly with Jacobson.

"Next season, they're just going to have a tremendous team," Forrest said.

"It is definitely moving forward," Blackledge said Saturday. "This is a different team from last year and the year before. There is going to be a lot of improvement."

Jacobson and Tuel said they're excited about the abundance of talented young players on the Cougars.

"We turned a lot of heads this year," Jacobson said.

"We know we are a ball club to reckon with and we are going to be winning a lot of Pac-10 games," Tuel said. "We have that confidence and swagger going into the off-season."

Wulff stressed the need to improve grades, community involvement and character after he returned to his alma mater in December 2007 following a highly successful run at Eastern Washington. By all accounts, the Cougars have made considerable progress in those areas."He's a man of his word," Jacobson said. "I respect him highly. He does a lot for us."

"He supports us as players and does a good job about that," Karstetter said.

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