WSU coach Paul Wulff, who was attending the American Football Coaches Association convention in Dallas, was not available for comment. The story first was reported by FootballScoop.com. That website, a coaching-job clearinghouse, later reported that linebackers coach Travis Niekamp also was not retained, but that could not be confirmed.
The university's sports information director, Bill Stevens, said on Wednesday no changes have been made.
Paul Sorensen, who played safety in 1980-81 for the Cougars, said he has not spoken directly with Wulff, but based on previous conversations, he feels any changes would occur with an eye toward upgrading the staff.
Sorensen stated in a column in December that "I think Paul made a mistake from the get-go in not populating his staff with another assistant or two with BCS-conference experience." Wulff defended his decision to bring six assistants with him from Eastern Washington after he was hired following the 2007 season, but Sorensen said he later acknowledged that his staff would have benefited from more experience.
Wulff elected not to retain veteran assistants George Yarno and Mike Walker from former coach Bill Doba's 2007 staff. Yarno, who was replaced by Harold Etheridge, now is the offensive-line coach for the Detroit Lions. Roberson replaced Walker, who was not retained by the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos last month, as the defensive-line coach.
Etheridge then was replaced by Steve Morton, a longtime Pac-10 assistant at schools such as WSU, Stanford, USC and Washington, after the 2009 season. When running-backs coach Steve Broussard, who was retained off Doba's staff along with wide-receivers coach Mike Levenseller, left for Arizona State a year ago, Wulff tabbed Dave Ungerer to fill those duties along with coordinating special teams. Ungerer, who had previous experience at Alabama, California and Oregon State, helped transform the Cougars into the Football Bowl Subdivision's top kickoff coverage team. WSU allowed just 17 yards per kickoff return in 2010.
Sorensen thinks Wulff identified someone at the AFCA convention with BCS or NFL experience that could provide a similar upgrade as Morton and Ungerer. Sorensen said Walker, whose son, Marcus, played linebacker for Wulff at Eastern, would be a logical candidate. He said Walker interviewed well with Wulff during the coaching transition, but that he was more familiar with Roberson.
Walker coached WSU's only Outland Trophy winner, Rien Long, in 2002 and has mentored others such as Leon Bender, Gary Holmes, Tai Tupai and Jeremey Williams. He also is known as a standout recruiter — Fevaea'i Ahmu passed on offers from Arizona, Colorado and Oregon to sign with the Cougars in 2005.
"Paul is very loyal with his assistant coaches," Sorensen said. "He would not make that change if he couldn't upgrade significantly."
Another candidate who would fit that profile based on his NFL experience is Chad Eaton, but Sorensen said that will not occur. Eaton left his position as a graduate assistant in September.
Roberson played in 1990-91 for the Cougars before transferring to Central Washington. He was a student assistant in 2000-01 for Wulff at Eastern before being promoted to defensive line coach.
UPDATE: 'No changes have been made'
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