Paul Wulff, Hauck set for another clash

THERE IS NO rivalry between Washington State and UNLV, but Saturday's game at Martin Stadium will reunite two coaches who annually faced off in one of the Big Sky Conference's biggest showdowns. Coach Paul Wulff discussed that in his Tuesday teleconference, provided an update on a pair of signings who have not been cleared to participate by the NCAA Eligibility Center and much more.

Wulff said there is no timetable for when Rahmel Dockery might be cleared. But given the depth at wide receiver, he said the Curtis High School graduate is getting closer to redshirting this season. Wulff said another player at that position he is "extremely high on" who will redshirt is Dominique Williams.

While the receiving corps is youthful, Wulff said its depth gives the coaching staff more flexibility.

"It just allows us to be more wide open if we choose," he said. "It allows us to maybe stay more wide open and run the ball on the perimeter as our blocking improves. I like the unit."

Lineman Alex Mitchell from Portland has returned home after he was unable to get cleared. But Wulff remains hopeful that he will be able to avoid going to a junior college.

"The plan is for him to take some courses and clean some things up so he will be a full qualifier in January," he said.

Wulff continued to praise the work of his offensive line during Saturday's season-opening 64-21 win against Idaho State. Because the Bengals featured a new coach, Mike Kramer, Wulff was not certain which defensive alignment and schemes they would use. But he said the offensive line made appropriate reads and adapted with success.

SENIOR QUARTERBACK Marshall Lobbestael also will make his second consecutive start. Lobbestael completed 14 of 19 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns against ISU in his first start since he was beat out by then-true freshman Jeff Tuel midway through the 2009 season. Wulff said Lobbestael, who attempted just 15 passes last season, has progressed.

"When he played a lot before, he literally had very little help around him," he said. "Marshall is more comfortable with our offense and the 10 guys around him are. That's why he's going to play at a higher level."

Wulff said the team understands that Tuel, who will be sidelined at least four weeks after he broke his left clavicle Saturday, is out.

"It's no different than any injury," he said. "The next guy in has to play well. It isn't about an individual; we've got to build a program from the bottom up.

"There's not a whole lot you can do other than practicing and getting better. We've got a good football team."

Perhaps a greater concern for Wulff is the flu that hit several members of the team. As previously reported by CF.C, WSU was without many players at Monday night's practice.

"That's been the bigger issue outside the two season-ending injuries," he said, referring to linebacker Darryl Monroe (right Achilles tendon) and cornerback Travion Smith (knee). "I anticipate most everyone should be out there (at today's practice) that isn't on the injured list."

That bodes well for the 2 p.m. (no TV or Webcast) game against UNLV. The Cougars (1-0) have won all four meetings in the series. But Rebels coach Bobby Hauck, who guided Montana from 2003-09, is 6-1 against Wulff. Eastern Washington's lone win in that span against Hauck was 34-20 in 2005. Wulff, who coached at Eastern from 2000-07, was 2-6 against the Grizzlies.

"It's different," Wulff said. "You're dealing with teams that were competing for championships and playing at a high level. This is a nonconference game and we don't play every year."

The Rebels (0-1), who lost their opener 51-17 at Wisconsin, feature scatback Bradley Randle and 6-foot-1, 200-pound Tim Cornett. The duo combined for 126 yards on 26 carries in the opener.

Wulff said his team, which limited ISU to 23 rushing yards -- 0.9 yards per carry -- needs to continue to play physical.

  • There has been rampant speculation that Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech might join the Pac-12. Wulff said he has no problem with further changes to the conference, which added Colorado and Utah this season.

    "I think it does add more to the conference," he said. "It makes people wake up and have to continue to grow their facilities. Big-time facilities attract more players and wins."

  • Many expressed shock that Sacramento State, a Big Sky school, won 29-28 in overtime Saturday at Oregon State. It was the Beavers' first loss against a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly 1-AA) team since 1996.

    Do not count Wulff among the majority.

    "It shows how important veteran teams are to having success," he said. "You better look at the makeup of successful teams. They know the system and have been in the system. Sac State is veteran. I told some people, ‘Don't be surprised if Sac State wins that game.' "

  • Junior defensive end Lenard Williams left Saturday's game late after he was kicked in the stomach. Wulff said Williams, who had two tackles and a sack against ISU, is fine now.

    "Lenard just needs to keep working," he said. "He's got a lot of ability."

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