That was tested during the Sept. 3 season opener when junior quarterback Jeff Tuel suffered a broken left clavicle and was replaced by senior Marshall Lobbestael, who threw just 15 passes last year. Fast forward to today and Lobbestael's 168.34 rating makes him the 13th most efficient passer among Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks.
It also has occurred on the offensive line where the Cougars (3-1 overall, 1-0 Pac-12) had to replace senior Andrew Roxas (ankle) before the Sept. 17 game at San Diego State. Sophomore Matt Goetz took the starting job last week at Colorado and earned praise from Wulff. Roxas, who participated in six plays during the 31-27 win against the Buffaloes, should see more time at UCLA (2-3, 1-1).
"He's moving around much better than he did," Wulff said. "There's a good chance he'll play a lot of football Saturday."
Another offensive line position that could be in flux is right tackle, where senior Wade Jacobson (back) might be sidelined. Junior Dan Spitz has filled in for him at practice. Wulff said Spitz, who missed last season with a torn right-shoulder labrum, still is "a little raw," but is more experienced than some of the alternatives WSU has used in recent years. For example, true freshman Alex Reitnouer, who weighed 253 pounds at the time, was forced to start in 2009 at Oregon.
Wulff did not rule out that Jacobson could start at UCLA.
"It just depends on how he responds," he said. "I know he feels a lot better than he did yesterday."
Wulff also praised Jacobson for his maturation during his time with the Cougars. Jacobson is known to be a bit eccentric, and Wulff said he felt that the characteristics of the Palouse were a "perfect match" for the transfer from Gavilan College in California during his recruitment in 2010. Jacobson is also an outdoors enthusiast.
Jacobson started last season at left guard, but has moved to right tackle this season following the graduation of four-year starter Micah Hannam.
"This fall is the best he's been," Wulff said. "He's played his best and most consistent football."
"His athleticism, speed, toughness and quickness have been a pleasant surprise for us," Wulff said. "He's got a bright future."
"They're going to have a decent block (of time), but there's still a commitment to the team," he said. "These aren't vacations."
"He was a lot more comfortable yesterday than the day before," he said. "We'll see how he is today and keep gauging it."
"In the older days, I think it was vital," said Wulff, referring to annual visits to Los Angeles. "Now with the way TV has evolved, I don't see it being as big of a deal as it used to be. We're in homes week in and week out."
He said that particularly will be true next year when the Pac-12's new television contract starts.