Starting QB undetermined for Cougs

THERE DID NOT appear to be a quarterback controversy among Washington State's coaching staff. But injury -- not performance -- appears to have left who will take the first snap at noon Saturday at Oregon (TV: Root Sports) an open-ended question. Also, coach Paul Wulff provided further analysis of Saturday's 44-21 loss against Oregon State at CenturyLink Field during his Sunday teleconference.

Junior Jeff Tuel, who completed 11 of 13 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown, was injured late in the first half and did not return. Wulff said it "50-50 at this point" whether he plays against the No. 7 Ducks (6-1 overall, 4-0 Pac-12).

Tuel suffered a broken left clavicle in the Sept. 3 season opener against Idaho State and Wulff said he "definitely aggravated the area" Saturday. He said he does not believe Tuel sustained another fracture, but will undergo further examination at a time to be determined with the team's doctors.

"I don't believe it's a long-term thing," said Wulff, adding that the original fracture has been healing well. "We'll have to see how this week pans out."

Overall, Wulff said he was happy with Tuel's performance.

"He threw some beautiful balls," he said. "Things were going well when he was in there."

Tuel was relieved by senior Marshall Lobbestael, who started the first five games of the season. Lobbestael completed 10 of 20 passes for 105 yards and an interception.

"In the big picture, maybe that's why Marshall got to play early," Wulff said. "I believe Marshall is mentally ready to go. He can do a lot of really good things."

WITH THE EXCEPTION of kickoff returns, where they averaged 25.3 yards per return, the Cougars (3-4, 1-3) were dominated in just about every statistic Saturday. They were outgained 551-315. Wulff said the ride home Saturday night was "obviously" long.

"A lot of people were sleeping -- emotionally drained," he said. "I watched the film on the bus."

Wulff said reviewing the game did not change his perspective much. He maintained that his defensive players performed hard.

"We had to adjust to a few things at halftime that were new," Wulff said. "Overall, they made so many plays that they haven't made all year long.

"We had our hands on a couple -- I think three -- interceptions. We needed to make those plays."

Some of those issues stem from his team's youth. Wulff noted that 100 of 105 players have been in the program for three years or less.

"We're still trying to grow some leaders," Wulff said. "This is a youthful football team. We've got to keep finding ways to grow. That's just how it is."

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • There has been a perception that there is animosity between the Beavers and Cougars since 2008. With a 59-13 and 7:28 minutes left in that year's game, OSU backup quarterback Sean Canfield threw for a 39-yard touchdown. Some WSU players and coaches suggested that the Beavers were trying to embarrass the Cougars.

    Last year, WSU linebacker C.J. Mizell drove running back Jacquizz Rodgers far out of bounds on the first play from scrimmage. That earned a 15-yard personal-foul penalty, but the Cougars felt it set a tone in a 31-14 win.

    "There probably is some underlying feelings there," Wulff said. "We recruit against each other and play each other."

  • Wulff disagreed with the high hit that resulted in a personal foul against sophomore linebacker Sekope Kaufusi.

    "I felt it was a very good hit," he said. "That's all I can say without being in trouble."

    That penalty generally is assessed on a late hit rather than a live one, and Wulff said no one has informed him of any rule changes.

    "I felt confused at times out there, too," he said. "We all have our opinions on the penalties."

  • Junior Dan Spitz made his third consecutive start at right tackle. Wulff said senior Wade Jacobson, who has not played since Oct. 1 at Colorado, continues to evaluate his options regarding his ailing back. He still believes that Jacobson will undergo surgery and apply for a medical redshirt.

    Spitz, who moved from defensive tackle to the offensive line during spring ball, struggled to contain the Beavers' pass rush. OSU finished with four sacks. Wulff said his team does not have many options to replace Spitz with the possible exception of junior-college transfer Rico Forbes, but "he needs to redshirt for a lot of reasons." One is to develop more experience in the program.

    "We've got to get to be an older football team," Wulff said. "When we get some fifth-year seniors and juniors, we'll be rolling."

  • Wulff said senior linebacker Mike Ledgerwood and redshirt freshman wide receiver Kristoff Williams both suffered stingers Saturday. But besides those, he thinks his team came out of the game fine on the injury front.


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