Sources clear as mud on Wulff; players rally

IF PAUL WULFF is out as WSU's head coach, as one news source reports, it's news to Wulff and to WSU's sports information director. Sources close to the Cougar head man say he meets this afternoon, as per usual at season's end, with Bill Moos and there are no suppositions going in. SID Bill Stevens, meanwhile, said this morning that "no decision has been made."

"Bill (athletic director Bill Moos) said he will not make a decision until he has met with Paul, and he has not met with Paul yet," Stevens said.

That meeting is believed set for mid-afternoon today. And one with Moos and school president Elson Floyd is thought to be scheduled immediately prior.

The forecast for Wulff is mixed, depending on whom you talk with. One source close to the program said the steady improvement under Wulff, coupled with the fact this season effectively was played with the third-string quarterback (Marshall Lobbestael), are facts that have not been lost on Moos.

Three other sources with ties to the football program said Sunday they expect Wulff to be let go with one year left on the original five-year contract he signed with WSU.

All sources requested that their names not be used in this story.

Moos did not return multiple phone calls.

Wulff is 9-40 overall and 4-32 in the Pacific-12/10 Conference in four years at WSU. Only the 1979-82 Oregon State Beavers (3-40-1) have lost as many as 40 games in four years in the history of the Pac-12, which traces back to the Pacific Coast Conference in 1916.

WSU players strongly supported Wulff following the season-ending, 38-21 loss to Washington on Saturday night at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.

"I love Coach Wulff," senior wide receiver Jared Karstetter said.

"I sure hope he comes back," senior punter Dan Wagner said.

"I love our coaches," junior defensive end Travis Long said. "I want them back."

Karstetter, who made a verbal commitment to attend WSU prior to Wulff's hiring in December 2007, said he has been impressed with "the way he keeps the team's spirit up, keeps guys fighting.

"He wants to be here; it's not a stepping stone for him. He's a Coug. He loves this place. He's a good coach. It just takes time."

After the game, Wulff said he'll meet with Moos "in the next day or two" to discuss his future. Moos, as he did last year, maintained all season that he would wait until the season was over before making a decision on Wulff.

"This is a really talented young team," Wulff said. "I think we've done a hell of a job of recruiting great young kids.

"The football program's got a bright future."

The Cougars, forced to utilize three starting quarterbacks due to injuries, finished the season 4-8 overall and 2-7 in the Pac-12. Wulff's previous four teams were 5-32 overall and 2-25 in the Pac-10.

"I think this program is headed in the right direction," defensive coordinator Chris Ball said. "I think Coach Wulff is the guy for the job. We've got a great staff in place, and we've got the whole team coming back."

Wulff's $600,000 annual salary is easily the lowest in the Pac-12 for a head football coach.

C.J. Mizell, who started most of the season at middle linebacker, suited up but did not play. Wulff said it was because starter Mike Ledgerwood has played well. Ball said Mizell was benched "a little bit" due to a shoulder injury but "not entirely .... I don't want to talk about it." Mizell's work ethic and practice habits have been questioned in the past .... Sophomore wide receiver Marquess Wilson increased his single-season WSU record totals to 82 catches and 1,388 receiving yards. He caught two touchdown passes Saturday to tie Jason Hill for second in school history, one behind the 13 Hill caught in 2005 .... Karstetter's touchdown catch gave him 19 for his career, putting him alone in third place in school history .... Senior quarterback Marshall Lobbestael threw three touchdown passes to move into ninth in WSU history with 26 for his career .... Offensive tackles David Gonzalez and Dan Spitz started despite seeing little practice time due to ankle injuries .... True freshman running back Marcus Mason led WSU in rushing with 41 yards, including a 27-yard run. Mason had no carries in the previous seven games. Offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy said the Cougars wanted to take advantage of Mason's speed to "run off the edge a little more."

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