The Pflugrad Chronicles

WSU RECRUITING COORDINATOR and tight ends coach Robin Pflugrad recently joined CF.C regulars for an online chat. From the number of scholarships the Cougs look to have available in '05.. to which recruits from the '04 class project at tight end; if the Holiday Bowl win over the 'Horns helps recruiting efforts in Texas.. to the number of offers to date.

And that's just for starters. If you missed the chat, here's the transcript.
CoachPflugrad:: This is Coach Pflugrad. Good to see you guys here. Let's jump into some questions.

COUGFANcom:: Welcome, Coach. Thanks for joining us today.

CoachPflugrad:: Very happy to be here with the Cougar Nation.

theRabidCat:: Loaded question, coach: How many offers so far and have any said yes?
CoachPflugrad:: We've offered approximately 10 players and no commitments at this time -- Most of these offers have been since spring ball has been over, so (just) this week.

810neopal:: Hi Coach! Can you list the areas the coaches recruit?

CoachPflugrad:: Kenny Greene recruits from Sacramento to Bakersfield...Timm Rosenbach recruits South Seattle up to the Canadian border...Coach Skipper is inner-city Los Angeles...Coach Akey obviously recruits the eastern side of L.A. (San Bernardino Valley)...Coach Walker has the San Fernando Valley all the way to Santa Barbara...George Yarno recruits Orange County and San Diego and Mike Levenseller has Tacoma to Vancouver, Wash...and I recruit Eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Arizona, and wherever else needed! Coach Burtnett also does Northern California, San Francisco up to the Oregon border, Texas, and selected junior colleges in Kansas.

74Coug:: Question about depth, Coach. It seems Redshirts/Grey Shirts have put us in a position not previously enjoyed...lots of young talent waiting for an opportunity to compete. Is our depth better than when you come aboard...and what would you identify as top priorities for recruiting in the next class?

CoachPflugrad:: It has given young players an opportunity to grow and help our scholarship numbers. We are deeper in some areas than when I arrived. We are not as strong in a couple of other areas... As far as depth goes, I like what we have done with grayshirts.. Maybe with the exception of the Carl Bonnell situation.. Part of my job is to balance our entire depth chart with the help of our nine other coaches - This is done on a weekly basis and can change as often as the weather on the Palouse.

CoachPflugrad:: As far as our top priorities go, the big issue will be that we have limited scholarships, probably between 12 and 15... As we leave next week to recruit, we must find the right guys that fit our needs. Our needs are basically one to two players at each position. The depth of our receiving corps concerns me. If we can stay healthy, we should be fine at WR... In my opinion, you can never sign enough talented offensive linemen. Throw in taking a quarterback in each class and you are already down to half of your class being accounted for..

810neopal:: How has the trend towards early commitments changed some of the ways you do things?

CoachPflugrad:: A major emphasis that I have put on our staff is we need to recruit more diligently than ever in the history of Washington State football...We cannot afford to make any mistakes with next year's signing class.

dgibbons:: Thanks for joining us coach. On the grayshirts- do you think there is much risk in losing out on a guy who you ask to grayshirt- ala Bonnell?

CoachPflugrad:: On the Bonnell question, I hope and pray that Bonnell was a unique situation. During the recruiting process at WSU, we educate the player, the family, his coaches, on our grayshirt situation. We attempt to do this as early in the recruiting process as we possibly can. Obviously there must be a fit for both parties involved.

74Coug:: Given our recent it easier now for our coaches to have access to top recruits...many years ago, some coaches would discourage blue chippers in the state from talking to is the relationship with HS coaches on the west coast?

CoachPflugrad:: The last three seasons and our bowl win over Texas has helped, but we need to realize that most of the HS coaches don't see WSU as a traditional powerhouse. Our staff fights this conception most everywhere they recruit. We are limited in many areas in the recruiting process due to location, transportation, finances. So we have to overcome these obstacles by work ethic. We MUST work harder in the recruiting process than Washington, Oregon, USC, and Arizona State. We don't have many of the resources that those institutions have. And we must do a better job of selling the positives and the resources we do have at WSU.

Crazed Coug:: Did the Holiday Bowl win open some recruits eyes in Texas? Especially how the defense flew around I imagine kids would love to line up in a D like Akey runs.

CoachPflugrad:: The Holiday Bowl definitely helped us in the state of Texas. I was shocked it did not help us more on the West Coast in the final recruiting push. We will recruit Texas more this spring than we have in the past due to the win over the Longhorns. I'm sending four coaches to the Nike Combine in College Station when previously we had one coach attending.

Kennewick Man:: What's your recruiting budget and how does it compare with UW, OSU, ORE and the rest?

CoachPflugrad:: On the recruiting budgets, for an interesting story, please see the Sunday Oregonian from April 18. It has a lot of great insight on recruiting budgets. The University of Oregon spent more on one weekend than we did all fall and winter. But to me the bottom line is 55-16. Victory at Autzen Stadium.

730Linden:: Coach, thanks for all that you do for young people and WSU. Do you have any news on current commits qualifying academically (esp. Estes and Willis)?

CoachPflugrad:: Randy Estes, Michael Willis, Michael Bumpus, and Charles Dillon are all working hard academically. They all face challenges as we knew during the recruiting process and each of our area coaches are doing what they can to help the situation.

Kennewick Man:: I thought JT Diederichs was an academic concern as well. No?

CoachPflugrad:: Kennewick Man, excellent point on Diederichs. He fits in that category as well.

810neopal:: Without getting into specifics, how often do you see negative recruiting take place in the Pac-10?

CoachPflugrad:: On the negative recruiting subject, it happens every year. I'm proud to say the Pac-10 has one of the more positive reputations nationally in that regard. It always seems to happen as decision come down to the wire. The later stages of January is a prime time. I truly believe it is certain individuals in our league rather than the philosophy of any schools. In my years in the Pac-10, I really think it is just certain individuals.

Kennewick Man:: Is health at tight end a concern?

CoachPflugrad:: Tight ends! If Cody Boyd and Troy Bienemann are healthy.. they have both proven to be quality players at the Pac-10 level and will help our chances of winning.

810neopal:: I read the coaching staff wanted to have an increased emphasis on blocking for the TEs this Spring, but I imagine that was kind of difficult with the injuries at that spot. Will that still be a point of emphasis when Fall camp begins?

CoachPflugrad:: Yes it will be an emphasis. We actually had a lot of drills that emphasized blocking. Troy got to do them early in spring and Cody later. We did a lot of inside run drills and I feel they really got better. I think both players are better blockers now than they were at the end of the season. However, I feel both players need to get better in that regard to be a dominant force in the Pac-10.

Crazed Coug:: When/if Willis makes it in, will he be looked at on offense or defense?

CoachPflugrad:: Crazed Coug, about Michael Willis, we have needs at both of the positions that Michael could play. He is a good enough athlete to play on either side of the ball. The offense would love to have him and the defense would also love to have him. I personally hope and pray that he makes so somebody has the opportunity to coach him. Ultimately, it will be Head Coach Bill Doba's decision as to where he plays. He is talented enough to play possibly a role on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

kjstoph1:: Coach Pflu - Care to comment on the effects of the internet on recruiting? Do you come upon kids referencing stuff that happens out here in cyberspace? Is the general effect positive or negative and how can we as fans 'help' augment your efforts without violating NCAA standards?

CoachPflugrad:: On the subject of Internet recruiting, first of all fans cannot contact recruits. That is a violation. My internet time is somewhat limited. I'm trying to get my facts from the source itself, and/or decision makers in the recruits life, example coach, minister, pastor, rabbi (sp?) etc. The Internet has driven certain websites to call recruits on a daily basis. I think the dot com sites related to an institution will be critiqued in great detail with possible recruiting revisions in the next few months.

theRabidCat:: Coach, will Josh Swogger be named the starting QB today?

CoachPflugrad:: On the subject of Swogger and the starting qb role, all I can say is STAY TUNED! It is Coach Doba's job to make an announcement and he will do that at 1 pm... (for more on Doba's announcement last Thursday, see this story..

georgiaCoug:: Hi Coach! Is Jacob McKinney projected at tight end all the way? And where do you see Scott Selby lining up?

CoachPflugrad:: McKinney and Selby...McKinney will be looked at early during summer camp at the tight end position. He is one player that could possibly play a blocking back role as well. That is a high priority in our early summer camp to evaluate McKinney. Scott Selby will start summer camp at wide receiver and will see how he competes at that spot before any decisions are made.

CoachPflugrad:: I tried to push refresh and may have lost some questions, so if I haven't answered one, please repost it. Sorry!

Kennewick Man:: Will you succeed Bill as our next head coach?

CoachPflugrad:: A professional goal of mine is to be a head football coach at the collegiate level. Coach Doba is the head coach at Washington State University and I will work my hardest to make sure that he remains in that position as long as he wants to do so.

810neopal:: If you could, talk about Jesse Taylor a bit, his development so far.

CoachPflugrad:: On Jesse Taylor...he has had some tough situations in the area of injuries. Due to these injuries, his physical play has suffered. It is our goal through this summer that Jesse becomes healthy and can give us that physical presence that we felt when he first arrived on campus. Jesse is a great person, fun to coach, and he is a true Cougar. It is my job to help him become a better football player.

georgiaCoug:: You said four coaches are heading down to College Station -- how many other combines and camps do our coaches attend and which are most important?

CoachPflugrad:: The NCAA allows two evaluations per prospect during spring recruiting, so we have to be careful that a certain player isn't at four or five combines. We would be in violation as would many other institutions. There are probably over 25 combines that we could potentially attend. Obviously we must choose the ones we feel are run the best and give the player the best opportunity to be evaluated while also having enough numbers for us to warrant using one of our evaluations on that combine.

theRabidCat:: How did Adam West's conversion to DE go? Permanent deal?

CoachPflugrad:: Adam West showed to have a great motor. He played hard and finished plays. He needs refinement in every major skill of playing defensive end. Adam is very passionate about the game of football and I think under Coach Walker and Coach Akey's guidance he will have an opportunity to get some reps in the fall of 2004. I personally would love to have Adam even on a situational basis, like short yardage or goal-line since he knows our offense and can possibly contribute in those situations. He is fun to coach, I like him a lot.

georgiaCoug:: Just to let you know, Coach, you type at least twice as fast as Coach Akey -- for what it's worth.

CoachPflugrad:: Georgia Coug, Coach Akey went to Weber State and I went to Portland State. That's all that needs to be said.

810neopal:: You said a while back you got the kids to visit the past year we couldn't get to trip in the past, and the next step is to sign them in bunches. Feeling good this next class might be that one? (ps - I was THRILLED with this last class, you guys did one helluva job and deserve many congratulations)

CoachPflugrad:: I like the direction that recruiting has taken. I like our last three signing classes. We did get some major players to visit. I truly feel we are on the right track and hopefully that is the next step, to sign highly recruited players. BUT, we must always remember we want to sign players that we feel (WSU staff) can play for us and have success on our campus.

74Coug:: Martin Stadium is a terrific venue...would you see an impact on recruiting if stadium expansion were to occur (assuming we consistently had about 45000 Cougar butts in the seats)?

CoachPflugrad:: On Martin Stadium...if and only if the stadium is full will it have a positive impact on recruiting. It would be nice to have a renovated and enlarged stadium and I would always use it for other purposes in recruiting, which we are limited to in the existing Martin Stadium. I.E. lunches and dinners in the press box. But the recruit really wants to see a full stadium and the support of the fans and boosters.

theRabidCat:: What kept you from going to Bama with Mike Price?

CoachPflugrad:: RabidCat, on the subject of Alabama....FAMILY DECISION. That's what it came down to. I wouldn't have known what to do with all that money. I was born in a trailer.

810neopal:: Defensive line coach Mike Walker is a quiet guy, doesn't get near enough credit, and is one who has an impressive resume of recruits he's brought into the program. What are some of the things that make him such a good recruiter?

CoachPflugrad:: On the subject of Mike Walker, people like Mike Walker. He is honest and forthright. He will tell the recruit exactly like it is. He will tell the family and the coaches exactly like it is. In the long run, the honesty factor is what they really want to hear. I feel Mike has done an outstanding job in a fairly large metro area in Southern California. I call him the "Gentle Giant" and truly respect his recruiting efforts in the three years I have worked with him. He has always asked for advice and my opinion in the recruiting process. He has been extremely coachable in our recruiting philosophies.

Crazed Coug:: Before the hour is up I just want to say Thank You for all you have done for the football program...When you were hired some ASU fans came by to say how lucky we were -- they weren't kidding. Us Cougs are lucky to have you and such a fine staff to lead WSU football. THANK YOU !
COUGFANcom:: Well said, Crazed!
tomcoug:: I couldn't be more pleased with the effort of you and your staff.

CoachPflugrad:: Crazed Coug, appreciate the comment. I look forward to working hard for all of the Cougar Nation this season.

georgiaCoug:: I second that -- and congratulations on the awesome class last year. I'm excited about the future of Cougar football!
Kennewick Man:: Coach. I hate to say this, but I hope you never get a head coaching job unless its at WAZZU. You are simply excellent.

CoachPflugrad:: Thanks for all of your time. I have to get ready for the 1 pm press conference. Thanks for all of your questions. We will do it again in the near future! GO COUGS!

COUGFANcom:: Thanks, Coach. And thanks to all who joined the Lunch with Coach Pflugrad!
CecilYounger:: Ditto everyone else's thanks to Coach Pflugrad and to Cougfan for hosting this.
Crazed Coug:: That was a great chat.

COUGFANcom:: More chats to come in the near future. And thanks to the SID's office for their immense help in setting these up, particularly Jason Hickman.

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