Tough love from Wulff

PAUL WULFF SAID this afternoon there are certainly those Cougar players in the program who have bought into what it's going to take -- in the weight room -- to get back to competing for 10-win seasons. But he also said that if there exist some players who are not on board, there's also a simple solution for all parties involved.

"If we have players that can't embrace that, then they need to go someplace where it will allow them not to develop. Because we're not going to have that kind of program. We're not going to allow players to be here and not improve," said Paul Wulff.

Wulff has oft-mentioned this season that the Cougars' strength and nutritional programs (training table) have not produced the desired results. Well, the program is undergoing an overhaul. Wulff said each player needs to take individual ownership if the Cougs are to take a big step forward.

"That's going to be a huge emphasis for us," said Wulff. "They have to embrace it, and they don't have a choice. They all have to understand -- and they do, these guys are good young players that want to be good and want to get the..program going in the right direction as fast as they can."

Wulff said he believes big strides in terms of physical development can be made this offseason -- though he said it was also unrealistic to expect "to get them all done in the first year", with several notable Cougar players in years past like Rien Long and D.D. Acholonu did not emerge until their fourth and fifth years, respectively.

IN CONCERT WITH the expected gains in the weight room, get ready for much more competition on the practice field -- and across the board.

"We're going to truly have a great deal of competition, much more than we did (this year), at every position," said Wulff.

The Cougs' first game of the 2009 season may be next September but Wulff said that's not completely accurate.

"Our new season really begins today," said Wulff.

ON THE RECRUITING front, Wulff said needs exist across the board, with the two top areas likely on the defensive line and at wide receiver. The reception from recruits has been positive, Wulff said, and recruits seem to understand and believe in the rebuilding plan Wulff and his staff are implementing.

And there was also a tough love element there as well.

"We're very actively recruiting all our guys even though they've committed," said Wulff. "In this day and age, you sure hope that those individuals are mature enough and their parents are mature enough to honor their commitment.

"Because if we've committed to them, then by golly, you would hope (it would be) the same thing back. We're hoping that they do that. And we'll stay the course, we'll continue to recruit 'em. I think the kids we're recruiting all have a great chance to have an immediate impact and be part of something special."

Wulff also said he expects Washington to come in and try to hit hard Washington State's commit list once the Huskies name their new head coach.

"Hopefully our kids who are committed to us understand that's going to be probably the case anyway and hopefully we can just hang onto them and move forward," said Wulff.

MOST PROGRAMS after a coaching change see an increase in offseason attrition following the coach's first year but Wulff said he wasn't expecting an inordinately high amount.

"I think we're going to have some attrition between now and the end of the year, I think that's going to be pretty evident that there's got to be a little of that. But I think the way we're going to set it all up, they'll make the decision, not so much us coaches. We're going to set up our plan and what we've got to do for their improvement in all aspects. If they can do it, then great!, they'll be on our team. If they don't, then they won't be on the team," said Wulff.

Wulff will be holding meetings with players through Wednesday. He said there were a "few individuals" who were on that fine line academically. He also said while final grades aren't in yet, he didn't anticipate being under the 925 barrier on this year's APR score.

"I don't want to say for sure but initial reports with our grades are pretty solid at this point," said Wulff. "We've got a few issues obviously with a few kids that have always had struggles so we'll have to continue working with a couple of those guys but I don't envision anything with (this year's score.)" CF.C will have more on the APR in the weeks to come

More Quotes from Wulff:

On the 2008 season
"Somewhere along the line, you have to hold your ground a little bit. And we did that. And that was not playing every player we could have played -- to get some age and maturity. I continue to look at our football team and the average age on this football team -- what we're expecting to perform and win at the Pac-10 level is clearly not acceptable. We're asking too many 18-, 19-year old kids to make plays, win games, on a weekly basis in the Pac-10. You're just not going to do that at any school in the Pac-10 when your age is that young and without redshirt years and those types of things," said Wulff.

On RB Chris Ivory's status: We don't know. It's frustrating because injuries (hamstrings) have nagged him. I don't know where that's at. We've got to figure out his injury, we've got to figure out his academics and where his future lies here...There are just a lot of things we have to clean up with Chris and decide what direction he wants to take this thing," said Wulff.

On the state of the strength and nutrition program and how specificity for certain positions right now isn't as important as overall gains: Every guy on this football team needs to have a complete overhaul in terms of how they lift. And every area needs to be strengthened on their body. We're just looking for overall physical strength from the head down...we'll worry about getting them to a great playing weight and shape summertime more so than we'll worry about now and spring football...It's pretty elementary to be honest, it's hard work...we just don't want anybody to slip through the cracks. We want every single player to get better. And we'll have it set up so no one can slip through the cracks," said Wulff.

Cougfan Top Stories