WULFF: A giant step

PAUL WULFF WAS on a UW conference call yesterday with and was asked about the future. He didn't use the opportunity to lower expectations. Instead, said Wulff, he expects the Cougars in 2010 to be one of the most improved teams around.

Co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Chris Ball last week said the staff had been told they were returning in 2010, see Nov. 17 article here in an interview with Ian Furness of KJR. Wulff was asked about it Monday on the UW conference call, and also talked about what he expects to see in 2010.

And Wulff wasn't downplaying expectations.

"Jim Sterk has come in and talked to our staff and is very reassuring about what we're doing and very excited about how much work we've done in moving forward," Wulff said. "It's been outstanding. As we move into next year you're going to see a hugely improved team, one of the most improved teams around.

"We've got all the ingredients to take a giant step as a team. Our schedule, we've got three non-conference games right off the bat before we open up Pac-10 play and they're good solid games to play."

Wulff's first two seasons have been painful -- for the staff, players and fans. Injuries and little depth have played key roles. There will be some benefits realized, however, from those first two years in Year 3, he said.

"We knew that the first two seasons were going to be tough ones for us," said Wulff. "It was pretty evident once we got here, but at the same time we felt we could be a little more competitive in both years. As you look at it, we've just endured more injuries than anybody could have imagined. That's lowered our competitiveness. I think that's been a big issue with us and our depth and how that's suffered with that.

"I know we've got a number of young players and we've already shattered the record for the most freshman starts in school history...And it looks as those guys continue to utilize that experience and guys get healthy in the offseason, and get bigger and stronger, I see nothing but great, great improvement with our team."

Cougar and Husky fans are being challenged to see who can bring more blankets and coats for the homeless and needy as part of St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County's "Competition of Caring" drive -- part of the Apple Cup football game on Saturday, November 28. Fans are invited to bring an item to the Apple Cup in Husky Stadium between noon and 3:30 pm as they enter the stadium. There will be a Cougar Bin and Husky Bin at each entrance location and fans can place items in their team's bin. One hundred volunteers from the community will be on hand to encircle Husky Stadium to collect donations. Additional info is available at www.svdpseattle.org or 206-957-7241

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