Wulff: Tuel farther ahead than 2 WSU legends

PASADENA -- Sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel has hit the weight room and put on 20 to 25 pounds since last season, Cougar head coach Paul Wulff said Thursday at the Pac-10 Media Day at the Rose Bowl. What's more, Wulff said, is that he believes Tuel is farther along at this stage than were Drew Bledsoe or Ryan Leaf.

Tuel, who now checks in at 6-3 and 215, took over the No. 1 QB spot last season in week four. He started six games before injuring a knee late in the campaign. He completed 71 of his 121 passes for 789 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.

"Jeff just came in last August and he really was thrown to the wolves," Wulff said.

"Heading into fall, Jeff Tuel is the quarterback, with the option to give Marshall (Lobbestael) some reps. Jeff is the leading guy without question. (But) I think we are going to have the luxury of having two guys be able to play for us."

  As for the Bledsoe and Leaf barometers, Wulff noted that Tuel's "freshman marks were better than Bledsoe's stats as a true freshman ... Heading into his second year at the quarterback position, he is probably ahead of (Bledsoe and Leaf)."

Leaf redshirted as a true freshman in 1994 and didn't emerge as the main man until the final two games of 1995.

  Tuel, the pride of Fresno, put a seeming stranglehold on the starting position this season with a solid spring session that was capped by a stellar Crimson and Gray game.

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