WSU Cougars

Shorthanded Cougars hit road in search of help

The Washington State Cougars, soundly defeated in the Apple Cup, did not return to Pullman to rehash the lowlights of their 1-11 season.

Some of the Cougar party didn’t return to Pullman at all. Only a few hours removed from Saturday night’s season-ending loss at Washington, three assistant coaches hit the road recruiting.

“We had guys leave out of Seattle this morning,” head coach Paul Wulff said Sunday afternoon from Pullman.

The 30-0 loss to Washington was just one more reminder of the long, long list of needs and wants for the Cougars. Wulff says his players must become bigger, faster and better, and he maintains that a promising recruiting class and a bevy of injured players expected back next season should help WSU make progress.

Wulff said the shorthanded Cougars played only three reserves on defense Saturday. The offense sputtered under the direction of three quarterbacks with No. 1 QB Jeff Tuel out with a knee injury.

“We did some great things on defense,” Wulff said. “We got a little worn down in the fourth quarter, a lot like we did the week before.

“I thought offensively we had a very good game plan. We had receivers open. We dropped, I think, nine balls. Eight or nine balls that were huge in the ballgame.

“It didn’t allow us to score points.”

The revolving door at quarterback was not to blame, according to the coach.

“It shouldn’t be an excuse,” Wulff said, “and I know the players aren’t using that.”

The Cougars have never run the no-huddle offense at the tempo preferred by Wulff and offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy during their two years in Pullman.

On Saturday, the Cougars slowed things down on purpose to give their defense a break.

Wulff offered high praise for defensive linemen Travis Long, Anthony Laurenzi and Casey Hamlett, inside linebackers Mike Ledgerwood and Alex Hoffman-Ellis and safety Easton Johnson.