STILLWATER, Okla. - Washington State's latest blowout loss left players and coaches frustrated, angry and confused Saturday night at Oklahoma State.
No sooner did head coach Paul Wulff complain about WSU’s “absolutely terrible” tackling in the 65-17 loss than co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball followed up by saying that Cougars coaches “absolutely” did not have players tackle enough in preseason workouts.
“We tried to stay healthy through camp this year,” Ball explained, “so we cut the tackling back a little bit.”
Asked his opinion on the subject, defensive tackle Brandon Rankin said, “Oh yeah, we hit enough. Probably too much.”
Players and coaches also had differing opinions on the offensive side of the ball.
Wulff blamed quarterback Jeff Tuel’s “up and down” performance partly on his lack of familiarity with WSU’s many new receivers. The Cougars lost their top returning receiver (Jared Karstetter) because of a first-quarter concussion, and another starting wideout (Gino Simone) sat out with an ailing hamstring.
When wide receiver Marquess Wilson was asked if offensive players are having trouble getting used to one another, he said, “Not at all. Going through practices, we all got close to each other, so we’ve got a rotation down there and are comfortable out there.”
Wilson certainly looked comfortable. A 17-year-old true freshman, Wilson became just the fourth Cougars freshman to record 100 or more receiving yards in one game since the Pacific-8 Conference grew into the Pac-10 in 1978.
“Starting off I had a little jitterbugs,” Wilson said, “but once I touched the field and saw the atmosphere, I got pretty comfortable.”
The lanky Wilson, who may have been WSU’s best player in fall camp, slipped between two defenders to haul in a 48-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. His 46-yard catch in the fourth quarter was initially ruled a touchdown, but after reviewing videotape, officials placed the ball on the 1.
“It was a fun game except for the score part,” Wilson said. “It didn’t come out quite like we wanted it to.”
Adding injury to insult, the Cougars lost heralded true freshman Rickey Galvin to a season-ending arm fracture on his first carry in the opening quarter. Galvin is a running back and kickoff returner.
“We felt Rickey Galvin is a very dymamic, explosive football player … he’s going to have a hell of a career here at Washington State,” Wulff said.
The Cougars will again select team captains on a weekly basis.
Saturday’s picks were three seniors: defensive end Kevin Kooyman (from Tahoma High School), punter Reid Forrest and running back Chantz Staden.
Defensive end Jamie Blatnick, a part-time starter for Oklahoma State last year, did not play. He recently pled guilty in court to striking a former teammate in the face with a beer bottle in a bar fight over the summer.