Keys To The Game
With one second remaining in the half, and head coach Paul Wulff with a timeout in his back pocket, QB Jeff Tuel took a knee on the final play rather than take a shot down the field.
That pretty much summed up the Washington St. Cougars performance on Saturday.
It wasn’t just the poor execution that cost Washington State this ball game. Although, when your getting physically dominated on both sides of the ball, you’re not going to be able execute your game plan much offensively or defensively.
This was a loss that was already decided days earlier when the coaching staff couldn’t mentally prepare the team to handle the rigors of getting ready for a football game.
In the grand scheme of Cougar football this game was more about being competitive then the actual win-loss record of both teams.
The game wasn’t even close to being competitive.
At least not nearly as competitive as a game against a conference equal in the Pac-12 needs to be. When you allow a struggling, freshman laden Beavers team to physically out perform you, the message you send to the rest of the conference is a very loud one.
The Cougars are a long ways away from even being considered equal to even the worst of Pac-12 teams.
In a game like the one we witnessed, there were too many red flags for all Cougar fans to ignore. It goes beyond numbers, and it even goes beyond words. It was a direct message Paul Wulff sent his players down 10 points with 7 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Facing a 4th and 3 on the Oregon St. 38, Wulff elected to punt the ball away instead of trying to re-energize his team that had clearly lost all momentum.
A conversion could’ve led to a touchdown, and who knows how the WSU defense would respond on the next drive.
Instead Wulff conceded the drive, and sucked any remaining life out of his team. He looked like a coach that quit on his team. The ensuing results sent shock waves through Cougar nation.
Wulff probably fooled himself into thinking his team was close to competing before the season, or maybe felt the pressure from AD Bill Moos and alumni to suggest this was a bowl-contending team.
In any event I think it is clear that Wulff’s team is not ready to win.
Far from it actually.
It has more problems then a normal program should have at year four. This puts the weight back on the shoulders of athletic director Bill Moos to do something he probably doesn’t want to do.
Where is the improvement that Wulff was talking about so passionately at the end of last season?
The improvement that all of Cougars nation is waiting for? The expectations of a football team that actually had most of us talking about bowl aspirations?
Improvement means you can’t use excuses week to week because your team is constantly under prepared.
Improvement means you do not lose to teams that are not better then yours. It’s understandable when you lose to the Stanfords and Oregons because your supposed to lose to those teams, but when you drop winnable games to UCLA and Oregon State in the manner in which you lost, that doesn’t constitute as improvement.
It’s beyond inexcusable, and an embarrassment to the students and alumni who traveled and payed good money to watch what we were subjected to see.
Moos should consider pulling the plug.
As unorthodox as it is for most AD’s to make a coaching change in mid-season, it’s even more unacceptable letting a unfitting coach to finish out the season. It’s nothing personal. As nice as a guy as Paul Wulff is, he has given this program everything his capability allows.
For the sake of salvaging integrity, and the rest of the season, Wulff should be asked to resign.
A clear message was sent by by Wulff on Saturday, and a clearer message needs to be sent to all players and remaining coaching staff.
That losing is not acceptable in any form at Washington State, and if your okay with the losses, then you need to seek employment elsewhere.