1) Jeff Tuel – He has earned the opportunity, pure and simple. They are excited about what he can bring to the position and he did some good things vs. USC. But we can’t totally count out Marshall Lobbestael either. But it sounds pretty clear that Tuel is the guy right now. Tuel had a good practice on Tuesday, and things are coming along. A caller said “please protect Tuel!” and Wulff said they will do their best, that they “will be smart” but football “is physical, it’s a physical game and you have to let the kids play the game.”
I get what he’s saying here. You can’t go out and play, hoping you don’t get hurt! Anyone who’s ever played a lick of tackle football can tell you that. It just doesn’t work that way. And from what we saw from Tuel vs. USC, I don’t think we’re going to see a kid who is tip-toeing around, know what I mean? That didn’t look like a nervous, unsure true frosh who was afraid of getting hurt, did it?
2) It sounds like another redshirt will be burned this week. Running back Carl Winston “will play this week” vs. Oregon.
Winston is the fireplug-type guy that Grippi has been comparing to Steve Broussard all summer/fall, in terms of build, at 5-8, 200 lbs? Here’s a good look at Winston from when he was recruited last year from ESPN.com. I guess when you consider losing Montgomery, plus Dwight Tardy isn’t 100% right now with the ankle, even though he is playing and practicing. But there are some depth issues back there. We’ll likely see Tardy, Mitz and Winston this Saturday. We’ll see how much Winston actually plays, but Wulff did say he will play.
3) Injuries – Nothing too huge of note compared to what’s already out there. We know that Josh Luapo is lost for the year, as that was reported yesterday that the stout d-tackle is gone with a torn ACL. But my goodness, is that O-line banged up or what? Steven Ayers is now out for a few weeks (2-4?) after his scary-looking injury vs. USC, joining fellow starters Zack Williams and BJ Guerra on the sideline. Now you MIGHT add backup/reserve Brian Danaher to the mix, as he didn’t practice Tuesday! We’ll see if he can go on Saturday, but right now, you’re looking at Ayers, Williams and Guerra, 3/5ths of the regular, starting O-line, all OUT for now. Gulp.
4) More Recruiting News – Cougfan had some commit news in the last couple of days, but if you noticed, the commits have been of the offensive/defensive skill-position type guys. WR Robert Jiles and defensive back Tracy Clark, both of Pittsburg, CA, committed in the last couple of days (and of course, were NOT named specifically by coach Wulff!). But when you glance at the current commits, you notice one thing – where’s all the beef? Right now we have one offensive lineman on the verbal commit list…..and that’s pretty much it. The rest are skill-type guys. But you do have some tight-ends on the list of the big-frame variety, the types that who knows, could grow into offensive tackles.
Anywho, a caller asked about recruiting linemen on both sides of the ball. Wulff said that “they are basically done with recruiting defensive backs and those skill guys”, but they are “holding one spot open for one more guy.” And maybe a wide receiver as well? Anyway, he said they hope to “fill the rest of the class with linemen and some could be committing soon”, maybe “three or four” offensive linemen when it’s all said and done.
One more thing on recruiting – and this is a theme from many of his shows so far this year – but Wulff is really “excited” for this year’s class! And if you like the 2009 class, producing kids like Jeff Tuel, Gino Simone, Travis Long, plus many others we haven’t even seen yet? Wulff said “I believe this year’s recruiting class will be BETTER than 2009’s class.” WOW. It’s been said before, we’ll say it again. If anyone doubts what Wulff can do in recruiting, just look at the strides they have made in the last year. And then you hear him say that he thinks 2010 will be better than 2009? Just some good, positive vibes/momentum right now.
That’s all I’ve got for this week’s show. Kind of weak, I know, but hey, real life gets in the way sometimes. Hopefully next week will be back to normal.
Other stuff: I know we are all pretty sure we are seeing a much better product on the field (hmm, 69-0 vs USC last year, 27-6 this year. 58-0 vs. Stanford last year, 39-13 vs. Stanford this year. Got it.). But the national stats paint this thing as still very much a work-in-progress, per Howie Stalwick. Last in the country in total defense and passing defense, and ranking in the “100’s” pretty much everywhere else.
Look, I don’t think this is breaking news to anyone who follows this team. The stats are ugly, we know that. We saw this team get pushed around by Stanford, and Hawaii and SMU threw for over 1,000 yards in two games. But at least they have decided to go make moves where they are needed. They haven’t just sat there and said “oh well” with regards to the QB position for example. They are in fact going with their best option right now, and that’s the kid QB over the other experienced guys. But let’s keep that in mind as we go forward, that there could be some serious lop-sided games the rest of the way, given not just the a) poor stats, but b) the growing injury problems combined with youth being shoved out to center stage, ready or not.
Bud Withers of the Times has a good read, on Tuel and some strong quotes from Wulff:
Said Wulff, “If I look at it as if it were my son, it’s not fair to Marshall, for a guy not fully recovered, to potentially face the rush of guys coming free. He’s going to take more hits than Jeff will.
“Jeff has the ability to escape and make those guys miss. I think the best thing for us is to protect Marshall until we can solidify our line.
“To be honest, Jeff isn’t fazed by the rush. He doesn’t get too concerned. If you rush him, he’s going to find ways to make plays with his feet. He relishes that.”
That’s it for now. Enjoy your Humpday, and as always, GO COUGS!