Paul Wulff Steers WSU Football Through The Dark Ages

Just like their cross-state rivals in Seattle, Paul Wulff and the Washington St. Cougars continue their upward trend from the dregs. Unlike Steve Sarkisian and Washington, Wulff isn't looking like he'll be around for the resurrection of the program.

Washington St. Athletic Director Bill Moos is looking like he'll be relieving his head coach of command soon, and WSU will be on their way to a new coach and new era of Cougar football. There have been signs of upward progress, but it'll still come down to the overall record of Wulff with the Cougars: 9-40. It's hard to be saved, even if the team keeps on looking better year-by-year.

Wulff came in with a hand that poker players would've burned rather than simply folded. When he was hired to replace Bill Doba in 2008, Washington State had some of the worst collection of talent in the country, and they got blown out week after mind-numbing week for two years straight. In 2009, the routs got smaller by a touchdown or two, so Washington State lost by 20 to 30 points instead of 40 to 50 points every week. Wulff held try-outs on the team to fill in depth chart spots his first season. Doba left Wulff nothing, and he suffered the consequences.

Although there were signs of hope when Jeff Tuel started playing as a redshirt frosh, the talent took a year or two to catch up. Tuel kept on getting injured just when it looked like he would start turning the Cougars into a half-decent team, and the capable but limited Marshall Lobbestael had to lead the charge. After Tuel was injured the first week of this season, Wulff probably rashly had to bring the QB back into action early to try and chase bowl eligibility, and Tuel was eventually re-injured. Tuel could lose a year of eligibility because of that decision, and that's awfully hard for the Cougar faithful to swallow even with the emergence of Connor Halliday.

WSU just had too much going against them during the Wulff era, which is why it's kind of unfair to him that Washington State's improvements have come too slow for him the reap the rewards. Washington State is poised to turn things around for real next season, and Wulff probably deserves more credit for sticking around while the program was at its nadir. 9-40 is hard for any coach to take, no matter how much he gets paid, and considering the turmoil he's had to deal with, it might be best for both parties to go their separate ways and start anew.

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