This just in from Paul Wulff's Tuesday teleconference with reporters, via Grippi:
Coach Paul Wulff just dropped a big bomb on the Pac-10 conference call. Marshall Lobbestael will start this week and the Cougars are getting Jeff Tuel ready to play. He said Kevin Lopina has had 11 starts at WSU and now it's time to see what Lobbestael can do as a starter. "We do not have a solidified starting quarterback and we're still trying to find one," Wulff said. He also said he feels Tuel's future is bright and it's time to get him ready. He also said Tuel "will play" this year. We'll have more later.
Cougfan went one step further.
The Wazzu head man said he will burn the redshirt of Tuel and get him ready to play -- as early as this weekend at home against SMU.
What the heck is going on over there? First of all, what in the world did Lopina show on film that was so horrible that the coaching staff would effectively decide to bench him after letting him lead virtually the entire game against Hawaii? I know he threw two interceptions (and should have had another), but what did they see that led them to believe Lobbestael would be better? Or maybe, they just felt the way I did, that they didn't give Lobbestael a fair shot to win the job by bringing him in as the second guy. Either way, this seems like awful odd timing.
And what the heck is with reversing field on Tuel? This flies in the face of everything Wulff has said about wanting to build this program. Although, I will allow that he said he would put the guys on the field that will give the team the best chance to win. Maybe he feels like that's Tuel.
All of this absolutely smacks of desperation. My guess is that Wulff is starting to feel some pretty significant heat behind closed doors -- there is really no other explanation for this. I absolutely stand by my previous post that playing Tuel this year is a mistake; given our plethora of other problems, even if Tuel is much better than Lopina and Lobbestael, I don't see how it puts the Cougs in a better position to win.
But, as one Husky commenter said on a post yesterday -- from experience -- desperate coaches do desperate things.
This sure seems like a desperate move.
FYI: As we did last week, we should be getting the full audio of Wulff's presser from the WSU SID this afternoon or evening. We'll pass it along as soon as we have it.