Washington State Learns That Things Are Getting Better

Lew WrightSenior Writer IOctober 15, 2008

For those of you who follow my ramblings, "Yes", my article yesterday was led with a comment that contradicts today's lead in.

Perhaps my thoughts are quite complex? Not even close.

Here's the deal.

Coach Paul Wulff has already created a noticeable shift in the Washington State Cougar football program.  That shift is in a very positive direction.  Forget the 1-6 start the Cougs are off to.  

Cougar Nation, things are getting better.

This Saturday, when the Cougs host the best college football team in the nation, USC, they will have Kevin Lopina back at quarterback.

Lopina has been shelved since the Portland State game when a blocking assignment was missed and he took a blindside hit that knocked him nearly all the way to Colfax.  The hit resulted in Lopina suffering a cracked bone in his back.

Tuesday afternoon, Lopina trotted out on the practice field with the first team and performed very well.  There is some rust in his game to knock off, but here's the best news coming out of practice: He felt good.

Many players would still be in the training room after an injury like the one to Lopina.  That's not the case here.

Lopina believes in his coaches and team.  Standing on the sidelines the past two weeks, he sees progress that others chose to ignore.  That fire in the coaching staff and team is what has Lopina's desire burning to get back under center this coming Saturday.

But wait, there's more.

Starting center Kenny Alfred, the anchor for an offensive line that has yet to gel, left practice early Tuesday afternoon.  He didn't have to return to the trainer's room to nurse an injury.  No sir.  Alfred needed to take care of classroom business by participating in a lab study group preparing for an upcoming exam.

As competitive as Alfred is on the football field, he knows he's a student-athlete.

The heart and soul of the Cougs defensive backfield is Xavier Hicks.  Like Alfred, he left the practice field early as well.  Also like Alfred, Hicks was taking care of classroom business as well.  Yet another example of a student-athlete that has his priorities straight.

Yes, Cougar Nation, the pendulum is swinging the right way in Pullman these days.  Coach Wulff is creating a football program culture that will demand excellence both on and off the field.

There are many shallow followers of Cougar football that have become exasperated, cranky, and worst of all, misguided.  Those folks call themselves "fans," but that is the wrong label.  They probably jumped on the bandwagon years after Coach Mike Price finally changed the football culture in Pullman.

Unfortunately, the work put in by Coach Price faded away.  Rather than pout, rant, and whine, those folks might just as well jump off the bandwagon for a couple of years.  


All who want to jump on the bandwagon in a couple of years will be welcomed with open arms by the Cougar faithful.  It's just that easy.


The Washington State football program under the leadership of Coach Wulff is getting better.