Cougars football ends tough spring on good note
One of the highlights of Washington State's final spring scrimmage was that no one got injured. It has been that kind of spring on the Palouse...
Seattle Times staff reporter
PULLMAN — One of the highlights of Washington State's final spring scrimmage was that no one got injured.
It has been that kind of spring on the Palouse — more Red Cross than crimson and gray.
"I didn't see anybody get carried off the field, nobody got hurt," said relieved coach Bill Doba when the intentionally short 53-minute scrimmage had ended.
The Cougars had started the day with 15 players on the injury list. There were only four healthy running backs and nine offensive linemen in uniform for the scrimmage.
Before a Mom's Weekend crowd of about 1,000 in Martin Stadium, the defense outperformed the offense, which scored only two touchdowns in 16 possessions.
The prettiest TD was a 39-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback Alex Brink to Brandon Gibson, who also scored on an 89-yard kickoff return.
The other TD was a 28-yard pass from Kevin Lopina to Greg Walker. Kansas State transfer Lopina had missed most of the spring with a hamstring injury.
Two players who had a good afternoon were place-kickers Romeen Abdollmohammad and Loren Langley. They each made all three field-goal attempts, including 45-yarders.
"Overall, offensively it probably wasn't our best showing of the spring," said Doba, who is wearing the second hat of defensive coordinator this year. "But the defense needed a little moral support, especially the old coach. Nice to see that."
Brink's assessment of the offense: "A little sloppy."
Brink completed 7 of 12 passes for 67 yards with a TD and interception. Backup Gary Rogers was 1 for 9 for 7 yards and was intercepted once. He was the victim of three dropped passes.
The Cougars' offense is considered to be stronger than the defense.
With spring ball complete, the things the Cougars must do next fall to have a winning season are coming into focus:
1) They must be healthy.
Among the 15 players who didn't suit up Saturday, there is concern about the fall availability of four likely contributors — defensive tackles A'i Ahmu (recovering from foot surgery) and Aaron Johnson (bulging back disk that got worse in spring), defensive end Lance Broadus (shoulder sprain suffered in spring) and wide receiver Keith Rosenberg (shoulder dislocation suffered in spring).
2) Many fall newcomers must contribute, especially the incoming junior-college players who were recruited to fill needs, specifically in the secondary that has been labeled the team's No. 1 concern.
3) Brink, who was second-team All-Pac-10 last season with 2,889 passing yards and 19 TDs, must have a good senior season.
4) The running attack needs to be a threat. Starting running back Dwight Tardy returns but the guy who needs to do well early in camp is Chris Ivory. He withdrew from school to return to Texas because of his mother's illness, but is expected back for summer school and should be eligible.
5) Special teams must improve. They were among the worst in the Pac-10 last year.
The Cougars open the season at Wisconsin, which is sure to be ranked in the top 10, Sept. 1.
Washington State Cougars spring scrimmage
Rushing -- Ian Bell 3-22; Kevin McCall 4-18; Marcus Richmond 3-13; Dwight Tardy 4-10.
Passing -- Alex Brink 7-12-1-67-1 TD-39 long; Gary Rogers 1-9-1-7-0-7, Cole Morgan 4-5-0-21-0-8, Kevin Lopina 3-4-0-37-1-28.
Receiving -- Brandon Gibson 4-54 (TD), Benny Ward 3-20, Greg Walker 2-35 (TD), Anthony Huston 2-9; Michael Bumpus 1-7; Charles Dillon 1-6, Scott Selby 1-1, Dwight Tardy 1-0.
Scoring Brink, 39 pass to Gibson; Lopina, 28 pass to Alker; Gibson 88 kickoff return.
Field goals made -- Romeen Abdollmohammadi 3-3 (27, 22, 45); Loren Langley (27, 22, 45), Carlin Birrell 1-3 (22).
Punting -- Darryl Blunt 4-151 37.8 avg; Reid Forrest 3-129, 43 average.
Interceptions -- Husain Abdullah, Brian Williams.
Sacks (by touch, no tackling allowed) -- Cory Evans 2, Michael Graise, Kevin Kooyman, Asly Jean-Jacques.
Tackle leaders -- Dwayne Patterson 4, Michael Graise 3, B.T. Walker 3, Andrew Kruetz 3, Ryan Kensock 3, Cory Evans 3, Brian Williams 2, Greg Trent 2, Jason Stripling 2, Andy Mattingly 2, Asly Jean-Jacques 2, Jason Walters 2, Tali Talakai 2.
|For 2007 football season|
|Sept. 1||at Wisconsin|
|Sept. 8||San Diego State*|
|Sept. 22||at USC|
|Sept. 29||at Arizona|
|Oct. 6||Arizona State|
|Oct. 13||at Oregon|
|Nov. 3||at California|
|Nov. 17||Oregon State|
|Nov. 24||at Washington|
|* at Qwest Field|