Cougars Prepare For Washington

Fall camp has officially ended, and the Cougars have switched gears towards the first game of the season. On Thursday Coach Mendenhall announced the offensive and defensive team captains as well as some aspects of the team that have been solidified as the Cougars prepared for the Huskies of Washington.

Individual players met with their positions coach Wednesday and many aspects of the team were sorted out, including who will and will not be starting or playing come the season opener against Washington. Well, sort of; there's still the question all Cougar fans want an answer to, and that's the situation with the quarterbacks.

"I don't think there will be an earth-shattering announcement when I say we'll probably end up playing both quarterbacks," Coach Mendenhall said. "Who takes the first snap or not won't be as relevant to me. It's just knowing that both will end up probably playing."

Coach Mendenhall firmly believes Coach Doman will handle the situation very well.

"There's not a better quarterback coach in the country than Coach Doman," said Coach Mendenhall. "He has a great relationship with his players. He's open and he's honest and they can communicate very well so there's no surprises. Again, whatever announcement we'll make, my guess is the quarterbacks will just say 'hmmm' and just keep going. Everyone else might make some big deal about it, but I don't think it will even be a bump on the pulse meter of our team. We'll just keep going."

What has been decided, however, are the team captains: seniors Andrew Rich and Matt Reynolds. Rich earned All-MWC Second-Team honors in 2009 and was selected as a 2010 Lott Trophy candidate. Reynolds has started in all 26 games of his career and is a preseason All-American candidate for the 2010 season.

"Andrew and Matt are both fantastic representatives of our program and outstanding football players," Mendenhall said. "Both have demonstrated they are capable of leading our team on and off the field."

Also announced Thursday was that redshirt freshman defensive end Thomas Bryson will not play in the Cougars' opener against Washington due to a violation of team rules. He will be relegated to scout team duties during the next week. With Bryson being out, true freshman Graham Rowley will be the fourth defensive end in the rotation.

At the fullback position, Zed Mendenhall has been named the starter with true freshman fullback Algernon Brown being redshirted.

"Zed Mendenhall will be the fullback, and he's been the fullback and we really liked him in spring and we like him now," Mendenhall said. "The only reason he's missed any practices is because he's cut open his nose, but he's far and away the clear favorite."

There is also a chance that Vic So'oto or someone else might be used as a fullback in certain circumstances.

"We haven't ruled that out yet and Richard Wilson is also a candidate there," said Mendenhall. "You might see either of those two."

Of course, Wilson is also competing to play at tight end, but the depth chart there is still up in the air.

"It's up for grabs right now," Mendenhall said. "Our plan there is we'll rotate players from the offense to the scout team and just cycle it through, and they'll have to handle all of it. Somebody will emerge, I just don't know when."

In regards to rotating players, the amount of offensive linemen that will see time is being sorted out.

"We really don't like training more than about seven there," said Mendenhall. "The eighth player is usually a luxury and just watches more than anything else, but even though we have more depth, all that's allowing us to do is have a great scout team, which is huge in terms of just being able to practice all year long."

Also announced Thursday were 23 players that will not participate in the season, instead being redshirt candidates for the 2010 season. They are as follows:


OL Jordan Back
OL Matt Jensen
OL Cole Jones
OL Quinn Lawler
OL Manu Mulitalo
OL Blair Tushaus
RB Algernon Brown
RB A.J. Moore
RB Drew Phillips
WR D.J. Doman
TE Bryan Sampson


LB Jordan Atkinson
LB Cole Herrman
LB Uona Kaveinga
LB Alani Fua
LB Sae Tautu
LB Peter Welsh
DB Jordan Johnson
DB Kori Gaines
DB Dequan Everett
DL Josh Marquardt
DL Travis Tuiloma

Total Blue Sports Top Stories