Spring finale: Cougs' speed has Wulff raving

SPOKANE -- When Paul Wulff returned to his alma mater to take over the Washington State football program prior to the 2008 season, he was shocked at the Cougars' lack of speed. With the bulk of his fourth recruiting class set to arrive later this summer, WSU has speed to burn. More precisely, WSU has speed to burn opposing defenses.

Speedy freshmen Henry Eaddy and Rickey Galvin scored the first two touchdowns in the Crimson's 38-3 rout of the Gray in a Saturday afternoon scrimmage at Joe Albi Stadium that marked the end of spring workouts at Washington State.

A crowd of 4,076 ignored intermittent rain to watch the Crimson -- consisting mostly of starters -- overwhelm the Gray on both sides of the ball.

"The 1's (starters) played like 1's should play," Wulff said.

"Guys were making plays left and right," quarterback Jeff Tuel said. "Like I've said all spring, you never know who's going to make the next play and do something great."

THE CRIMSON SCORED on all five possessions in the first half of the game. The no-huddle, hurry-up offense that Wulff and offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy have often struggled to implement since their arrival in Pullman was purring like never before in any practice or game, Wulff said.

"We couldn't click like that if it was versus air the first two years," Wulff cracked.

It helps to have a proven quarterback like Tuel running the show. The junior completed 12 of 17 touchdowns for 128 yards and one touchdown.

Tuel was quick to point to WSU's improved speed as a key factor in the Crimson's impressive offensive performance against an injury-ravaged defense.

"We have fast football players on this team, and it's going to make a difference," Tuel said. "That's why we're making plays out here.

"Speed kills."

The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Eaddy, one of three Florida freshmen who graduated from high school early and arrived at WSU in January, ran 32 yards down the left sideline on a reverse for the first score.

Galvin burst up the middle for 23 yards on the Crimson's next play from scrimmage. He raced 29 yards to the 1-yard line on the following play, which was called back on a penalty, but he wound up capping the drive with a 5-yard TD run.

Wulff said Eaddy and Galvin possess "very good feet, so it allows them to move in small spaces.

"They're both freshmen, so they're still young, but they're coming.

"If you're 18 years old or 22 years old, if you can run fast, you can run fast."

THE COUGARS HAVE not updated heights and weights since last season, but the 5-foot-8 (maybe) Galvin said he weighs 173 pounds, up 11 from his listed weight. Galvin redshirted last year when he suffered a fractured arm on his first carry in the season opener at Oklahoma State.

"I feel like I can bring a lot of excitement," said Galvin, who ran for 2,264 yards and 24 touchdowns as a high-school senior in Berkeley, Calif. "I call myself, ‘The changer'; the pace changer.' "

On Saturday, Galvin looked like a game changer. He ran for 47 yards on five carries before sitting out most of the scrimmage after suffering a bruised sternum when he was leveled by linebacker Darren Markle after catching a pass.

"A little bruise, nothing major," Galvin said. "I could have gone back out there."

Marquess Wilson, coming off a sensational freshman season, led Crimson receivers with six catches for 82 yards. Sophomore Bennett Bontemps was the top receiver for the Gray with six grabs for 30 yards in a scrimmage that lasted approximately 70 minutes, with the clock usually running.

The youngsters weren't the only ones having fun. Senior running back Logwone Mitz led everyone with 13 carries, 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Mitz also had two receptions for 27 yards.

Mitz ran 70 yards on the first play from scrimmage for the third touchdown. The Crimson led 35-0 at the half when Mitz scored from 4 yards out after sophomore tight end Andrei Lintz hauled in a beautifully lofted 29-yard TD pass from Tuel.

There were no turnovers or fumbles. Senior middle linebacker Mike Ledgerwood, who started ahead of gifted sophomore C.J. Mizell for the Crimson, made some big hits. Junior tackle Anthony Laurenzi had two quarterback sacks for the Crimson.

Reserve quarterbacks Marshall Lobbestael (5-for-10, 46 yards) and Connor Halliday (4-for-11, 26 yards) alternated possessions with the Gray before Lobbestael, a senior, took over for Tuel most of the second half. Lobbestael and Halliday, a redshirt freshman, had timing issues with receivers.

More than a dozen players, many of them key defensive players, sat out with injuries. That left the Gray defense short on talent, experience and speed.

WULFF SAID WSU'S defense -- a glaring weakness the past three years -- will be improved once players return to health in the summer and fall.

"There's a unit that's going to drastically change between now and the fall," Wulff said. "We think we've got four or five defensive linemen who weren't even participating here that could start, and without (Louis) Bland and (Sekope) Kaufusi out there at linebacker, that's a lot of guys."

Sophomore Andrew Furney cemented his status as the No. 1 kicker by nailing both his field-goal tries and all five extra points. One of Furney's field goals was a 53-yard line drive with the wind at his back, accounting for the Gray's only points.

Former reserve quarterback Dan Wagner, who figures to see his first regular action in college as a fifth-year senior punter, struggled with inconsistency. Reid Forrest punted the past four years for WSU, and Wagner is his replacement.

"This was his worst outing," Wulff said. "He's been very solid. I'm very confident in him."

Players and coaches were delighted with the size of the crowd. Spring scrimmages in Pullman rarely draw more than a few hundred spectators.

"If we get this kind of support, we're going to do it every year," Wulff said.

  • More than a dozen former Cougar players were on hand, including current and former NFL players Jack Thompson, Ryan Leaf, Marcus Trufant, Erik Coleman and brothers Hamza and Husain Abdullah.

  • The Cougars received good and bad news regarding the recent knee injuries of two players. An MRI confirmed Blair Bomber, a redshirt freshman wide receiver-kick returner, has a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He needs surgery that will force him to miss the season. Defensive tackle Kalafitoni Pole appears to have escaped with a sprained knee that will not require surgery.

  • The scrimmage was broadcast live on television and radio in Eastern Washington.

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