Lobster, Halliday will both play

IT WAS NOT quite a job share. But during the 2002 season, former Washington State coach Mike Price promised backup quarterback Matt Kegel a second-quarter series in each game. On Thursday, coach Paul Wulff said he could envision a similar set up for the Cougars in the future, with one important difference.

Unlike Kegel, redshirt freshman Connor Halliday will not play a set series during Saturday's 7:30 p.m. game against Arizona State (TV: Versus). Wulff said senior Marshall Lobbestael will start, but Halliday will see playing time. When that comes, however, will be dictated by game flow.

"With his opportunities, we want him to grow," he said. "Now it's another opportunity to get playing time and build on that. He exemplifies exactly where we're at and Connor fits into that."

Halliday, who has not played since WSU defeated Nevada, Las Vegas, 59-7 on Sept. 10, has completed 11 of 19 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns this year.

Also, in looking ahead to next season, the Cougars (3-6 overall, 1-5 Pac-12) are building depth at quarterback. Jeff Tuel (left clavicle, calf) is the clear starter and is expected to regain the starting position in 2012 after suffering through an injury-marred season, but WSU also has Halliday, sophomore David Gilbertson and Cody Clements, a freshman who is redshirting this season, behind him.

"When we start getting players like that, there's no question there will be opportunities to do that," said Wulff, adding that also applies to positions other than quarterback. "We'll always find ways to put them in. I believe that's the best way to grow and build a program. We're just starting to get to that phase with our program."

Unless the Cougars win their final three games, Lobbestael's collegiate career will end Nov. 26 at Washington. Lobbestael, who 15 of 37 passes for 155 yards Saturday, is coming off perhaps his worst performance of the season in the 30-7 loss at California.

"He just needs to take a step and go back to playing football the way he did in our first five games," Wulff said. "He needs to relax."

IN ADDITION TO being Dad's Weekend on the Palouse, former standout linebacker Steve Gleason will be honored against the Sun Devils (6-3, 4-2). Gleason recently announced that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which commonly is known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Wulff said he would love for Gleason to speak with the team "if he's comfortable." As previously reported by CF.C, Wulff said Gleason has encountered some difficulty speaking lately.

Wulff, 44, finished his playing career at WSU a decade before Gleason, 34, in 1989. Despite that, he said the camaraderie among alums is different than other places.

"That's what makes Washington State different and special from all the other schools," he said. "I think it comes back to all of the quality memories."

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Wulff long has maintained that he considers ASU coach Dennis Erickson, who held the same position at WSU in 1987-88, as a mentor. But he also acknowledged that he felt abandoned when Erickson left to coach Miami after Wulff's junior season.

    "Sure I did," he said. "He did only spend two years here."

  • Junior defensive end Adam Coerper has played three games since returning from a knee injury. But he had just one tackle at California.

    "We need Adam to continue getting back to form off his injury," Wulff said.

  • Wulff was asked about Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who was fired Wednesday after the university's board of trustees felt he did not do enough to stop a child sex abuse scandal center around his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. As of 2011, Penn State had 49 academic All-Americans -- 47 under Paterno, which is the third-highest total among Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

    "I think he's a living legend and icon for everything he's done," Wulff said. "He's done way, way more good than anything else."


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