Spring Ball Day 7: Brink makes his case

PULLMAN --- With temperatures soaring into the 70s, the three-way battle for quarterback appeared to heat up for Washington State on Friday, as freshman <b>Alex Brink</b> showed off some of the fancy footwork and pinpoint passing that made him the most prolific signal caller in Oregon prep history.

In the face of lock-down coverage by the WSU secondary, the 6-2, 191-pound Brink put on a running and throwing clinic. On one play he was forced to his left, meaning any pass for a right-handed QB would be against the grain. Alas, on the run, he fired a beauty to Marty Martin in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard score.

Later, as the defense closed in around him, Brink scrambled up the middle, dodging and weaving his way 10 yards for another TD.

And on his very next snap, he again proved elusive in the pocket, scrambling for a six-yard gainer. He then completed a short pass to Tramaine Murray who was forced out of bounds at the one-yard line.

Brink says he feels like he's done a good job so far this spring but wants to improve his technique on drop backs.

His credentials coming out of Eugene's Sheldon High were nothing less than spectacular. In his three seasons as a starter, the Irish went 35-3. Along the way, he passed for 9,262 yards, the most ever by an Oregon high schooler. He also fired 92 TD passes, the second-most in Oregon prep history.

While Brink clearly was the QB of the day on Friday, Josh Swogger and Chris Hurd weren't exactly slouches. Swogger made a sweet toss to Martin --- a real standout at receiver so far this spring -- in the corner of the end zone. And Hurd, showing no ill effects from knee surgery, made a nifty pass to Thomas Ostrander after being forced to scramble out of the pocket to his right.

Tramaine Murray, making a strong bid to be one of the Cougars' new starters at receiver, continued to impress on Friday. After catching one ball, he made a nice spin move to get by the first defender on his way for a couple extra yards. He also made a nice reception on a slant route, laying out in front of Karl Paymah in tight coverage.

Tight coverage seemed to be the phrase of the day. The defensive backs looked especially good, making solid reads and showing impressive closing speed. Highlights included junior corner Alex Teems' knocking a ball away from Ostrander; and freshman safety Husain Abdullah making a nice adjustment on a play when he appeared to have been beaten, and getting back in position to deflect a pass intended for Martin.

One DB who was absent from today's blanket-fest was sophomore cornerback Don Turner, ticketed for serious playing time in 2004 as a starter or dime and nickel insert. For the second straight spring season, the pride of Spokane's University High is out with injury. On Monday he went down with a bruised Achilles tendon that likely ends the rest of the spring for him. A year ago he sustained a broken arm in spring workouts.

"It's kind of like a year ago when he was making a lot of progress and then, boom, he's out for the rest of spring," said secondary coach Ken Greene. The injury isn't as severe this time and Greene he is hoping Turner will be back to 100 percent in August.


Freshman DE Reyshawn Bobo showed impressive speed Friday with a couple of sacks on the day, one on Swogger and the other on Hurd.

The scrimmage for Saturday has pushed back from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Cougfan Top Stories