SCRIMMAGE NO. 2: Swogger, Brink deadlocked

PULLMAN -- The quarterback position battle continued to dominate as the lead story in Tuesday night's scrimmage, as Alex Brink came out swinging and Josh Swogger stepped up his game. A pair of true freshmen, Brandon Gibson and Greg Trent, continue to make the case for early playing time this year as the kicking battle wages on, Lorenzo Bursey makes a pick plus all the latest injury notes.

On his first drive, Alex Brink completed six of eight passes and moving his team down the field. Jerome Harrison capped the drive with a 15-yard score.

Brink said afterward the rapid tempo was the result of focusing on quickening things after the offense felt flat in scrimmage No. 1 last Saturday.

"With as many good skill position players as we have," Brink said, "we need to move the ball fast and get the ball down the field."

Brink would finish 11 of 17 passing for 162 yards with a 37 yard touchdown pass to Jason Hill and an interception by Lorenzo Bursey.

Josh Swogger did not quite rank with Brink in yardage (105 passing yards) but his completion percentage was similar (12 of 19) and he went without throwing an interception. Despite not tossing a score, he led a unit to paydirt and his unit handled the two-minute drill better than Brink's.

Coach Bill Doba said after the scrimmage, again, that a starter has not emerged. He said he would have a better progress gauge on the team after seeing film and indicated a decision won't be too long in coming.

"I'd like to know yesterday," Doba said when asked when he would prefer a starter take off and lead in the two-way competition. "Both (quarterbacks) had good spots, had bad spots."

JASON HILL AND MICHAEL BUMPUS each had six catches, Hill for 37 yards and Bumpus for 19, with Brandon Gibson the night's leading yardage receiver. The Puyallup native and true freshman continues to run exceptional routes and turn heads, collecting five passes for 67 yards Tuesday.

Doba praised a trio of true-freshman linebackers, saying Greg Trent had great natural strength and instincts and should play this year. He said Jason Stripling and Corey Evans need time, but have good upside.

ONE OTHER POSITION BATTLE of note besides quarterback, that for the kicking chores, also continues to be deadlocked. Loren Langley and Graham Siderius performed almost exactly the same in the second scrimmage as in round one. The only miss between the two coming on a longer boot, from 47 yards, that Langley missed and Siderius converted.

Doba said that a reversal of trends has occurred with the normally strong-legged Siderius improving on accuracy and the normally more accurate Langley getting better distance on kick offs.

SLOPPINESS CONTINUED TO exasperate the coaching staff Tuesday. Offensive line coach George Yarno was heard yelling to his players to tuck in their jerseys, following with; "If you're going to get your butts kicked, you might as well look good."

In addition to wardrobe malfunctions, repeated mistakes were manifested in false starts, missed blocks and various other penalties.

"We're just not consistent," Doba said. "We've got to clean up our act."

Bursey's interception came in a two-minute drill as Brink tried to connect with receiver Benny Ward on fourth down. Bursey simply stood his ground in the face of the approaching Ward and showing nice ball skills, took in the pass, ending the evening's session.

Six-foot-three, 314-pound defensive tackle Matt Eichelberger swallowed 5-foot-7, 174-pound running back Isao Puailoa in one of the biggest mismatches of the evening.

Swogger opined that a vast improvement can be realized on offense if the young players continue to improve.

Doba said DeMaundray Woolridge (right knee sprain) had an MRI and coaches think he will be okay. He added Dwight Tardy has a hamstring injury and said a timetable is hard to estimate. Finally, Doba said Greg Prator will have the pins removed Wednesday in his injured hand.

Cougfan Top Stories