FALL CAMP DAY 15: Brink gears up, Bienemann stars

PULLMAN -- It may have come as a surprise to many that Alex Brink was named the starting quarterback by Bill Doba on Tuesday. But for those watching the sophomore's progression in the second half of last season, in the spring and on into this training camp, it was no surprise at all.

Meanwhile out on Rogers Field today, Troy Bienemann displayed trademark consistency, Brandon Gibson and Benny Ward turned in fine catches and Michael Willis had the hit of the day. Plus, an injury update.

"I knew it was going to be a battle," said Alex Brink, (6-3, 212, SO) "Josh and I are both good players and competitors."

Brink said his underdog status propelled him to work harder this offseason. The effort obviously paid off because he's shown improvement in consistency, grasp of the offense, and simply, being able to get the ball to the right players.

In three formal scrimmages this training camp, Brink completed 27 of 53 passes for 294 yards, two TDs and two INTs. Swogger completed 24 of 45 for 328 yards, one TD and one INT.

"(The QB competition) was pretty even to me," said wide receiver Jason Hill, who just was named to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award. "I definitely could have seen either one of them being picked."

Brink gave a lot of credit to his ascension up the WSU depth chart to the spring, when Josh Swogger (6-5, 245, JR) was sidelined.

"It gave me a chance to run with the ones," said Brink. "It helped my play and boosted my confidence."

WSU quarterbacks coach Timm Rosenbach believes that Brink got on it a little quicker. He also feels that Brink is doing all of the "little things." One of those little things is checking on the line to see if the offense is lined up or not. If this is not done, then it will result in a penalty, explained Rosenbach.

Both quarterbacks are relieved a decision has been made. But Brink feels that the decision is not going to affect his and Swogger's relationship off the field. The two are friends and Brink feels for Swogger because he was in the same position last season.

"He is still going to be a leader for this team and is going to be a guy everyone looks up to, including me," said Brink.

Brink said that he will work harder knowing that there is a guy behind him who could take his spot. However, he feels even stronger now that the team can move on and focus on Idaho, the season-opening opponent on Sept. 1.

ON THE FIELD today, tight end Troy Bienemann stood out as Brink found the big tight end on a number of occasions.

Benny Ward made a nice break on the ball against tight coverage from Omowale Dada. The true freshman went out and got the ball and then turned upfield, drawing praise from offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller.

And Brandon Gibson simply continues to impress. The added weight he's put on is readily noticeable and the true frosh out of Puyallup's Rogers High continues to catch nearly everything thrown his way.

Will Derting (hamstring) and Husain Abdullah (ankle) continued to be held out of drills today but each was in shorts and out on the field and looked to be moving around fine.

Not practicing today were Cody Boyd (ankle), Kevin McCall (ankle), Dwight Tardy (hamstring), Jacob McKinney (knee), Thomas Ostrander (back strain) and Adam Hineline (respiratory ailment).

Limited in their workouts were Marty Martin (concussion), Greg Prator (hand fracture), Matt Mullenix (finger fracture), Michael Bumpus (knee sprain), Cory Evans, (neck sprain).

Michael Willis had the hit of the day at the expense of Bumpus, putting the sophomore on his back. The wide receiver bounced right up, and went right back to business.

Jason Hill was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List, becoming the fourth Cougar this season to earn national preseason recognition. Derting has been named to the 2005 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award, Lott Trophy, and Ted Bednarik Award watch lists, center Nick Mihlhauser is on the 2005 Dave Rimington Trophy watch list and junior defensive end Mkristo Bruce was named to the 2005 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of Year Award preseason watch list.

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