Swogger affirms he's here to stay

TWO DAYS AFTER what appeared to be a golden opportunity to reclaim the top job at Quarterback U, WSU junior quarterback Josh Swogger told Cougfan.com he's "just hanging in there" waiting for a shot and that rumors of a transfer to hometown Youngstown State are amusing, but pure fiction.

At Cal on Saturday,Alex Brink -- the sophomore who beat out Swogger for the starting job in a heated battle over the summer -- struggled mightily in the first half. In fact, it was perhaps one of the most painful signal calling performances by a Cougar in recent memory. He hit only four of 17 passes and threw two back-breaking interceptions within 90 seconds of each other late in the second quarter that produced 14 Cal points.

Pundits from Berkeley to Blaine -- including Fox Sports analyst Billy Ray Smith -- were fully expecting to see the 6-5, 249-pound Swogger start the second half. He didn't. And Brink subsequently turned in a stellar second-half performance that led to 28 unanswered Cougar points.

Rumors of a Josh Swogger transfer have been building for a couple of weeks -- and took on new life over the weekend. But the strong-armed junior says he's not going anywhere.

"I'm a Coug," Swogger told Cougfan.com Monday morning. "That's the way I look at it. That thought hasn't even crossed my mind. There's always going to be stuff like that. Pretty funny, really."

Swogger -- who has continued to be the consummate teammate, regularly coming by the football office after hours and asking what more he can do to help the team -- was seen throughout the Cal game offering Brink, and other Cougar players, encouragement when the breaks were going against them.

"I think there's two ways you can handle a situation like this," said Swogger. "One is the bad way, to say you're getting a raw deal and all that. What I try to do is help out the guys, almost acting like a coach and help out the guys on the sideline."

And Swogger reiterated that while many people will probably always have a tendency to automatically accept rumor as fact, this one has no basis in reality.

"People are going to talk," he said. "They're going to say, 'Oh I'm from his hometown and my second cousin's girlfriend or whatever says....' But I'm a Coug. And its going to stay that way for as long as I know."

At the end of the game, the Cougar Radio Network's Bud Namek asked head coach Bill Doba if the staff had considered replacing Brink with Swogger at halftime. Doba was succinct: No.

Still, Swogger remains as loyal a crimson and gray foot soldier as ever.

"I'm doing good," said Swogger. "I'm just hanging in there, and just seeing when I'm going to get my shot."

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