Scrimmage 3: QBs on target, Willis on fire

PULLMAN – Alex Brink and Arkelon Hall fueled an offensive reversal of fortune Saturday in Washington State's second-to-last scrimmage of the spring season. After two weeks of defensive domination, Brink and Hall each fired for two touchdowns as the Cougar O collected 254 yards of total offense. Both of Hall's scoring aerials, 12 and 3 yards, went to versatile tight end Tony Thompson, who rapidly is proving that he's more than just a long-snapper.

The offensive fireworks didn't, however, overshadow the bone-jarring work on defense by safety Michael Willis. But more on that in a moment.

Thompson finished the day with four receptions and 36 yards. Each of his scoring catches were under coverage. The second grab, which came late in the scrimmage, had the 6-2, 235-pound second-year freshman reeling in the pass and falling in the back of the endzone.

Hall finished the day completely 6-of-10 passes for 27 yards. Brink was 6-of-9 for 75 yards, but 42 of those yards came in one play to star receiver Jason Hill, who grabbed the bomb from Brink for the first touchdown of the morning.

Brink's second touchdown, a 3-yard pass to Chris Jordan, highlighted an impressive day for the Cougar offense in the redzone -- an aspect of their game that had been lacking in the first two scrimmages this spring.

The running game, a hot-topic in Pullman following the loss of All-American Jerome Harrison, was a little quieter than the past games, as seven players rushed for a combined 98 yards and no TDs.

The run of the day belonged to junior Kevin McCall, who busted up the right before deciding to reverse directions, cutting completely across the width of the field to the left sideline for a 27-yard gain. He was finally brought down by free safety DeWayne Patterson at the 2-yard line, setting up the first of Thompson's touchdowns.

The 5-11, 215 pound McCall finished the day with four carries for 46 yards.

Sophomore DeMaundray Woolridge, the expected starter come this fall, also had a solid day, going 33 yards on 11 carries.

DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING, the air of intensity was high and although the stop corps didn't have any big sacks or interceptions, a few major league hits shook up the offense and provided some excitement for the small, rain-soaked crowd.

The three big hits of the day belonged to sophomores: linebacker Greg Trent, cornerback Ryan Kensok, and strong safety Michael Willis.

The 6-0, 217-pound Willis, who went head-to-head with Woolridge in Thursday's practice in a collision that had everyone talking, had another bang-up day as he brought the fire to the field laying out a bone-rattling hit on wide receiver Jordan.

Head Coach Bill Doba said after the scrimmage that he was very pleased with the play of Willis. "He'll really come hit you," Doba said. "He hit so hard Thursday he about knocked himself silly and some kids would be afraid to come back and hit again, but he wasn't. He came right back and got after him. He'll really bring it."

Junior tight end Jed Collins might be sore tomorrow following an illegal hit from 5-10, 230-pound Trent that had Collins flat on his back in front of the endzone. The play drew flags for pass interference, but the message was undoubtedly heard loud and clear.

The rather diminutive 5-9, 164 pound Kensok also brought his A game Saturday, nailing wide receiver Andy Largent following a completed Hall pass. The Spokane walk-on also was involved in an on-field tussle with freshman wide receiver David Talley following a pass brake-up by Kensok.

NOTABLE NOTES:

Kicker Loren Langley was 4 of 4 in PATs but missed the lone field goal attempt of the day wide left from 41 yards out.

On the injury front, junior Michael Bumpus exited the game early, hobbling off the field. It didn't appear to be cause for alarm, however, as he was seen walking along the sideline. A trainer could not be immediately reached for comment.

Senior left defensive tackle Odell Howard was examined by several trainers and eventually helped off the field with what appeared to be a leg injury. Although no immediate information was available, CF.C will keep you posted.

JC transfer tight end Jason Price, who returned to workouts just yesterdat following a hamstring injury, caught one pass Saturday.

Besides Brink and Hall, Cougar quarterbacks Gary Rogers and Cole Morgan also saw action Saturday. Roger connected on 4-of-14 attempts for 33 yards and Morgan was 4-of-5 for 21 yards.

A programming note: New WSU recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach Greg Peterson will be visiting the CF.C Chat Room this Wednesday evening (April 12) at 7 p.m. to answer your questions.

A subscription is required to access the Chat Room, which you can take out for a FREE 7-day test drive. Click here for membership options: CF.C Premium Access –- though the annual Total Access Pass is the best deal, both in terms of price and perks).

SCRIMMAGE STATS

Rushing - McCall 4/46, Woolridge 11/26, Tardy 6/5, Moss 1/4, Perry 1/4, Puailo1/4 .

Passing - Brink 6/9/0/75, Rogers 4/14/0/33, Morgan 4/5/0/21, Hall 6/10/0/27

Receiving - Thompson 4/36, Jordan 3/20, Hill 2/51, Gibson 2/7, Collins 2/10, Bumpus 1/8, Woodard 1/6, Curtis 1/0, Puailoa 1/4, Williams 1/6, Largent 1/5, Price 1/3

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