Lobbestael to start, Lopina out indefinitely

UPDATED: The coaches had to to kick Marshall Lobbestael out of the film room late Monday night. Paul Wulff said the redshirt freshman quarterback is soaking up as much as he can -- and it's now official Lobbestael will get his first college start against Oregon. What's Kevin Lopina's status, who's the No. 2 behind Lobbestael, other injury news plus more...

Lopina suffered a fracture of the L-4 transverse process of his vertebrae against Portland State, WSU Head Trainer Bill Drake said in a release late Tuesday afternoon. Lopina is out indefinitely and will be reevaluated on a week-by-week basis.

The coaches came out of a meeting last night around 10:30 p.m. to find Lobbestael still there studying film.


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"He'd been here all day and finally we told him to get the heck out of the office," said Wulff. "He thinks he's so far behind and so, Marshall is putting in too many hours...he's excited and he's a competitor.

"The things that's nice about Marshall is he's nowhere near where he's going to be physically in a couple years...he's going to get a lot bigger and stronger as he gets older...I think there's a lot of potential in Marshall that's far from being tapped."

WULFF SAID HE MAY BURN the redshirt of J.T. Levenseller should further disaster befall the Cougar quarterbacking corps and he didn't hesitate to answer in the affirmative when asked about the possibility.

The Cougs have Levenseller and walk-on Dan Wagner behind Lopina, now with Gary Rogers out for the season and Lopina sidelined. Wulff said Levenseller, son of Cougar receivers coach Mike Levenseller, would be the No. 2 unless it appeared a backup QB would be needed only briefly.

"If it's a long period of time potentially, yes, that would probably be how we would handle it," said Wulff of Levenseller as the No. 2.

AT LINEBACKER, Ken Dunn and Mike Ledgerwood are questionable for Saturday though Wulff sounded cautiously optimistic on their availability. He said Dunn would probably practice today.

Cory Evans will be limited this week in practice and may be a slightly longer shot for Saturday.

The release on Lopina also said that it was determined Tuesday that junior linebacker Jason Stripling will need surgery on his shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season.

WULFF SAID left guard Vaughn Lesuma has a slight ankle injury and there may be more tweaks to the o-line starting line up.

"There's a couple 2-3 kids that are playing pretty consistent, and some kids that aren't and it's hurting our consistency as an offense, so we're still trying to find some answers," said Wulff. "We desperately need some kids to step up...there's a lot of youth in there that can step up and maybe make a difference. We have some nice young players playing, but we've got to get some more production and consistency out of them.

"Steven Ayers and B.J. Guerra need to step up and play, they're freshmen but they're capable. Joe Eppele needs to play better. His first career start he got a lot of playing time for a guy who hasn't practiced much...we definitely need that (left) side to play a lot better than what has been happening for us."

  • Wulff said the biggest strength of the Ducks, who are having quarterback health problems of their own, is in their running game on offense but the Cougs have to guard against the pass as well, particularly given Oregon's fourth quarter performance against BSU last week.

  • FSN Northwest has selected for broadcast the Cougars' Oct. 4 tilt at UCLA, set for a 7:15 p.m. start. The addition means, so far, WSU's first six contests of the 2008 campaign, eight total for the season, have been selected for television broadcast. Only one of the games has thus far been available in High Definition, the opener against Okie State, (Baylor would have been in HD but the game was moved up to Friday with an approaching hurricane. USC and the Apple Cup are both slated for HD.) The homecoming game this Saturday will be broadcast on FSN Northwest and is not scheduled to be in HD. Both ABC and FSN will select additional games during the course of the 2008 season, with announcements generally made six or 12 days in advance of the games.

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