Forrest was back in action the following week and has pretty much been lights out ever since.
He's averaging 42.2 yards per boot and has nailed six of his 20 punts inside the 20 yards line, with at least three of those have been inside the 5. And get this. With the height and distance he's putting on the ball, the Cougs have surrendered just 54 total return yards. By comparison, in the OSU game alone the Cougs gave up 120 punt return yards.
In a year where we Cougars don't have many bright spots to point out, the 6-foot, 179-pound kid from central Washington farm country is proving to be quite a talent. He recently took time to answer a few questions from me -- a 15-year-old Cougar fan -- as part of a periodic column aimed at asking WSU players and coaches the questions adults don't seem to think of asking.
Cougfan.com: Which one of your fellow Cougars would make the worst possible long snapper?
Reid Forrest : "Oh jeez … I'm gonna have to go with Greg Trent, because his muscles are too big to bend down and get his arms between his legs."
CF.C: Who do you think would win a 100-yard dash between Ai Ahmu and Matt Eichelberger?
Forrest : "Oh no (laughs). I'm gonna have to go with Ai on that one, just because he's got the hair, man. He's got that long hair that would give him the advantage."
|FORREST BECAME COUGS' FIRST-STRING PUNTER EARLY LAST SEASON.|
Forrest : "Probably the one where he had a diving touchdown catch against Stanford that put them ahead and they ended up winning the game. That's one that has stuck with me and made me a big Coug-fan for sure."
Editor's note: Jim Forrest's famed one-handed catch at Stanford in '71 wasn't for a TD but it did help set up the Don Sweet field goal in the final seconds that propelled the Cougs to what many believed was the biggest upset in college football that season. To read more about it, click to Upset for the ages triggered WSU turnaround.
CF.C: Did any of his stories influence your decision to come and play at WSU?
Forrest : "Yea I think so. Those are the stories about him and all of his buddies, teammates, and all the stuff that they did outside of football, and around the Pullman area. Plus, seeing all those strong connections that he still has from that, made me realize how great the Cougar Nation really is."
CF.C: How did playing prep ball at Ephrata help you prepare for the Pac-10?
Forrest : "I can't honestly say that it really did, but being in a smaller school helped me learn more positions and gave me more opportunities to play those positions that I wouldn't have had at a larger school."
CF.C: Why did you choose to become a punter?
Forrest :"I was the best at it at the time, and I felt that I could help the team be the most productive in that area."
|ANOTHER NO. 8 WITH A GOOD LEG: Ray Guy was voted All-Pro seven times with the Raiders and is universally considered the greatest punter of all time.|
Forrest :"I would probably have to say (Oakland Raiders legend) Ray Guy is my favorite punter just because he is the best to ever put a uniform on and punt a football. I've worked out with him twice and he's really just a great guy as well"
CF.C: Where did you get the chance to work out with him?
Forrest : "I worked out with him over in Tacoma over the fourth of July he hold a camp over there so I drive over and work with him for two days"
CF.C: If you could be an All-American at any position of your choice which would you choose?
Forrest : "Um…probably Quarterback cause my draft stock would go up a lot higher. Plus you (as a quarterback) you get a lot more publicity than a punter."
CF.C: What is your favorite childhood sports memory?
Forrest : "I would probably have to be going to the (Babe Ruth) World Series when I was 16 because the whole experience was just great. That was the first time I had really competed against guys who were all over the country so it was really great."
CF.C: Excluding athletes, who would you say your childhood hero was?
Forrest : "Probably my Grandpa, because he fought in World War II and earned a purple heart. He's just a warrior, the guys deaf in one ear and blind in one eye, he's 92, he still driven, and he just keeps on chuggin'."
CF.C: The Cougs have a chance at a game- winning field goal against USC -- which coach do you want out there kicking?
Forrest : "Probably Coach (Travis) Niekamp just because he's been around special teams long enough and he's probably the most flexible of all the coaches."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayden Eller, 15, is a tenth-grader attending the International School of Latvia after moving there with his family from Chelan a year ago. His addiction to crimson and gray started six years ago when he attended his first game at Martin Stadium, a Cougar win over Idaho. His father, Jeff, is a 1985 WSU graduate. Hayden has named his dog Butch, and is working to turn his little brother and mom into avid Coug fans.
BEFORE HE WAS A FULL-TIME PUNTER, REID FORREST WAS LOOKING TO MAKE A NAME FOR HIMSELF THE SAME WAY PAPPY, JIM FORREST, DID IN THE EARLY 1970S.