JT may see more PT, Lopina talks about effort

PULLMAN -- As high winds, rain and even some hail pelted Pullman on Tuesday, the WSU football team headed to the practice bubble, where intensity was high. J.T. Levenseller says his confidence is bolstered, and Alfonso Jackson is getting ready to play two positions if need be. Meanwhile, Kevin Lopina talks about effort and praises two teammates.

The No. 1 offense and defense spent more time than usual going head to head in drills, a decision that head coach Paul Wulff said was made to boost the tempo so that starters were seeing quality opponents as close as possible to game time.

The 1-8 Cougars host 5-3 Arizona in a Dads' Day contest Saturday. Kickoff is at 2 pm (no TV).

"We need to keep more quality reps," he said.

Levenseller, the freshman QB who saw his first-ever collegiate action in last Saturday's loss at Stanford, continued working with the No. 2 offense and said he was more confident now that he's seen action in a real game.

"I'm taking a lot from the experience (at Stanford)," he said. "Hopefully it helps me out this week, there's only room for improvement." Levenseller completed 2 of 4 passes for 20 yards in that game.

Wulff said the plan for Levenseller against Arizona is similar to that of the Stanford game. He said the Pullman High graduate will most likely lead the offense in a series late in the first quarter, and early in the second quarter with the possibility of more time in the second half.

He noted that if starting quarterback Kevin Lopina is really in a rhythm, then Levenseller's playing time would be more limited.

On the injury front, the Cougars are in about the same shape as last week. Wulff said that running back Chris Ivory will most likely sit out once again with his hamstring injury. Tight end Devin Frischknicht was on the sidelines Tuesday doing drills to rehabilitate his high ankle sprain, but needs lateral movement before he can play, Wulff said. Safety Alfonso Jackson wore a yellow no contact jersey at practice, but is expected to play come Saturday, Wulff said. Jackson took turns at his old position, cornerback, as Tyrone Justin continues to be hobbled by a bad ankle. Markus Dawes started in place of Justin last week. Justin may be able to go Saturday but didn't practice Tuesday.

Lopina, a vocal critic of the effort put forth my some players over the last two games, addressed those comments Tuesday.

"There's kind of an aura in the locker room after a loss, kind of like ‘wow' that happened again and some people are getting real down," Lopina said. "We can't have that, we need leaders to step up and say ‘you know what, we're in this together, and we gotta fight and keep working at it'."

Lopina also mentioned that senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson and junior center Kenny Alfred have particularly helpful to him in the adjustment from backup to starter.

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