Moore: Lobster is a refreshingly candid QB

WHAT WAS YOUR reaction when you first heard about Marshall Lobbestael's arrest in the Pullman Police Department parking lot for being a minor exhibiting the signs of having consumed alcohol? I'm guessing mine was a lot like yours..

My first thought was, What in the world was he doing at the cop shop if he was drunk? That's asking for trouble.

If I'm his dad, I'm disappointed and telling him that he needs to use better judgment. But I'm also giving him a break. Some of us dads used to be teen-aged students at Washington State.

I don't know how many dumb things Lobbestael has done under the influence of alcohol in Pullman, but I can relate - I did idiotic stuff almost every weekend at WSU, and sometimes on weeknights, too. I guess when I look back, I'm not proud of most of it, don't remember some of it, but all of it was a helluva lot of fun. If you're reading, sorry Mom, but it was.

Someday the sophomore from Oak Harbor will be able to laugh at this incident like the rest of us. If you missed the alleged details, it began on a Saturday evening in February when police spotted a drunken co-ed being carried down California Street by two male students, one of whom was Lobbestael.

She was arrested for underage drinking and hauled off to the Pullman Police Department. The girl was Lobbestael's girlfriend, and as it turns out, he was just trying to be a good boyfriend – that's why he was in the police department parking lot, showing up to pick her up from the holding tank.

He also did the responsible thing by having a sober friend drive him there. But the problem was, the sober friend drew attention to himself by pacing around the back of the police department. That drew the suspicion of a receptionist, who alerted officers.

When they checked it out, officers also found that the sober guy had a drunken passenger in the cab of his truck. Turned out that was Lobbestael, and he wasn't a pretty sight.

"He was slumped over with a grocery bag of vomit between his feet," Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant told the Daily Evergreen.

Now that's a memorable quote, and I'm pretty sure it took most of us back to our own days in Pullman. (Sources have told CF.C the bag actually contained some McDonalds wrappers and other garbage, but no "vomit". See the article Discerning fact from fiction.)

"I wanted to make it clear it wasn't a borderline case," Tennant said when I spoke to him later. "He woke up and was cooperative with us. He was obviously highly intoxicated."

It seemed rather unusual to me, to show up drunk at the police department, but Tennant said: "The only thing that's unusual is that it's a WSU football player who happens to be a quarterback. Everything else is pretty routine for Pullman."

I spoke to Lobbestael about the incident last week, and he was refreshingly candid. Most of the time when an athlete runs afoul of the law, he "no comments" his way through an interview, but not Lobbestael.

I acted all reporter-like and asked him what he learned from the incident when I really wanted to ask him what he drank and how many.

"I learned that the opportunity I have is not worth (throwing away) with any four hours on a Friday or Saturday night," Lobbestael said. "I regret everything that happened. I take full responsibility. I learned that I've got to really think through my actions before I do anything.

"I want to gain back the respect from my coaches, teammates, fans, everyone. I want to show them I'm not that kind of kid. Football is more important than something that happened on a Friday and Saturday night."

After that, he lightened up. He can see why people would be amused by what happened to him.

"Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's funny, it's a serious matter to me, it obviously gave the football program bad publicity," Lobbestael said. "But I could see where a Husky would definitely say some stuff."

I told him if I were a Husky fan, I'd wave a grocery bag at him at next year's Apple Cup.

"That's fair," Lobbestael said. "They can do whatever they want. But at the end of the game, they won't be waving anything." All right Marshall! That's the spirit! Talkin' trash to the Dawgs! I like this kid.

"I can see how people would laugh about it. It was really stupid of me to be down there," Lobbestael said.

His buddies have been supportive, but they've razzed him too, Lobbestael saying: "They've been hard on me, but I'm glad because they should be."

So feel free to chuckle while Lobbestael works hard to regain your trust along with his role as the starting QB.

Lobbestael appears to be our best quarterback – I don't think there's much debate about that. J.T. Levenseller's not ready yet and is injured this spring, and I don't know if Kevin Lopina ever will be. Not to rip Lopina, but come on – no touchdown passes and 11 interceptions last year? How do you not throw a single touchdown pass? Oh that's right, we were team-wide awful last year.

But still, Lobbestael's first two passes of his college career went for TDs against Portland State, and he had two more after that. Lobbestael at least resembled a competent Division I-A QB.

And then he went down in Corvallis, tearing two knee ligaments, ending his season and any hopes of the Cougs covering that day – I always take Washington State and the points because I'm just a flat-out fool.

Lobbestael's rehab has gone well, and he's participating in some spring drills, none of which involve contact. All things considered, he feels like he's progressing, staying after practice to throw to whomever wants to play catch with him.

"There's stiffness more than pain now," he said. "Some days are better than others."

It was a tough season, we all know that, and No. 8 does too.

"It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through," he said. "I can't tell you how bad I feel for the seniors. But feeling bad doesn't fix it or make us better. We're all working as hard as we can to see that that never happens again."

If you ask him if this team can be a bowl team, or at least much improved, Lobbestael will say: "I'm positive, there's no doubt in my mind."

You want to believe this affable 19-year-old who is often seen wearing a Seahawks' cap. It's his favorite team and, yes, he'd like to play for them or for another team in the NFL someday.

The cap covers his receding red hair. He's proud of the color, says he'll never dye it, that he'll keep it until he goes bald.

Lobbestael has two nicknames, both of which stem from his red hair.

Of "Ocho Rojo," he said: "I like that because Tony Thompson made it up after the Portland State game."

And "The Lobster:" "I kind of like that too. As long as they're not booing me, I don't care what they call me."

Off the field, Lobbestael likes to watch movies with his friends and play the electric guitar. He can play "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin and "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd;" just don't ask him to do either one for you. He can play quarterback in front of 60,000 people but gets stage fright with his guitar.

Lobbestael is majoring in communications and plans to take advertising and marketing classes next semester. His goal is to get his grade point above a 3.0.

He might never live down his drunken night in Pullman, but he's moving on and hoping everyone else will too.


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