SPRING BALL DAY 13: Air crimson

PULLMAN--Tuesday's practice saw a continued focus on the passing game, primarily due to the fact that the Cougars were completing their third no pads practice of the spring as stipulated by NCAA rules. Despite the lack of big hits and physical play that has characterized much of this spring, the day still provided some excitement including plays by receivers Johnny Forzani and Jeffrey Solomon.

In the play of the day, fleet-footed wideout Johnny Forzani lined up against cornerback Shane Thomas, who isn't too slow himself, having set Spokane North Central High's record of 10.6 seconds in the 100 meter dash.

After the snap, quarterback Marshall Lobbestael saw that Forzani had a step on Thomas and fired the deep ball, which traveled over 50 yards in the air. Despite the efforts of Thomas, including what looked like a bit of a facemask, Forzani held on and rolled in for the touchdown after making a nice over the shoulder grab.

Forzani wasn't the only receiver to make a big play. Jeffrey Solomon, who has been pushing the first team receivers this spring since he shed a yellow no contact jersey, showed why the coaches are excited about his potential after starting his college career at Eastern Washington.

Solomon ran a route across the back of the end zone and made a leaping grab on an accurate, short pass from Kevin Lopina. Solomon then proceeded to get one of his toes to touch on the way down before falling out of bounds. He also made a great second chance grab after bobbling a pass during drills and coming back to hang on to make what was a tough grab.

Solomon would later have a few forgettable plays on the gridiron, which is why he still looks to have some work to do before he cracks the starting lineup. On one play, Lopina fired a dart between two defenders that was perfectly placed for Solomon to make the catch in stride. But Solomon lost focus and didn't get his hands in the right spot to secure the ball before trying to run for paydirt and dropped it.

DEFENSIVELY, THE COUGS saw several starters from last year run through the no-pads session, including Myron Beck and Kevin Kooyman, who haven't seen the field much during this spring due to injuries.

Beck had an up and down day, and on one play took a poor angle on a "tackle" but finished strong with a nice interception that prompted yells of "He's baaack!"

The Cougs also spent a considerable amount of time working on special teams, particularly individual tackling.

Wulff closed out practice by commenting a bit on the play of the two offensive tackles, Steven Ayers and Joe Eppele.

Wulff mentioned that they both have done a nice job getting better so far, but added that at this youthful stage in their careers that they "have no excuse not to continue to improve."

He specifically mentioned that both players have two areas that they need to focus most on: Consistency and physicality, especially in the run game.

Wulff said that both players need to get very comfortable in their assignments, and the future success of the offense leans heavily on the strides they make to get better.

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