Lobbestael aims to be 100 percent by Sept. 5

MARSHALL LOBBESTAEL, one of two prime candidates to be Washington State's starting quarterback, said he expects his surgically repaired left knee to be ready for the season opener Sept. 5 against Stanford. Just as importantly, Lobbestael said his mind is repaired from the lopsided defeats the Cougars suffered last year in a 2-11 season.

"We're tired of losing, especially after last year," Lobbestael said Monday. "I was just down.

"I'd never been through a season like that. There were a lot of kids who had never been through that.

"To do that at this level, it was just a slap in the face to us."

Lobbestael said plenty of hard work and bonding in the off-season and a year of experience and maturation under coach Paul Wulff and his staff should produce improved results this season.

"We think if everything comes together and we are on the same page and all buy in, we could get to a bowl game," Lobbestael said. "We could get the six or seven wins that we need.

"Right now, we're just focused on getting better in the summer, and then we'll focus on that first game with Stanford, because we're starting out with a league game."

Lobbestael and senior Kevin Lopina figure to duke it out for starting honors behind center when fall camp opens August 9.

Lobbestael completed 51.5 percent of his passes for 571 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions in five games as a redshirt freshman last season. He started three games before his season ended when a blind-side hit that left him with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medical collateral ligament and meniscus Oct. 11 at Oregon State.

Lopina started seven games in 2008, completing 56.9 percent of his 153 passes for 841 yards, no TDs and 11 interceptions.

"I just want to try to get healthy for fall camp and see what happens and let the coaches decide (who starts)," Lobbestael said.

Lobbestael, who was limited in spring ball, recently began adding cuts while running, and agility drills, to his passing and drop-back work. The Oak Harbor native said he's "doing everything" in the weight room, but with lighter weights than he would normally use.

Lobbestael also enjoyed some "lighter" moments the other day when WSU athletes made their annual summer trek to North Idaho's Silverwood amusement park.

"I felt like an 8-year-old kid there," Lobbestael said. "I was just having a blast. All the other guys were lovin' it, too."

Lobbestael was one of several players who had minor brushes with the law in the off-season and were temporarily suspended from team activities. "No matter what school you go to, there's probably always going to be suspensions and that sort of thing," Lobbestael said.

"Obviously, Pullman is a college type of town, so we're under a magnifying glass a little bit more than a school in the city. That's not an excuse for any slip-ups or for anyone to be suspended. We're handling it like any other school would handle it. I think we're handling it like we should handle it."

NOTABLE LOBSTER NOTES:

  • He was named Pac-10 offensive player of the week last season after coming off the bench against Portland State to complete 9 of 12 passes for 149 yards and 2 TDs.

  • Lobbestael was named 2006 Class 4A High School Player of the Year in Washington by the Associated Press and Seattle Times after leading Oak Harbor to its first-ever state championship game. He passed for 34 touchdowns and 2,776 yards on the season.

  • Teammates have two nicknames for Lobbestael, both of which stem from his red hair. One is "Ocho Rojo" and the other is "The Lobster." He told CF.C in the spring that he likes both. "As long as they're not booing me, I don't care what they call me."

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