QBs sharp in Cougs' Sunday morning workout

PULLMAN -- On a beautiful morning in Pullman, the sun wasn't the only thing shining Sunday. Quarterbacks Kevin Lopina, Marshall Lobbestael and Jeff Tuel all looked sharp in the first of two practices for the Washington State football team. In a scrimmage-like situation pitting most of the No. 1 offense vs. most of the No. 1 defense, the three combined to complete 8-of-9 passes in the first series.

Another quarterback, sophomore J.T. Levenseller, was not at practice. At press time, it was not known why, but CF.C has since learned that he asked for and received his release from the program.

As for what took place on the field, sophomore Jared Karstetter and fifth-year senior Collin Huemmer hauled in two catches each in the eight-completion first series.

In a second series of offense vs. defense, Tuel connected on a 35-yard bomb with junior wide receiver Daniel Blackledge.

"The kids are making plays, they've been efficient and they've done a pretty good job of taking care of the football and that's our number one goal," said offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy.

Tuel, a touted true freshman from Fresno, threw the ball fluidly and was able to adjust impressively to changing defensive alignments. He and fellow true freshman Gino Simone were on the same page throughout the day, connecting on multiple passes.

"Jeff's a great guy. He throws a great ball and he's going to be a great quarterback here I really believe that," said Simone, who was the No. 1-rated prep prospect in the state of Washington last season.

As the offense excelled in the first part of the morning's practice, the defense looked to step things up to another level for the second round of drills against the offense. They did just that by slowing down the rhythm of the quarterbacks with the wide receiver core.

"Today was a good practice, we started off a little bit slow but we finished well and had some good energy," said co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears.

The play of the morning belonged to 6-foot-3, 215 pound linebacker Josh Garrett, a second-year freshman walk on fromTacoma, who intercepted a Lopina pass intended for Karstetter. The whole defensive group erupted in celebration as Garrett snagged the ball after tipping it to himself several times.

"I think you have to be consistent with the way that you teach things and that includes celebrating big plays -- we're here to have fun and it's good to see the passion," said Sears.

The interception was the only negative for Lopina who looked impressive running the first team offense, and displayed accuracy and zip during passing drills.

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • Sears praised the work of the true freshmen he has on defense. "They've been very passionate and very football savvy," he said. "They are high-character kids who have great work ethic so I've been extremely pleased."

  • Freshmen walk-on quarterback David Gilbertson looked sharp and showcased great accuracy with his short and mid-range throws during drills.

  • Senior Running back Dwight Tardy looked smooth catching the ball out of the back field and turning up his speed down field.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Braulio Perez, brand new to CF.C, is a junior at Washington State. He is studying broadcast news at the Murrow College of Communication. He is a graduate of Inglemoor High in Kenmore, Wash.

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