Five Cougar seniors speak out

PULLMAN -- If there is one endeavor that excites athletes almost as much as competition, it is an open invitation to take a verbal shot or three at a teammate or coach. It's all in good fun. On the other hand, athletes can be quite candid and sincere in expressing their admiration for certain teammates and coaches.

Five seniors on the Washington State football team were asked five serious and not-so-serious questions about their teammates and coaches.

CF.C's "panel of experts" consisted of linebacker Andy Mattingly, running back Dwight Tardy, defensive end Kevin Kooyman, quarterback Kevin Lopina and kicker Patrick Rooney.

CF.C: Who is the craziest or funniest player on the team?
Mattingly: LeAndre (Daniels, a freshman safety). He doesn't stop talking. Non-stop. At 5 a.m., we're going to workouts, he's the one always talking. Non-stop. I don't understand it.
Kooyman: LeAndre Daniels. He's always in the locker room jumping around, making noise. Class clown for sure.
Tardy: I'm the funniest guy on the team. I have a great sense of humor. I always like to laugh. It's never fun if you're not having a good time and enjoying yourself out there, so I like to do a lot of jokes and just get guys smiling. That's why we're here: It's a "boys club." We smile, hang out, joke and have fun.
Rooney: Brandon Jones (a junior cornerback). He's just a nut, on and off the field. He's always fired up on the field, crazy, loves being out here. Off the field, he's joking around. Funny guy.
Lopina: Johnny Forzani (a junior wide receiver). He's the craziest AND the funniest guy on the team … he's just out-of-control funny. Whenever I'm hanging out with him, I just can't stop laughing.

CF.C: Which coach scares you the most at practice?
Kooyman: Coach Wulff (head coach Paul Wulff) is a pretty intimidating factor. Every time he looks at you, you feel like you have to do everything right.
Tardy: Coach Broussard (running backs coach Steve Broussard). When he's upset, I feel like he's my father almost. He knows how to go hard on people; he knows how to work us. You don't want to do any unnecessary work. He'll make you do rolls (rolling from your back to your front from one end zone to the other) for 200, 300 yards. By the time you're done with those, you're throwing up.
Lopina: When Coach Sturdy (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Todd Sturdy) gets mad, he can get scary.
Mattingly: Coach Niekamp (linebackers coach Travis Niekamp), just because he's my position coach. You don't want to do anything wrong. You don't want to get chewed out.
Rooney: It's a toss-up between Levy (receivers coach Mike Levenseller) and Niekamp. Niekamp's just quiet. He has real subtle jokes -- if he jokes. Levy's just old school. He doesn't really associate with the kickers much.

CF.C: Which teammate do you admire the most?
Tardy: Kenny Alfred (a senior center). On and off the field, he does a really good job of representing the Cougs. He's real respectable as far as the way he handles his schooling, other adults, coaching, players.
Mattingly: Kenny Alfred. He's just a hard worker. You never really see him, when he gets on the football field, messing around. It's always business.
Rooney: Kenny Alfred. He's tough. After all he's gone through (with a hip injury and surgery), he's still out there every day. He never takes a day off or a play off.
Lopina: Xavier Hicks (a senior safety). He's my roommate. He's gotten in some (legal) trouble in the past, but he still stays focused.
Kooyman: (on sophomore linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis): I really like Hoffman's work ethic. Definitely. He's always working hard. Always putting in that extra time.

CF.C: Who is the best dancer on the team?
Lopina: Myself. I have to say I've got some pretty good moves.
Rooney: Zach Enyeart (a junior long snapper). He does this little windmill thing where he just starts rolling his arms around like a windmill.
Tardy: Daniel Simmons (a freshman cornerback) can dance pretty well, but LeAndre is probably the best dancer on the team.
Kooyman: There's a lot of guys always dancing in the locker room. I always see Tardy dancing in there. LeAndre is always dancing, of course.
Mattingly (joking): Micah Hannam (a junior offensive tackle).

CF.C: Who is the WORST dancer on the team?
Kooyman: Micah Hannam. He's my roommate. I see him dancing all the time. It's pretty funny. Not to "dog" him or anything. He's awful. He's horrible.
Rooney: I should just go with Enyeart again. Best and worst. Takes the cake all around.
Mattingly: Me. I just don't do it. At all.
Tardy: Chima (junior safety Chima Nwachukwu). His dance moves are ugly. What makes him the worst dancer, he has no dance moves himself. He just imitates other people's dance moves.
Lopina: Marcus Richmond (a junior running back). The reason he's the worst is because he thinks he's good, and he's really not. We just kind of let him think he is and let him go with it. By the time he's done, it's kinda like, "You've made a fool of yourself."

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