Defense Rules In Cougar Football Scrimmage
April 10, 2004
PULLMAN, Wash. -- - Washington State's defense was a disruptive force Saturday in the Cougars' final spring scrimmage, holding the offense to just over two yards per carry and under five yards per pass attempt.
'We still need practice and there are still a lot of things we need to fine tune, but the energy has been good throughout the spring,' WSU Head Coach Bill Doba said. 'I credit the leadership on this team for that.'
The physical, two-hour morning session saw WSU quarterbacks participate without the comfort of their customary yellow jerseys, making them live for contact. That move spurred defensive ends Adam Braidwood and Mkristo Bruce to take advantage of a rare opportunity to hit Cougar signal callers, as both came away with a sack.
Defensive coordinator Robb Akey's unit was also busy creating turnovers, a category they led the nation in last season. Sophomore linebacker Brian Hall forced quarterback Chris Hurd into a fumble, while senior Pat Bennett intercepted a pass and returned it 39 yards.
WSU's defense operated without junior linebacker Will Derting, who sat out the morning session in an attempt to scale back his workload and get repetitions for other players at the position.
Offensively, sophomore Josh Swogger and freshman Alex Brink took the majority of the snaps at the quarterback position. Swogger threw touchdown passes on his first two attempts, a 25-yard strike to tight end Cody Boyd and an eight-yard score to Marty Martin. The Youngstown, Ohio, native finished the day 6 of 14 for 73 yards.
Brink had success using both his arm and feet, throwing for 83 yards and running for 29 more. Brink connected on 11 of 20 attempts. Fellow freshman Mike Reilly continued his string of efficient spring performances, completing 7 of 9 passes for 46 yards.
The running game was stifled by the swarming Cougar defense much of the day, but senior Chris Bruhn managed to grind out 29 yards on eight carries, while Allen Thompson and Kevin McCall combined for 37 yards on 17 attempts.
Boyd, a 6-8, 240-pound sophomore tight end, led all receivers with 59 yards on two receptions. Martin and Thomas Ostrander combined for six catches and 43 yards.
Kicker Graham Siderius drilled field goal attempts from 41, 40, and 35 yards, while missing a second from 35 yards out.
The Cougars will hold their final two spring practices Tuesday and Friday in preparation for the annual Crimson & Gray Game next Saturday, April 17 at 1 p.m.
Injuries: Hamza Abdullah (broken collarbone)...Pat Bennett (ankle sprain)...Steve Cook (dislocated thumb)...Trandon Harvey (re-aggravated hamstring injury)...Chris Hurd (hand bruise).
Position Change: Redshirt freshman Paul Stevens has moved from middle linebacker to defensive end.
Scrimmage 3 Statistics:
Passing - Alex Brink 11-20/83, Josh Swogger 6-14/72/2, Mike Reilly 7-9/46, Chris Hurd 1-3/7.
Rushing - Chris Bruhn 8/29, Allen Thompson 10/21, Kevin McCall 7/16, Brandon Ervin 2/7, Rafael Bolton 3/5, Blair Hawkins 2/2, Brandon Asuega-Stark 4/-2.
Receiving - Cody Boyd 2/59/1, Thomas Ostrander 3/31, John Williams 4/27, Chris Bruhn 4/25, Trandon Harvey 3/20, Marty Martin 3/12/1, Tramaine Murray 1/12, John Rasmussen 2/12, Carlton Coards 1/7, Jeffrey Muai 1/4.