Cougar Football Spring Recap

April 26, 2010

PULLMAN - The Washington State football team held its 15th and final spring practice this morning, and Head Coach Paul Wulff is pleased with the progression his team made the past five weeks.

'This is by far the best spring we have had since we've been here,' Wulff said. 'We had more guys participating, which gave us competition at every position, and we got better. This team still has work to do for us to get to where we want to be, but in our 15 practices this spring, WSU football got better.'

Quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Marshall Lobbestael battled throughout spring practice to earn the nod as the Cougars' top signal caller, and they took a majority of the snaps during the Cougars' three scrimmages. Tuel completed 25-of-41 passes for 297 yards in his three appearances, and he tossed three touchdowns - one in each scrimmage - and just one interception. In WSU's final scrimmage, the sophomore put together his best performance, going 11-of-16 for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Marshall Lobbestael completed 17-of-32 for 165 yards this spring, throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions. The redshirt junior had his best effort in WSU's second scrimmage, completing 8-of-11 passes (72.7 percent) for 71 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Redshirt junior Dan Wagner and redshirt freshman David Gilbertson also saw action this spring, and look to continue their battle to become the No. 3 quarterback next fall.

'Both Jeff and Marshall did some great things this spring,' Wulff said. 'We did find out that we have two quarterbacks who can help us win in the Pac-10, and they need to use this summer to continue to get better.'

Junior wide receiver Jared Karstetter, an honorable mention All-Pacific-10 Conference selection following the 2009 season, led the Cougars with seven receptions and finished second on the team with 82 yards. He also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Lobbestael in the Cougars' second scrimmage.

Despite missing WSU's final scrimmage, sophomore wide receiver Gino Simone finished second on the team with five receptions, and he led the Cougars with 97 receiving yards and two touchdowns - one in each of the two scrimmages he played.

Of the 14 different Cougars to catch passes, redshirt senior wide receiver Jeffrey Solomon, redshirt junior running back Logwone Mitz, sophomore fullback Jared Byers and redshirt freshman running back Leon Brooks each hauled in four, and Mitz and redshirt sophomore tight end Skylar Stormo each caught a touchdown pass.

'We had some issues with catching the ball this spring, but we got better toward the end,' Wulff said. 'There will be some healthy competition there with the influx of guys joining the team this fall.'

The running backs were hampered a bit by the injury bug this spring, and no Cougar back was able to participate in each of the three scrimmages. However, Mitz and redshirt senior Chantz Staden were each able to see action in two scrimmages, and they each combined for more than 20 carries. Mitz rushed a team-high 26 times for 123 yards and a touchdown, while Staden rushed 25 times, leading the team in both yards (154) and touchdowns (three).

'It seemed as if every running back missed time this spring, but that was good because it gave some other guys an opportunity to show us what they could do,' Wulff said. 'Running back is another position where we expect to have competition this fall, so these guys need to treat this summer as an opportunity to get better.'

Defensively, redshirt junior cornerback Aire Justin led the Cougars with two interceptions, and redshirt sophomores Tyree Toomer (safety) and Daniel Simmons (cornerback) each had one.

Redshirt junior defensive tackle Brandon Rankin had three of the defense's eight sacks, and redshirt senior linebacker Myron Beck added two. Sophomore defensive end Travis Long, redshirt junior linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis and redshirt senior defensive end Kevin Kooyman each recorded one. Long also picked up a fumble forced by Kooyman in WSU's second scrimmage, running it back 40 yards for a touchdown.

'I expect our defense to take a big step in 2010,' Wulff said. 'We have a lot of guys returning, and we are adding size up front and speed in the backfield. A lot of guys had to step in last year, and the experience adds to our depth.

'Overall, Cougar football took a step forward this spring. The gains we made this past winter probably had the biggest impact on our spring. We were bigger and stronger, and it helped create competition throughout our team. The team had a great winter and a good spring, and now they need to have a good summer for us to continue our progression.'
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