Lobbestael Getting His Chance
By Joe Doyle
Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael has been through a lot in his four years as a Cougar. Now in his fifth and final year at school, he's finally getting the chance to lead the team.
Lobbestael, who has started nine games in his college career, will start for the third time this season after starting quarterback Jeff Tuel went down in the season opener against Idaho State with a broken left collarbone.
The fiery red-head has experienced some extreme highs and lows during his career at Washington State. As a redshirt freshman, Lobbestael tore both his MCL and ACL in his left knee in his third start, ultimately ending his season.
Lobbestael's rehab was slow and tedious, but after an offseason of hard work, he was ready to play in the 2009 season opener at home against conference foe Stanford. Unfortunately for Lobbestael, his first three games of the year were unproductive. Lobbestael started the fourth game of the season at Southern California, but by halftime, he was replaced by true freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel, who would hold on to the starting job.
"When Jeff took over, I talked with (former WSU quarterback) Jack Thompson a little bit and he told me, 'Whatever you do, do it with class,'" Lobbestael said. The decorated senior said he considers the Cougar legend Thompson a mentor.
Lobbestael said he considered leaving Washington State, but Thompson's guiding words helped him to his decision to stay.
"I talked with my parents about leaving a couple times, but it always came back to how much I love Pullman," Lobbestael said. "I love WSU. I love being a Coug. I want to be a Coug for the rest of my life. I met a ton of lifelong friends here. This is a special place."
Washington State head coach Paul Wulff says that being a good person comes before becoming a great player and Lobbestael exemplifies that.
"I see somebody that has been through a lot," said Wulff. "(Marshall) is highly respected. He's just become such a quality individual."
Through three starts, Lobbestael is putting up some gaudy numbers. Cleverly nicknamed 'lobster' because of his red hair and last name, Lobbestael has already thrown for 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions. His quarterback rating ranks sixth in the nation.
"I want to just help the team," Lobbestael said. "I want to do my part."
In the home opener against Idaho State, Lobbestael jumped in as a right wing blocker on an extra point attempt. Much to Lobbestael's chagrin, he let his blocking assignment through, and the point was blocked. "I was hoping nobody noticed," Lobbestael laughed.
Tuel is equally excited to see Lobbestael succeed.
"He's more than just a teammate," Tuel said. "He's more than just a friend. He's just a good all-around guy. I'm excited for him to see what he's going to do."
The 'lobster' has led the resurgent Cougs to a 2-1 start. Lobbestael and the Cougs head to Boulder, Colo., this week to take on the Buffaloes.
"It's obvious we have a ton of talent," Lobbestael said of the jumpstart Cougs. "We haven't proven anything yet. We want to make it to a bowl game this year, so every game is going to be big for us."