Kegel perfect in first scrimmage

MATT KEGEL (Getty Images/Dunn)

PULLMAN -– Forget the fact this is his first year starting at quarterback, <b>Matt Kegel</b> says if he isn't comfortable behind center after four years in Pullman then no one could be. And comfortable he was last night, putting on a clinic in marksmanship in the first scrimmage of the season.

Everything was right for Kegel, as he completed every one of his 14 passes, piling up 133 yards and two touchdowns along the way.

"We started kind of shaky but as we went on I got more comfortable and the offense picked up and looked sharp," Kegel said.

He threw scoring strikes of 11 yards to tight end Troy Bienemann and seven yards to receiver Sammy Moore.

"One play I could be throwing to Sammy the next play (Scott) Lunde, then Devard (Darling) or Chris Jordan," Kegel said of his talented receivers.

The only other QB with a touchdown pass was true freshman Alex BrinkAlex Brink, the Oregon prep player of the year last season. He found Brett Johnson from 21 yards out. Earlier, Brink connected with JC transfer Tramaine Murray on a 50-yard pass, which Murray took to the 15-yard line. The Cougs were unable to push that one through, despite getting down to about the 3-yard line, and settled for a field goal. Brink finished the night 6-of-7 for 95 yards.

Josh Swogger had his moments, as well, connecting on 4-of-10 for 48 yards. He found Jason Hill for a 20-yard pass and hit Marty Martin for about 14 yards. Martin was a consistent target all night for Cougar quarterbacks, hauling in four passes for 50 yards. Moore caught four passes for 40 yards. And Jordan snagged four passes for 34 yards. He made an impressive catch on one play as he held off cornerback Alex Teems --- Jordan caught the ball barely in bounds with Teems hanging on top of him.

On defense, Reyshawn Bobo had two sacks. D.D. Acholonu, Matt Mullenix and Odell Howard each picked up one.

Focal to the offense was the dynamic running game of both Jermaine Green and Chris Bruhn. Green carried five times for 36 yards. He busted out for a 25-yard gain, breaking two tackles before being brought down by two defenders.

"It was an inside run," Green said. "I saw the tackle pull out and he just led the way. I wasn't going to let anything stop me, I tried to cut back but got tackled at the last minute."

Bruhn was another Cougar on the loose. He didn't pay much attention to cutting back, at 6-3, 215 pounds he simply ran through the defense, picking up 40 yards on six carries.

"I like the way Bruhn runs the ball," Doba said in his sarcastic understating tone.

In fact, Green and Bruhn did such a good job running Doba said it caught the one-time completely dominating defense off guard.

"The offense ran the ball a little better than I thought they would," Doba said.

However Doba hinted part of that could be due to the absence of massive, 6-5 325 pound Tai Tupai who sat out the last few days with a left shoulder sprain.

"Those guys (the defense) are old timers," Doba said. "They'll be back and ready to go once they smell the popcorn popping."

One position that Doba is not settled on continues to be the middle linebacker. Donnie Jackson, Aaron Wagner and Brian Hall seem to be neck and neck for that starting position as all of them rotated with the different defenses.

"They all looked good tonight," Doba said. "That middle linebacker position is going to have some heated competition. They all have a shot at starting."

All in all Doba seemed pleased with the team's performance, adding that they just need to sweep up some of the little mistakes.

"We're definitely thin at defensive tackle," Doba said. "We just need to clean up a lot of little stuff. We had some center and quarterback miscommunication and the offensive line missed some assignments."

As for those predictions of finishing in the bottom half of the Pac-10, well, after seeing his team's first scrimmage Doba -- with a smile and his signature sarcastic understating humor -- said, "I think we'll be ok."

EXTRA POINTS

 

Devard Darling sat out the scrimmage with a sore elbow and linebacker Pat Bennett injured his shoulder.

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