Brink, Smith shine during second scrimmage

Cougfan.com Correspondent
Posted Aug 16, 2003


PULLMAN -- WSU head coach Bill Doba always sees the positive side. "We're a little banged up but at least we're building depth," Doba said. With backup quarterback Chris Hurd out due to an inflamed knee and Jermaine Green sitting out most of the day because of a tight back, two unlikely candidates -- freshman quarterback Alex Brink and senior running back Jonathan Smith -- stepped into the spotlight Saturday morning during the team's second scrimmage.

"It was good to see Brink in there he looked really good," Doba said. "With Hurd out (right now) he may have to play some this season."

Brink impressed all eyes that were on him Saturday morning completing 8-of-15 passes for 110 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown lob over the defense to receiver Brett Johnson. It was pretty much all Brink on that scoring drive as he ran 25 yards two plays earlier to put the offense in scoring territory. Earlier Brink set up another Cougar touchdown, a 10-yard slither by freshman running back Kevin McCall. Brink set up McCall's run with a 40-yard pass to senior receiver McKenzie Hansell.

"He is a good looking QB," said offensive lineman Calvin Armstrong. "He'll be a good little player for us. He is real composed for his age. He's a great athlete and it's amazing to see him come in and make those plays the way he did."

Matt Kegel continued to show poise in the starter role completing 10-of-16 for 151 yards and one touchdown. Kegel's touchdown pass was a 44-yarder to Sammy Moore. Kegel caught cornerback Omowale Dada not looking and threw it right over his head as Moore reeled in the pass over his shoulder reminiscent of Willie Mays.

Moore also scored on a punt return as did cornerback Jason David. Josh Swogger struggled, completing only one pass in seven tries and gaining seven yards. Swogger threw an interception into the hands of cornerback Karl Paymah early in the day.

Smith led all running backs with 65 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns. During one of his touchdown dashes Smith was brought down but fell on top of a defender, popped back up, broke two tackles and avoided one more before gliding into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. Smith set that run up with a 10-yard run prior.

"He's a great running back," Armstrong said. "All he needs is a hole and he's gone."

Despite a handful of impressive plays Doba was not impressed with the day's performance.

"It was OK," Doba said. "I think we're a little weary. We weren't as sharp as the first scrimmage, basically it looked like a second scrimmage."

Brink actually spent time against the No. 1 defense and fared well. However, that defense was still thin without defensive linemen Tai Tupai, Steve Cook. and Isaac Brown. Also, backup strong linebacker Ira Davis has been out all fall and  No. 2 weak linebacker Pat Bennett has been out this week.

Middle linebacker continues to be an interesting situation. Senior Donnie Jackson is sitting out with a pulled hamstring. Now Doba is tinkering with the entire linebacker lineup.

"We're trying to get our three best linebackers out there so we slipped (Al) Genatone inside with (Scott) Davis and (Will) Derting on the outside and we'll see what that looks like," Doba said.

Doba said the other two linebackers; Brian Hall and Aaron Wagner have not come along as he had once hoped.

Hall did come through with another Jurassic-size hit on tight end Troy Bienemann (who is nearly Jurassic-size himself at 6-foot-5, 252 pounds). Bienemann caught the ball about five yards off the line of scrimmage and as soon as he turned around Hall pummeled him causing the ball to pop out for a fumble.

Sophomore defensive end Adam Braidwood harassed the offense catching a ball batted 15 feet in the air by defensive tackle Jeremey Williams and running it back five yards.

D.D. Acholonu, Williams, Reyshawn Bobo and Dane Bassett each recorded a sack for the defense.

The offensive line is one unit that played well for the most part of the day. Offensive line coach George Yarno was fairly quiet (well, for Yarno at least) even congratulating a player vocally.

"I think he just got frustrated early on in camp when we didn't know who to block," Armstrong said. "He doesn't get mad if you miss a block only if it's a mental error.

The offense struggled from time to time with little miscues such as off sides, false starts and delay of game. There were also a few fumbles and several missed passes that should have been caught. Kegel made few mistakes passing, a few of the passes he did not complete were good passes that just weren't caught.

Freshman running back McCall seemed to shy away from being tackled often. On one play he not only cut back, but also was almost completely turned around with the ball running backwards before being brought down for a loss of 10 yards. Immediately following the play transfer Chris Bruhn (seven carries, 25 yards) was brought in. While Bruhn made some nice plays he also seemed to dance a lot trying to dodge defenders - which won't fly in the Pac-10.

Bruhn's size will definitely come in handy though. On a 10-yard run he probably gained another two or three yards by ramming right into freshman Scott Davis (5-11, 225). Davis tried his best to bring Bruhn down but the result was Bruhn falling with Davis.

"He's gonna be good once we get him in shape," Doba said of Bruhn, probably referring more to Bruhn learning the offense. "He's a big kid."

Kicker Drew Dunning hit one of two field goals from outside the 50-yard line. Dunning's longest field goal in a game is 49 yards.

Receiver Chris Jordan filled the Devard Darling void. Jordan snagged four catches for 68 yards. Moore was the second leading receiver with two for 58 yards. Trandon Harvey and Marty Martin were reliable in the short yardage each picking up 20 yards and Brett Johnson caught three passes for 36 yards.



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