SCRIMMAGE 3: Short, sweet & o-line looks set

MICAH HANNAM

PULLMAN—The Cougs went under the lights Saturday night for the third and final scrimmage of fall camp. The offense sparked right away as Alex Brink showed why he was Pac-10 All-Conference second team in '06. In all, the offense scored three times on a short night for the starters, twice on runs and once via a Brink pass. Afterwards, George Yarno tentatively named the starting offensive tackles.

On the third play of the scrimmage, Brink threw across his body and found a streaking Charles Dillon for a 58-yard touchdown pass against the No.2 defense. Dillon soared past cornerback Brian Williams for the score.

The following series saw the defense make some noise, as sophomore corner Devin Giles picked off a Gary Rogers pass and return it 40 yards for a touchdown for the No. 1 defense.

Rogers struggled throughout the scrimmage with some missed receivers, and was sacked for a safety by senior DE Matt Mullennix. Rogers, who is the clear No. 2 quarterback of the Cougs, was also sacked by junior linebacker Kendrick Dunn, who came in off the corner untouched.

THE NO. 1 OFFENSE then returned to the field, and Brink led the attack with completions to WR Benny Ward for first down yardage. Brink followed that up with a pass to tight end Jed Collins who broke a Christian Bass attempted wrap-up and carried the pigskin down to the 1-yard line.

Running back Dwight Tardy scored on the next play.

Freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, splitting time running the No. 3 offense with Cole Morgan, showed off his potential with nice, crisp completions to Scott Selby and Michael Willis.

Lobbestael was, though, three times "sacked". Picking up the sacks were a trio of freshmen -- DE Toby Turpin, a redshirt frosh, d-tackle B.J. Guerra and invited walk-on defensive end Shea Belles.

The backups saw most of the reps during the Saturday scrimmage, with Brink and many of the starters coming out after only two or three series.

Brink, however, put up some crooked numbers in his short time on the Martin Stadium turf, going a perfect 7-for-7 for 121 yards with the TD.

The No. 1 defense did not allow a touchdown on Saturday, the only points coming on a lone, long-distance field goal of 52-yards by kicker Romeen Abdollmohammadi.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE, a big question mark coming into the season, is playing with two new tackles, and nobody auditioning for those positions has every played a down of D-IA college football.

Offensive Line coach George Yarno was displeased with the line's showing in the third scrimmage.

"I don't think they played particularly well tonight," Yarno said. "I think we started out good then we kind of relaxed."

THE TWO TACKLE POSITIONS have been featuring junior Vaughn Lesuma on the left side and freshman Micah Hannam our right, and they again were playing with the first team offense on Saturday.

"I think those are out starters," said Yarno. "No one else is pushing them right now. Right now, if we played Wisconsin, the five that are out there would be the five that start."

Those five linemen playing with the first team offense are Lesuma at left tackle, Bobby Byrd at left guard, Kenny Alfred at center, Dan Rowlands at the right guard position, and Hannam at right tackle. The interior three, Byrd, Alfred and Rowlands, are locks.

DEFENSIVELY, THE COUGARS remained without captain and senior safety Husain Abdullah (shoulder) on Saturday. Rotating in and out of with the No. 1 defense were senior Christian Bass and sophomore Xavier Hicks. A number of backups wasted little time displaying their potential.

Senior corner Ryan Kensok made a nice tackle on Tardy on a screen play. Without Kensok's defense, Tardy would have had ample room to run.

Sophomore linebacker Brady Emmons made a nice tackle on Tardy as well, and he also recovered a Logwone Mitz fumble.

Senior d-tackle Ropati Pitoitua sat out the scrimmage, with what Bill Doba described as a bruised sternum. The senior is not expected to miss much time.

With Pitoitua on the sideline, sophomore defensive end Kevin Kooyman rotated in with the No. 1 defense with junior Mike Graise. Matt Mullennix is the Cougs' other starting d-end, and has had a very good camp.

NOTABLE NOTES AND DOBA QUOTES
  • Abdollmohammadi booted the only field goal try of the night through the uprights from 52 yards out. After practice, Doba expressed satisfaction in his senior kicker, and joked that he was glad he put him on scholarship.

  • The Cougs fielded numerous players at the return position for kickoffs and a couple on punt returns on Saturday. Michael Bumpus and freshman Romeo Pellum saw time at punt returner, while Ward, Dillon, Tardy, Chris Ivory and B.T. Walker all stepped in for kickoff returns. Hang time, coverage and but a pair of chances resulted in no punts return of note and of the kickoffs brought back, Dillon's was the top mark, with the senior playmaker ripping off a 30-yarder.

  • Kevin McCall had the run of the night during a 4-minute drill, stomping the turf to the tune of a 78-yard gainer.

  • DOBA ON GENERAL IMPRESSIONS, DEFENSE: "We looked quicker tonight, in general the team speed looked quicker than it has been the last few days. Defensively we made a couple errors in drops so there are a few things we can correct. But there was some pretty good hitting going on tonight."

  • DOBA ON OFFENSE, DILLON: "Offensively, just like we thought, they moved the ball pretty well. I thought Dillon made some nice catches tonight. He makes yards after the catch, he's tough to tackle."

  • DOBA ON ABDOLLMOHAMMADI's 52-YARDER, SCHOLIE: "That's kind of neat. Here's a guy who didn't really kick in high school. He played soccer, hung around, and came out his junior year and bingo. He did it the old fashion way, he earned it.

    STATISTICS:
    Rushing – McCall 4/81, Mitz 5/12 (TD), Brink 1/7, Tardy 5/6 (TD), Campbell 3/3, Richmond 4/2
    Passing – Brink 7/7/0/121/1/58, Rogers 1/8/1/5/0/5, Morgan 5/8/0/42/0/12, Lobbestael 4/6/0/35/0/11
    Receiving – Willis 5/45, Dillon 3/76 (TD), Tardy 2/11, Collins 1/20, Ward 1/13, Mooney 1/11, Anderson 1/8, Selby 1/7, Woodard 1/6, Rabb 1/6
    Scoring – Dillon 58 pass from Brink, Giles 49 interception return, Tardy 1 run, Mitz 1 run
    Interceptions – Giles (49 yards for touchdown)
    Sacks – Dunn, Guerra, Eichelberger, Belles, Ahmu, Mullennix
    Punts: Blunt: 47, Forrest 39
    Field Goals: Abdollmohammadi, 1-1, 52

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