LOPINA RETURNED TO NON-CONTACT DRILLS IN THE IPF
PULLMAN -- On Monday morning, Peter Roberts was just another WSU freshman in a fraternity who thought his football playing days ended last fall at Woodinville High. On Monday afternoon, he wandered over to WSU’s Rogers Field practice facility to scratch his football itch, and then spent a sleepless wondering. Tuesday afternoon in the IPF, he was readying himself to face the Cougs' No. 1 defense.
Roberts was one of 29 WSU students who attended an open tryout for scout team quarterback for
the injury-plagued, depth-challenged Cougars.
After narrowing the list of candidates to four on Monday, the WSU coaching staff
prolonged the agony for the survivors by announcing that one or two
students would make the final cut … but their names would not be made
public until they were posted outside the football office at around 9 a.m.
“I did not sleep well last night,” Roberts said.
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Alas, the sleepless night proved worthwhile when Roberts walked down
the hall at Bohler Addition and discovered that he was the one tryout
participant selected to join the Cougars.
“When I saw my name on the paper, I was like, ‘Wow -- I made it,”’
Roberts is no slouch as a quarterback -- he passed for over 1,600 yards according to the Seattle Times and made the All-Kingco second team last year -- but he received
no football scholarship offers. He considered walking on at Central
Washington or another small college, but settled on WSU because of the
Roberts’ football “retirement” ended abruptly -- and happily.
“This was a chance for me to put those pads back on and get out there
and throw the ball around,” he said. “Ever since that last (high school)
football game, I’ve missed it like crazy.”
Roberts is under no illusions of grandeur about his role on the
Cougars. The scout team quarterback tries his best to emulate the
quarterback of WSU’s upcoming opponent -- period. Coach Paul Wulff made
it clear he has no plans to use Roberts in a game, and he’s not
guaranteed a spot on the team beyond this fall.
Roberts said that suits him just fine.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s scout team,” he said. “I’m still on the
Not only that, but Roberts became an instant celebrity on campus.
“People just come and talk to you: ‘Are you Peter Roberts?’ And it’s,
‘Yeah,’” a smiling Roberts told a small mob of reporters after his first
practice Tuesday afternoon.
Starting quarterback Marshall Lobbestael said Roberts “looked good” at
practice. The newest Cougar said he found the college game -- even in
practice -- far more challenging than high school football.
“It’s twice as fast,” he said, “and you have so many more people
looking at you. You have to perform 110 percent every single play, so
the pressure is enormous.”
Roberts was given a light practice load Tuesday, but he said, “It was a
little hard getting used to everything. Coming in halfway through the
season, all the guys know what they’re doing and I’m kind of blank.
“It’s hard to get the cadence down and all the basics. Once I get
those, it should flow a little bit better.”
“It’s the first day -- I’m sure he’s swimming right now in the head,”
Lobbestael said. “He must think our calls and lingo on offense is really
crazy, but he did good with it. He tried hard.”
Roberts said he won’t soon forget his first practice as a college
football player -- and not just because NFL legend Mean Joe Greene
dropped by practice to scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“My phone has just been blowing up,” Roberts said. “All my friends back
home have been calling me.
“It’s been a great day.”
Wulff thinks Roberts will have an even better day in two weeks when he
runs through the Martin Stadium tunnel for the first time at WSU’s game
“I’m assuming he’ll get a heck of an ovation at our next home game,”
SEVERAL INJURED COUGARS who missed the UCLA game rejoined the team for practice but running back Chris Ivory and offensive lineman Steven Ayers remained sidelined.
Quarterback Kevin Lopina returned to practice in non-contact drills
Tuesday. Wulff and football trainer Bill Drake said they believe Lopina
may be able to play at Stanford on Nov. 1 following WSU’s only bye week.
Lopina suffered a fractured vertebrae in his back during his second
start Sept. 20 versus Portland State. Wulff said “we’ll wait and see”
how the starting quarterback job will be handled once Lopina regains
Tyson Pencer, a freshman offensive lineman who is
redshirting, underwent shoulder surgery last week. Drake said Pencer
should be ready for some or all workouts by spring practice.
WULFF, CITING STIFF winds, moved practice into the Cougs’ Indoor Practice Facility (IPF) for the first time this fall.
LEADING THE PAC-10 is Cougar wide receiver Brandon Gibson, with 36 catches and 460 receiving yards.
WULFF SAID THE ailing hips of center Kenny Alfred may have led to some
of the low snaps to Lobbestael in shot gun formations at UCLA. “He’s
playing in a lot of pain,” Wulff said.
THE COUGARS’ league-leading 49 penalties included a rare sideline interference call last Saturday against UCLA. Wulff said an official bumped into a coach kneeling on the sideline and that the sideline interference penalty was a point of emphasis this year.
WASHINGTON STATE STILL has 2,000 tickets left for USC and the final home game, the Apple Cup, Nov. 22 against Washington. At least nine Cougar games will be televised this season, generating slightly more than $1 million for WSU.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, noting that rain was forecast last Saturday in
Pasadena, said a “Palouse-like downpour” might impact the game. For the
record, Pullman’s average annual rainfall is slightly less than in
Pasadena. A light rain fell throughout the first half Saturday.