HERE’S TO THE KILLER Bs. It’s amazing what you find when you dig through the fine print. A perusal of WSU’s weekly football release shows that 10 of the 21 scout team offensive and defensive player of the week honors this season have gone to players whose last names start with B. Leading the way -- all 5-foot-6, 160-pounds of him -- is walk-on freshman Leon Brooks of Harbor City, Calif.
He’s been named player of the week three times -- twice on offense and once on defense.
Brooks' versatility is no surprise. In high school, he played running back, cornerback and returned punts and kickoffs. He also was a standout in track -- as well as the classroom.
Three other Bs have earned scout team weekly honors twice this season: Cory Burk, a 5-8, 181-pound receiver from Bothell; lineman Matthew Bock of Santa Margarita Catholic (Calif.) High; and linebacker Zach Brevick of Mount Si High. In fact, Bock and Brevick shared the award on the defensive side of the ball this past week for their work leading up to the UCLA game.
Burk, Bock and Brevick are all walk ons. Of them, Burk is the most acclaimed. He was a Class 4A All-State linebacker at Bothell High and Kingco 4A defensive player of the year in 2007. He was also an all-league return specialist. A sophomore, he walked on at Washington State this season following a year at Edmonds Community College.
The final B in the bunch is running back-turned-linebacker Arthur Burns of Corona, Calif. He earned a scout team player of the week nod for his work on offense before the Cal game.
ELSEWHERE IN THE FINE PRINT of the materials produced by WSU’s sports information department is this little nugget. Senior center Kenny Alfred was voted the team’s offensive player of the week for his work against UCLA. Granted, that’s not saying much given the abysmal work of the WSU offense. But it says a whole lot when you consider that it marked the sixth time this season Alfred has earned the honor.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES is an old bromide tailor-made for Cougar defensive end Casey Hamlett. A year ago he was knocking heads for Division II Western Washington. Now he’s not only playing in the Pac-10, but starting. He’s been the Cougars’ No. 1 guy at left end for the last five games. He also served as a team captain against ASU. And get this: Hamlett had his picture in Sports Illustrated a couple of weeks ago giving chase to Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
THE RACE FOR THE COUGARS’ tackling crown is firmly in control of safety Xavier Hicks. He has 75 total stops on the season – 13 more than No. 2 Alex Hoffman-Ellis. Andy Mattingly and Chima Nwachukwu, with 57 and 56 tackles respectively, are battling for third. Hicks, with 79 stops, was the Cougars’ No. 2 tackler last season behind Greg Trent (88).
THIS SATURDAY’S GAME against 7-3 Oregon State is Senior Day and will mark the final home game for a host of crimson soliders: Alfred, Hicks, Mattingly, Jesse Feagin, Colin Huemmer, Reed Lesuma, Kevin Lopina, Patrick Rooney, Jason Stripling, Dwight Tardy, Zach Tatman, Sam Tennant, K.C. Thometz and Tony Thompson. Additionally, two senior football equipment managers will be recognized, Ryan Callahan and Anthony Frei. Kickoff is at 2 pm and there is no TV coverage.
Lopina, who will get the starting nod at quarterback vs. the Beavs, is a Californian. So is the guy, the injured Jeff Tuel, who he is filling in for. What makes that notable is that Lopina and Tuel are the first Californians to line up behind center for WSU in a decade. The last Golden Stater at the WSU helm was Steve Birnbaum. Other notable California Cougar quarterbacks over the years have included Bobby Newman, John Hopkins, Samoa Samoa, Ricky Turner, Ed Blount, Brad Gossen and Chad Davis.