Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lopina Ahead After First Scrimmage?


Well, the first week, culminating with the first full scrimmage, is now in the books for our Cougs.

Per Vince, Lopina was a perfect six-for-six for 94 yards and the only TD pass of the day, a 22-yarder to TE Zach Tatman. That's it. Meanwhile, Ocho Rojo was a pedestrian four-for-seven for 32 yards (although as Vince mentioned, there was a drop in there), while young Jeff Tuel went five-for-six for 75 yards (running 3rd string vs. 3rd string by the way).

Here's the take from James, straight outta comments, who took in today's scrimmage:

I went to the scrimmage today and I will say that Lopina looked a lot better than Lobbestael. However my favorite QB of the day was easily Tuel. He made all of the right reads, hitting different receivers on each pass, and knew when he had to scramble or tuck it in. On one occasion he broke out for a 15yd gain--the guy is fast. It's not like the 3rd team defense was horrible either. Sekope made great tackles (and a particularly loud one at that). I'm not saying we shouldn't redshirt Tuel...I'm just saying that I really like him haha.

However, the one thing that I noticed was that the running game wasn't as big as I thought it would be. I mean they made some nice gains, but I never a saw a large play from any of them. I guess I was just waiting for some 40yd rush or something lol. In the end, it's probably a good thing because that means our defense is stopping it. Our defense (specifically the D-line) made a lot of nice plays. They were really pumped up and at one point a large group of them started jumping around, squirting water at each other and just making a lot of noise on the sidelines. They were having fun and it was hilarious watching their antics-- it kind of reminds me of the Mariners this year since Griffey has been back.

The last play of scrimmage ended up being a 60 to 70yd punt that even the small crowd appreciated. Overall, I was pleased with what I saw. There were some things that need work but there weren't any major flaws that I saw last year. The one thing that would make me feel better is just getting enough reps with the plays so that come game time, they will have some more chemistry. But hey, that's why they will be doing two-a-days until the season starts.


Good work James, thanks for that. The best news of all might be the praise Lopina had for the offensive line, giving the QB's some decent time to do what they do best.

Anyway, so....one week in, plus a scrimmage....and what's the early word? The QB competition is heated, and per another Grippi masterpiece, while they aren't coming out and saying it today, Kevin Lopina just might be winning this QB job after all.

Maybe this is due for another post as we get deeper into camp, and it is still pretty early. But there are a couple of things that are starting to become awfully clear. 1) Kevin Lopina is healthy, and after a full year in the system, has improved. And 2) the buzz, or lack thereof, surrounding Marshall Lobbestael right now.

Now obviously Marshall deserves a break, I mean the kid is in there competing just what, 10 or so months after major knee surgery? The spring practice I saw had Marshall in there in skeleton drills, doing his best with the knee brace, all in lousy conditions no less. But even without a pass rush in his face or having to avoid the oncoming blitz from different directions, he didn't exactly tear the defense to shreds either.

But still, after eight practices and a scrimmage now in the books, the "boy Marshall Lobbestael looks good" buzz has been noticeably absent from camp reports. At least I haven't heard it, have you? We'll try and get more analysis from our own Longball in the near future as to what exactly he's seen from the QB's, but anyone else noticing that?



Speaking of competition at QB, Cougfan's got a freebie up on Lopina and his showdown with Lobbestael. It's a good read (we wouldn't send you there if it sucked, would we?). And hey, no matter what happens between Lopina and Ocho Rojo and how this all plays out, we have been fans of Lopina's character. He's a stand-up guy and wasn't shy about ripping it last fall when the quitters were circling the locker room late in the season.

Finally, great write-up in the Seattle Times on someone who is getting a lot of ink these days as Mr. Important, Darin Lovat.



The strength and conditioning coach has been getting some well-deserved back slaps of late for the job he's done sculpting and lifting these young Cougs into PAC-10 shape. Hard to argue with the so-called eye test, as Grippi, Longball, Cougfan, etc have all been quick to mention that these guys look bigger and stronger than last year's version.

Can't wait to see these new physique's in action. Wow, just three weeks from right about NOW, and the season will be upon us! Come on September 5...come on.

Enjoy your evening, and GO COUGS!

8 comments:

James said...

I went to the scrimmage today and I will say that Lopina looked a lot better than Lobbestael. However my favorite QB of the day was easily Tuel. He made all of the right reads, hitting different receivers on each pass, and knew when he had to scramble or tuck it in. On one occasion he broke out for a 15yd gain--the guy is fast. It's not like the 3rd team defense was horrible either. Sekope made great tackles (and a particularly loud one at that). I'm not saying we shouldn't redshirt Tuel...I'm just saying that I really like him haha.

However, the one thing that I noticed was that the running game wasn't as big as I thought it would be. I mean they made some nice gains, but I never a saw a large play from any of them. I guess I was just waiting for some 40yd rush or something lol. In the end, it's probably a good thing because that means our defense is stopping it. Our defense (specifically the D-line) made a lot of nice plays. They were really pumped up and at one point a large group of them started jumping around, squirting water at each other and just making a lot of noise on the sidelines. They were having fun and it was hilarious watching their antics-- it kind of reminds me of the Mariners this year since Griffey has been back.

The last play of scrimmage ended up being a 60 to 70yd punt that even the small crowd appreciated. Overall, I was pleased with what I saw. There were some things that need work but there weren't any major flaws that I saw last year. The one thing that would make me feel better is just getting enough reps with the plays so that come game time, they will have some more chemistry. But hey, that's why they will be doing two-a-days until the season starts.

Sean Hawkins said...

Nice work James. In fact your recap is so good, it's now part of the post. Thanks for the information!

I love hearing that about Tuel. His wheels are awfully deceptive too. You can see in that highlight of him on youtube where you think OK, he's fast, and then you see him running away from defensive backs, and you are like "oh, he IS fast."

I'm not sure what to think of the running game, but from earlier reports this week it sounded pretty good. And you are right, it's still early in camp. Things will settle

James said...

Wow, thanks! I've been reading this blog for three years now and I'm a big fan :) I'll be checking in on the practices for the coming weeks and I'll keep watch on the RB and QB situations.

Hooty McBoob said...

I bit my lip after Sutra's post condemning the Cougs to another lost season if Lopina starts - so to get in front of another round of arguments, I need to chime in now.

What a lot of people may not realize, is that Wulff may very well be coaching for his job this year. That's not me being speculative and I don't want to start rumors - but suffice it to say that we know there's some pressure to do more than just get better this year.

That being the case, regardless of the fact that Lopina is in his last year, if he gives the Cougs the best chance to win, he WILL play.

This may simply be a case of #8 being more rusty after a winter of inactivity and unfamiliarity with his receivers - I have to assume that Lopina spent the offseason throwing and working on routes with the receiving corps, while Lobbestael recovered from his injury - but if not, don't be surprised to see #9 under center in Game #1. The future of the Wulff era may depend on it.

Sean Hawkins said...

I hear ya Hoot. Myself, I have been going with the idea of Marshall being the best choice, not just for the upside he showed last year but for what could be in 2010. He didn't exactly kill everyone last year, but he did show that he had at least a little something-something, you know?

I think we're going to be pretty decent next year, flirting with bowl eligibility, but they always say the number one rule with QB's is that they only make their best strides by playing in game situations. I know that's the same with a lot of positions, but with QB's, even more so. Remember Gary Rogers last year? Even as a senior who had been around forever, he still looked like exactly what he was - a guy who hadn't played in games much over the years.

A year backing up Lopina when we're probably not going to be all that good to begin with could lead to a frustrating season next year, when we will be loaded with upper classmen, but with a QB who is still a little green? You'd hate to have Marshall learn his lessons next year, while the team is better equipped to win.

But you are right man, no matter what anyone thinks they are under pressure to win as many games as they can, and win them now. That article from Grippi yesterday about how they will go about picking a QB and whoever gives them the best chance to win now pretty much says it all! If Lopina outplays everyone else, he will win the job.

okcougar said...

Lopina may start against the Trees, but how long will he keep the job. How many picks will the staff be willing to live with?

Hooty McBoob said...

If Wulff was guaranteed a job next year despite another year on the way up the learning curve, I'd be all for allowing Lobbestael time to develop even if Lopina outplayed him in camp. I get the argument that we'd be better off in 2010 with Lobbestael under center in 2009.

However, there is SIGNIFICANT pressure from WSU administration to make a bigger jump this year than any of us are predicting/expecting. The best man wins the job.

I'd also say that everyone needs to cut Lopina some friggin slack. People are talking about him as if they expect last year's version of #9. Don't you think he and the coaching staff have been working their tails off all offseason to make him better? Just sit back and enjoy the show. Personally, I hope Lopina makes everybody enjoy a big shit sandwich as he runs away with the job. Nothing against #8 - I just pull for the underdog.

Anonymous said...

I like Lobbestael, but agree you can't just give him the job, he has to take it. Like Longball pointed out, if Ocho doesn't take it, Tuel might, next year.