PULLMAN – There is an importance to tonight’s Washington State University spring game that goes beyond coach Paul Wulff’s desire for a hard-fought contest.
“We haven’t practiced a lot in the last week and a half, so we have to have a great, intense scrimmage,” Wulff said Thursday after WSU’s 13th spring practice, but only its third in a week. “It needs to be a physical, physical football game and we need to play with great aggression.”
The game will feature four 12-minute running quarters and will match the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 2 defense and vice versa. With the game being televised, there will be timeouts and the time between quarters will stretch long enough for commercial breaks.
There will not be kickoffs and punts – Wulff said the Cougars got in extra special teams work Thursday – but the ball will be spotted at different spots, so the offenses are not just working with either a short or long field. Field goals and extra points will be kicked, however, if called for.
The modified format – at the start of spring Wulff said he expected to draft two teams and play a game – is dictated by injuries, leaving WSU thin in key spots, including wide receiver and offensive line.
Though it’s not a real game, the battles for starting spots among those who are healthy are real enough.
“They all know it’s very important for their personal, individual improvement and the team,” Wulff said. “There is definitely an importance to it. Every time we get in live situations, you know we get a little bit better idea of how that person can perform under those situations.”
But it’s not the be all and end all.
Wulff said there aren’t any key positions he’ll pay special attention to – not even quarterback, where sophomore Jeff Tuel and junior Marshall Lobbestael are battling to lead the offense – or any that will be decided by the end of the day.
“All of them, really,” Wulff said when asked the position battles he is most interested in. “There are a lot of battles that are continually going on and it’s going to stay that way, to be quite honest, all the way through summer and in fall camp.”