November 6, 2011 in Sports

Players trying to ignore murmurs about foundering WSU football program

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Washington State’s Carl Winston breaks a tackle against California in the second quarter Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

SAN FRANCISCO – It’s hard for the murmurs around Washington State and coach Paul Wulff to not be heard by the Cougars players. But they are trying to ignore it.

“We stay out of that stuff,” sophomore guard John Fullington said. “The coaches are coaching their butts off. They’re doing their best. I’ve got a lot of respect for them. I know they’re putting so much time in.”

But Fullington knows the score.

“It would be a shame if we had to lose the coaches here, because they’ve given a lot for us and I feel like we need to fight and give a lot for them,” he said. “We’ve got to bring it on the field and hopefully save their jobs. But it’s just something we’re not going to think about. It’s a big red-light issue. We’re just going to go out and focus on next week.”

Some of that focus might have wavered recently.

“There’s too much talk going on,” Tyree Toomer said. “The talking’s done. We’ve just got to go out there Saturday and play. The fans, they’re either going to stay loyal, believing, or they’re going to question us.

“All this talk, and we keep disappointing them. It’s not looking good. We’re just going to show it out there on the field.”

With three games left, the Cougars have to win all of them to finish at 6-6 and be eligible for a bowl berth, something they say is still a goal.

“We have to decide how we’re going to end the season,” quarterback Marshall Lobbestael said. “I know the guys in the locker room and I would never, ever question their want to, their passion, any of that.”

But despite that, the Cougars started Saturday’s crucial contest without energy.

“It’s always a bummer coming out flat and seeing things go bad, go down the drain,” said Rickey Galvin.

And if there is any chance to salvage the season, they’ll have to turn it around quickly.

“We’ve got to have leadership from everybody,” Travis Long said. “But really it’s an individual (thing). How bad do you want it personally?”

Guyton honors ex-Cougar

Trevor Guyton usually wears No. 92 on his blue California home jersey.

But for the Bears’ game with Washington State on Saturday at AT&T Field, Guyton wore No. 6 – Cory Mackay’s number. Washington State’s Cory Mackay.

“He was one of my best friends,” Guyton said, referring to his former childhood friend who went from Sammamish’s Eastlake High to Pullman to play football, only to see his dream shattered in a one-vehicle rollover accident outside Washtucna after the conclusion of his freshman year in May 2009.

Guyton, a defensive end like Mackay, played with WSU’s Logwone Mitz at Redmond High – a rival of Eastlake – but was friends with Mackay long before.

And Saturday he wanted to honor his friend who is at home outside Seattle, dealing with lower-body paralysis suffered in the accident.

“He’s been going through some tough times,” Guyton said.

Guyton and the Bears dominated up front, with the senior posting four tackles – including one of Cal’s seven behind the line of scrimmage. Guyton and the defense held Washington State to a season-low 224 yards in the 30-7 victory.

Temporary home a change

The Bears are playing at AT&T Field, home of the Giants, in downtown San Francisco this season as their Memorial Stadium goes through a facelift.

The baseball stadium changes some things, from the lack of room in the clubhouse – the teams use the baseball facilities built for fewer players – to the fans sitting quite a ways from the playing surface.

But the strange logistics, made even more challenging by the nearly constant rain that drove much of the crowd under cover, didn’t affect the teams much according to the players.

“I don’t think it makes any difference,” Fullington said. “Put the ball down anywhere and play.”

Wideouts don’t disappoint

Cal’s Keenan Allen and WSU’s Marquess Wilson, two of the Pac-12’s leading receivers coming in, didn’t do anything to disappoint the rain-soaked fans.

Allen led the Bears with eight catches for 85 yards, including a 29-yard reception in the first quarter. Considering the Bears’ quarterbacks only completed 11 throws, Allen was a marked man by the WSU secondary.

Wilson caught seven passes, also for 85 yards. He, however, had the day’s most acrobatic reception, going high over cornerback Steve Williams to tip and eventually catch a 32-yard Lobbestael throw as he was going to the ground. Cal coach Jeff Tedford termed the play “unbelievable.”

Maynard good, can’t stay in

Cal starting quarterback Zach Maynard held off a challenge this week from Allan Bridgford, but couldn’t finish the game.

Late in the third quarter Maynard, who was 10 of 17 for 118 yards but missed two open receivers for possible scores, jumped on a Isi Sofele fumble and had his head driven into the ground by WSU’s Sekope Kaufusi. After lying on the field for a while, he was helped off.

Tedford said he could have returned, but Bridgford finished up, hitting 1 of 3 throws for 5 yards.


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