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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Final scrimmage quick one for Cougs

PULLMAN – And just like that, Washington State’s spring football sessions were over.

Not wanting to risk any further injuries to his already-bruised squad, head coach Bill Doba had promised that Saturday’s final scrimmage of the spring wouldn’t last long.

He kept his promise, too, as the 1,000 or so fans in attendance at Martin Stadium witnessed a practice that lasted 53 minutes from the first kickoff to the final whistle.

“I thought it was just right, because I didn’t see anyone get carried off the field,” Doba said. “Nobody got hurt.”

In all, 15 Cougars missed the last day of spring ball, many of them because of injuries that kept them on the sidelines for most of the practices in March and April.

Of those who played, the Cougars on the defensive side of the ball may have acquitted themselves best, stopping WSU’s top offensive unit on numerous possessions and also picking up a turnover or two along the way.

“We really needed this scrimmage,” senior safety Husain Abdullah said. “We’d been having so-so ones, but we needed a dominating one.

“Of course, you have a long way to go. We have summer. We have fall camp. But right now, we’re good.”

One standout on the offensive side of the ball – a most consistent standout this spring, – was wide receiver Brandon Gibson, who reeled in a 39-yard scoring grab from Alex Brink along the right sideline and later took a kickoff back 89 yards for a second score.

Not surprisingly, even that return was colored by a desire to stay off the trainer’s table.

“After I got past Romeen (Abdollmohammadi, the kicker), I was like, ‘There’s no reason to go that much harder. I don’t want to kill myself.’ So I just strided that out.”

Sophomore quarterback Kevin Lopina, who had missed almost all of the spring sessions, stepped back onto the field for his first scrimmage action this year after recuperating from a hamstring injury.

Lopina, who could end up as the team’s No. 3 quarterback in the fall and is thought to be a potential starter down the road, threw a 28-yard touchdown to Greg Walker.

The rest of the Cougars who didn’t play are all officially expected back in time for the fall, although Doba said some doubt exists for a few.

Defensive tackle Aaron Johnson confirmed that surgery is imminent for a bulging disc in his back, and Doba indicated that shoulder injuries to defensive end Lance Broadus and wide receiver Keith Rosenberg could be significant.

“We just have to get healthy,” Doba said. “That’s our biggest problem right now. We’ll have plenty of time. We have some kids coming in in the fall who we think can help. We’ll have 29 practice opportunities in the fall once they’re there.”