Washington State holds tryout for QB Print
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Wednesday, 08 October 2008 13:58
NCAAF Headline News

 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -Football coaches holding campus-wide tryouts in the middle of the season isn't unheard of in college football. It's just usually to look for soccer players who can kick instead of a quarterback.
But Washington State coach Paul Wulff had to resort to a tryout this week to find a scout team quarterback after losing his top two quarterbacks, Kevin Lopina and Gary Rogers, to injuries early in the season.
And the winner is ...
``We actually just picked him this morning. I don't know his name,'' Wulff said Tuesday. ``We went through a series of 29 kids who went through it. He's a good kid. He's a kid from the state of Washington. He's a two-year starter at Woodinville High School.''
And he does have a name: Peter Roberts.
For now, Roberts will run the scout team as third-stringer Marshall Lobbestael starts and two freshmen backups also get some regular practice time in case they're needed to play.
ong, getting one chance at each drill.
Roberts performed the best and will spend the next few weeks imitating the starting quarterbacks on other Pac-10 teams. As for getting into a game, that might not happen.
``Right now we'd hope not just because he doesn't know what he's doing,'' Wulff said. ``If that would occur, hopefully it would be a little bit down the road. Let's hope that doesn't occur.''
That Wulff had to resort to the tryout shows how difficult a first season he's had with the Cougars. Washington State (1-5, 0-3 Pac-10) has allowed more than 60 points twice and has been outscored 157-20 in three conference games.
The Cougars' only win heading into Saturday's game against Oregon State was against Portland State of the lower-division FCS.
QUARTERBACK QUANDRIES: While injuries at the quarterback position have made things complicated for many Pac-10 coaches this season, Oregon State coach Mike Riley is getting even more depth.
Sean Canfield, who started nine games last season, has returned to practice from a shoulder injury that has sidelined him since before spring ball.
``I would not say that he's totally game ready but I feel comfortable in him running our offense and making the plays to help us win a game,'' Riley said.
Lyle Moevao has done quite well since taking over for Canfield and leads the Pac-10 with 280.4 yards passing per game.
d could get on the field Saturday against Washington State, Riley doesn't have any plans to share the duties between his two experienced passers.
``I'm not looking for any kind of rotation. Until last year, when we did it early in the season, I've never really done that and don't intend to at this point,'' he said. ``Would it be nice to get him some time? Absolutely. But we're going to do it according to the course of the game and the situation we're in, not any predetermined time.''
BEST BUDDIES: To hear Rick Neuheisel and Mike Bellotti talk about their relationship this week, they're good friends and golfing buddies.
Their relationship wasn't always so chummy. Bellotti was steamed about a fake punt Neuheisel and Colorado ran against Oregon late in a 38-6 Cotton Bowl win in 1996.
Neuheisel once accused Bellotti and Oregon of questionable recruiting tactics while he was the head coach at Washington as the relationship appeared to grow even more testy as the two were part of that Northwest rivalry.
The two downplayed their history this week as Neuheisel prepared to bring his UCLA team into Autzen Stadium for the first time since taking over the Bruins.
``We're competitors on the field obviously, there's some things we probably don't agree on,'' Bellotti said. ``But overall it's probably a media deal that has been blown out of proportion.''
or the support he showed when Neuheisel got into trouble at the end of his tenure in Washington.
``I am forever thankful to Mike for being willing to extend himself in the way he did and write a letter on my behalf to the NCAA,'' Neuheisel said. ``I think there's a lot that's been said about my relationship with Mike and the acrimony, if you will, but I think that all has been put in the past and I consider him not only a great coach but a really good guy.''
TD MACHINE: Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski has made the most of his limited opportunities this season.
Gronkowski missed the first three games of the season with an illness before catching eight passes in two games against UCLA and Washington. While that's not a big number for a standout tight end, the five touchdowns he's had off those catches are.
``His pure catches may be down but his productivity is up,'' coach Mike Stoops said. ``Obviously, five TDs in two games is extraordinary for a tight end.''
The performance has got the attention of the competition for the Wildcats. Stanford co-defensive coordinator Ron Lynn compared Gronkowski's combination of size and speed to NFL star Tony Gonzalez as he prepared to face him this week.
``I don't know of many guys who physically match what he has available to him. He's a big strong physical guy who can make things happen when he does catch the ball,'' Lynn said. ``I'm not going to say he's an impossible matchup but he's as close as it gets.''

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