Washington State's defense held the upper hand in the Cougars' first scrimmage of the fall, limiting the offensive units to just over 200 yards rushing and passing, while picking off two passes and recording four sacks.
"Usually the defense is ahead but I didn't think they were that far ahead," offered head coach Bill Doba after the mid-afternoon scrimmage that was witnessed by a contingent of former players who returned to campus for WSU's annual pre-season reunion.
"Defensively we came to play. They ran well to the ball and we couldn't run against them or throw the football," Doba said.
Sophomore Gary Rogers took the majority of snaps under center for the offense, with starter Alex Brink on the sidelines much of the afternoon. Doba said Brink was bothered by a virus and was limited to a couple of series to open the practice.
"Gary got better as the scrimmage went on," Doba said. The 6-7 quarterback connected on seven of his 13 passes for 93 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown strike to senior tight end Cody Boyd.
Arkelon Hall and Cole Morgan also saw action at quarterback. Hall was injured late in the game and the preliminary diagnosis was a high ankle sprain, according to Bill Drake, WSU's director of athletic training services.
Doba expressed disappointment in Saturday's scrimmage after a pair of good practices in full pads Friday. "We were really solid yesterday, two good practices. We did everything well. Both sides made great plays. Today they were a little flat," he said.
"Our long snapper needs a little work on punts and the field goal kickers need a little work," was Doba's assessment after watching several high center snaps and field goals hit the upright or miss wide right.
"Right now Romeen Abdollmohammodi, he's got the job, he's doing the best right now," Doba said. The junior who joined the team briefly in the spring, hit all four field goal attempts, the longest 42 yards, while veteran Loren Langley missed three attempts before connecting from 42 yards.
Doba did point out that WSU's offense, especially running the ball, was not helped by the loss of guard Andy Roof, who suffered a broken thumb in Friday morning's practice. Doba said he is expected to be out four to six weeks. His replacement is will be either Josh Duin or Dan Rowlands. Both are also battling Kenny Alfred for a starting spot at center.
The Cougars are also slated to scrimmage Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and again next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.