In a season that keeps getting more bizarre for Washington State, coach Paul Wulff announced Tuesday what may be the most extraordinary...
PULLMAN — In a season that keeps getting more bizarre for Washington State, coach Paul Wulff announced Tuesday what may be the most extraordinary circumstance of all.
The Cougars will see their fifth quarterback take a snap behind center on Saturday when they travel south to face the Stanford Cardinal.
Wulff and his staff decided to burn J.T. Levenseller’s redshirt after weeks of deliberation.
“The number one guy [Kevin Lopina] hasn’t been healthy to this point, so to expect that he would take every snap the rest of the year might be a little presumptuous on our part,” Wulff said.
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Lopina is playing, but is still bothered by a back injury he suffered against Portland State in September. Gary Rogers, the season’s starting quarterback, was also knocked out for the season in that game with a back injury.
Their eventual replacement, Marshall Lobbestael, suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month against Oregon State.
That forced Lopina back into action sooner than Wulff would have liked against USC, and Wulff said the two shared time with the No. 1 offense in practice over the bye week.
“Kevin Lopina is still our starting quarterback, but J.T.’s gonna go as well,” Wulff said.
Levenseller will likely play a planned series sometime in the first half, and then evaluate the situation after that — though he’ll likely see an additional series or two later in the game.
Son of wide-receivers coach Mike Levenseller, J.T. was an Associated Press All-State offense and defensive player at Pullman High School and has been around the program long before being recruited to WSU.
“Ever since I was a little kid, stepping onto Martin Stadium is all I wanted to do,” he said. “It’s finally here, and it’s a little surreal.”
The only other school which heavily recruited Levenseller was Eastern Washington, where Wulff was the coach last season.
“Is he going to be real sharp mentally in the short amount of time he has to operate? And then is he going to act physically quick enough in the game?” Wulff asked rhetorically. “He won’t, because he’s green. That’s just the reality of it. He’s going to have some things like that that aren’t beneficial to him. And we’re going to have to live through that.”
• RB Chris Ivory, still hampered by a lingering hamstring injury, has been ruled out for this week. So has TE Devin Frischknecht, still out with a high ankle sprain.
• Vaughn Lesuma returned to practice Tuesday. Asked if he might start, Wulff shrugged his shoulders. “Whoever plays the best [in practice] will play,” he said. WSU has started six different offensive lines in eight games this season.