Marcellus Pippins is hoping to perform well in front of NFL scouts at the Tropical Bowl all-star game on Sunday. He says the Cougars' DBs are in good hands with newly-promoted assistant coach Darcel McBath
Marcellus Pippins concedes that his senior year was not his best one at Washington State. While he played in every game, Pippins lost his starting cornerback spot to Marcus Strong midway through the season, and for the first time since his freshman year, did not intercept a pass.
However, Pippins in a phone interview this week that he’s at peace with how his final season played out, and is still hoping to get a chance to play in the NFL.
He could help himself by putting on a good showing at the FBS Spiral Tropical Bowl all-star game in Daytona Beach, Fla. this Sunday.
“I feel like I did more my junior year than my senior year,” said Pippins, who was a four-year starter for WSU at cornerback. “I felt like I could have done more my senior year for the team and stuff. My senior year was more the closing point. My senior year was more about getting the guys behind me right and bonding with my teammates.”
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Strong, a sophomore, earned the starting job in the week leading up to the Colorado game on Oct. 21, and never relinquished it.
“That wasn’t hard for me at all,” Pippins said of losing his job to Strong. “He’s gonna have to play now. He was hurt at first and so wasn’t able to play. The rotation thing was good for us. When the season starts now, it’s gonna be easier for him. It’s gonna be fun to watch him this year.”
Pippins also had high praise for Darcel McBath, who helped Alex Grinch coach the cornerbacks as a defensive quality control assistant last season, and was just promoted to full time assistant coach this week. McBath will likely oversee the defensive backs.
“He’s gonna be all over the place. You’re gonna notice the competitiveness all year because of McBath being an assistant coach,” Pippins said. “There’s gonna be a big difference with him being out there. He’s kinda like me, but older and wiser, with a lot of energy.”
McBath played for Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2004-08 and was a second round draft selection of the Denver Broncos in 2009. He spent two seasons in Denver, one in Jacksonville and two in San Francisco, where he played in Super Bowl XLVII against Baltimore.
Pippins said McBath brings a wealth of knowledge with him, and his playing resume gives him immediate credibility as a defensive backs coach.
“Coach McBath is super cool, just coming off the NFL and he played in the Super Bowl. He had a whole bunch of stories for us,” Pippins said. “McBath was really focused on us. Just getting our techniques right, and us being the best. That was a big deal for us – having him come with his energy.
“McBath gave coach Grinch the opportunity to focus on the defense and on schemes. Coach McBath knew the DB drills because he played, and he played with Leach in college so he knew all the practices and stuff and how it all went.”
Pippins earned an invitation to the Tropical Bowl right after the Cougars’ Holiday Bowl defeat to Michigan State, and he sees the game as an opportunity to help get on the radar of NFL teams
Pippins (5-10, 178 pounds) has just begun training for Pro Day (March 8) with Tracy Ford of Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue. He left Seattle for Florida on Thursday, and will participate in practices in front of scouts before the Tropical Bowl game on Sunday.
“It’s another chance to play football and get that exposure,” Pippins said. “Just to show that I can play with everybody, because of my size — I’m kinda small. So just to show I can move around and all that.”
Other names on the Tropical Bowl roster that might be familiar to WSU fans: Oregon receiver Charles Nelson, Oregon State defensive back Kyle White, Boise State quarterback Montell Cozart, Arizona running back Zach Green and Cal linebacker Raymond Davison.