In the three games since suffering an injured shoulder in the season opener, Jeff Tuel has watched his replacement, Marshall Lobbestael, lead Washington State to a 2-1 record and direct an offense that’s No. 4 in passing yards per game and No. 10 in points per contest.
While Tuel is now healthy enough to play, he’ll instead continue doing what he’s been doing for the better part of a month: watching Lobbestael (pictured) orchestrate the Cougars’ shockingly productive offense. For now, at least.
Head coach Paul Wulff said Monday that Tuel will return to practice Tuesday, while also adding that Lobbestael would get the start against UCLA Saturday. At least for now, and based on how his current starter is producing, it appears Wulff is more than comfortable easing Tuel back into action.
“We’re just going to give him some quality reps and let him work himself back into shape,” Wulff said.
In three-plus games, Lobbestael has thrown for more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He’s currently No. 6 and No. 13 in the country in passing yards per games and passing efficiency, respectively. Despite those impressive numbers, Lobbestael actually feels the offense would — and will — be better with Tuel under center.
No, seriously, he does. Said it out loud and everything.
“Wait until you see this offense with Jeff,” the fifth-year senior said. “I’m not ragging on what I’ve done or (showing) a lack of confidence in me, but I’m excited to see what he can do this year. Everyone else should be too, that’s all I’m saying.
“I’m just going to keep preparing like I have been and my goal is just to be ready to play, whether that’s the first snap or second or third string.”