<
>

Cougar weapon? How about a Frischknecht?

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

He's a small-town guy who's 12-letter last name left announcers tongue-tied during last season's Apple Cup.

As in "Touchdown Freshnach!" And "Another TD for Freshenneck!"

Washington State tight end Devin Frischknecht introduced himself to the Pac-10 that afternoon, hauling in a pair of touchdown passes in the Cougars' 42-35 win. Filling in for injured starter Jed Collins, he finished his best day of the season with five receptions for 88 yards.

In the previous 11 games, he caught 13 passes for 103 yards and a score.

"It was the best thing in the world. Who doesn't want to catch two touchdown passes in an Apple Cup?," he said. "I didn't even know the Apple Cup was a big thing but after the game I saw how big it was. You couldn't hear anything in the stadium."

Of course, the victory only gave the Cougars a nice end to a dreary season, and it wasn't enough to save Bill Doba's job.

Even with the Apple Cup heroics, the 2007 season wasn't a good experience for Frischknecht, a transfer from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, or any of his teammates.

"It was kind of hard for me," he said. "I was expecting to come in and be on a winning team. It was really frustrating."

Frischknecht, however, isn't like many of his teammates. For one, he's from a town that makes Pullman (population 25,000) seem like a metropolis -- Manti, Utah, population 3,040.

Not that Frischknecht feels like he's missed anything. Give him the mountains, rivers with native trout and wide-open expanses outdoors anytime.

"There's no better place than a small town," he said.

He's also married and his son, Reggie, will turn two in December. When most of his teammates are looking for parties after the game, he's headed home to dirty diapers.

He's gotten comfortable in Pullman, even with its big-city ways, and he's also gotten comfortable on the field, improving his blocking while suggesting with his recent play that he might have future potential with his 260 pounds on a 6-foot-3 frame and above-average athleticism.

As for the present with the Cougars, the negative perception of it is something that slightly elevates the mood of a man who typically uses few words. Yes, he's aware Washington State was picked 10th in the Pac-10 media poll. And he thinks that's cracked.

"We don't listen to that stuff," he said. "We know we're not going to be last in the Pac-10. We don't let that get to us."

He gives two reasons why. He called new Cougars coach Paul Wulff "the best coach I've ever played for." And he says that first-time starter Gary Rogers won't be a step back after the graduation of three-year starter Alex Brink.

"Gary's been playing very well," he said. "He's by far the best quarterback I've been with. I was with Brink last year, but I like Gary."

In other words, he expect there to be plenty of "Rogers finds Frezzenecht... touchdown!" this season.