That's what the vendors always say when they are trying to move product (programs, get your programs here). And this year? It's kinda-sorta true. For WSU has released the first official game week program, and, what do you know, there are some new faces and surprises at that. Check it out here.
1) Andy Mattingly, SECOND string? That's what 91 tackles and 8 sacks as a sophomore gets you into your Junior year? Either he's being punished for the frying pan incident, or he hasn't taken to the position change yet, or even Matt Mullennix has just looked too good for his last year. But this was a real head-scratcher on a guy who could be our most legit NFL prospect on defense. Who knows, maybe being the starter vs. the backup won't matter. They will probably rotate guys in and out a ton anyway, but still, you would have thought #45 would be out there from the beginning.
2) The WR's are beat up, but frosh Jared Karstetter, starting as the "X" receiver? This is the WR on the other side of the field from Brandon Gibson btw. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Karstetter and I can't wait to see what he's going to do. The TNT had a big write-up on him today, and the buzz has been non-stop on him from the first day of camp. He's big, athletic as we know from his championship hoops career, and has some good, soft hands. But to go from the 4A state hoops title team in the spring to starting at WR at a BCS school in a matter of months?? WOW. Obviously injuries tell some of the story here, and this was Jeshua Anderson's spot coming in, then to Daniel Blackledge. But with Anderson on the shelf until the end of September and Blackledge still battling a nagging hammy, well, Karstetter was up to the challenge, and this is where we are.
Maybe Karstetter will put on some weight, change his number to 83, grow a mullet and transform into the next Jeff Smardzjilla from Notre Dame?? Hey, it could happen.
3) The O-line shuffle continues. Vaughn Lesuma (back) at left tackle and Dan Rowlands (shoulder) at right guard, both listed at second string, both battling various ailments. Although Rowlands gets the "OR" next to his name, so, that could be a game-day decision. It's also of note at how young the line is coming into 2008. If Lesuma is out of action, there isn't a senior starter among the five up front. Might be scary this year, but could be real exciting going forward?
4) Xavier Hicks is nowhere to be found, and that was expected due to the suspension. Sure enough, sophomore Myron Beck will start at free safety. Meanwhile Chima slides out from corner to strong safety, and Alfonso Jackson completes the swap with Jackson taking the right corner spot. One surprise had sophomore Romeo Pellum winning the heated left-corner job, ahead of Markus Dawes and Devin Giles.
5) Andy Roof IS on the depth chart, at second string at DT behind Eichelberger. Vince at the Spokesman keeps checking on the news with Roof, but so far he's still in a holding pattern. Wulff has been confident on this situation all off-season, and maybe he will turn out to be right on this. Also of note, no mention of Bernard Wolfgramm, the 4-star JC tackle? Hmmm.
6) I guess rugby-style punting has gone the way of the Doba, at least for now. Special teams saw Dan Wagner win the punting job, over Patrick Rooney and Reid Forrest. Forrest you'll remember was OK in '07, averaging 40.5 on 46 punts. But he suffered a cracked ankle in July and had been on crutches. When camp opened, there was hope that he could be ready for the opener, but it wasn't to be. Wade Penner won the job for field goals, while Patrick Rooney will kick off. Nico Grasu, the JC kickoff specialist, will be a backup for now. note - thanks to Logan and Selahcoug for the tip in comments that Forrest is still injured!
So there you have it. The beginning of the new era will have a lot of young faces. And tenure be damned, it seems. If you produce, you will play, if not start.