Piggy Buck Ride!! Get it? Buck.
Good morning and Happy Hump Day Cougs! I hope by now you've all had a chance to weigh in on some of the important matters of the week. You wouldn't expect so many hot button issues to pop up in early May, but with pressing matters like a nickname for Marquess Wilson and the two arguments that Sean somehow started (re: Jim Walden and The Seattle Game) respectively, the WSU Football Blog has become quite the home for occasionally-slightly-impolite-but-mostly-genial-discourse-about-mostly-trivial-things. I would normally like to dedicate an entire post to weighing in on topics that other people created because it requires the least amount of creative thinking, but I promised last week when I recapped the offense that I would take a look at the defense this week. As a man of my word (well, sometimes), I will do just that, but only if you jump. You don't have to ask, "How High?". It doesn't really make a difference to me.
Once again, we'll break this thing down by position group. Here we go!
Projected depth chart post-spring (PDCPS): The two locks in the three man first unit along the line are Anthony Laurenzi at the nose and Xavier Cooper at one of the ends. I like the consistency of the former and the upside of the latter. At the other end, Lenard Williams is the leading candidate to start. In Toni Pole and My Main Man Ian (JC Transfer Ioane Gauta), there is some depth to work with at nose tackle. At end, it's a situation somewhat similar to the offensive line where the best thing that can be said is that there are a bunch of dudes in the mix. Names like Adam Coerper, Ian Knight, Matthew Bock, Justin Clayton, Darryl Paulo and David Davis don't exactly jump out at you, but they are names. Depending on how the offseason plays out, some of the names just listed could end up being part of the rotation at NT or even the vaunted Buck position, but that remains to be seen. You know, kinda like how everything in the universe that hasn't already happened remains to be seen. What a stupid expression. Anyway.
Biggest surprise: I don't know that he qualifies as a surprise to folks that follow the Cougs closely, but Xavier Cooper figures to surprise some opposing offenses in the fall. Mr. Cooper has been waiting in the wings for quite a while now. He originally committed in 2010, but delayed his arrival until Spring of 2011. He's now had two spring camps and a full redshirt season to get himself acclimated so he's not your average first year player. As such, I've made my expectations of him completely disproportionate to reality. You know, standard operating procedure.
"You're messing up my Piggy Buck Ride!"
PDCPS:BUCK - Travis Long, WIL - Chester Sua, MIK - Darryl Monroe, SAM - Eric Oertel. This position works reasonably well to make a full second unti so let's do that. BUCK - Logan Mayes, WIL - (insert your favorite incoming freshman here, unless you are particularly optimistic about the return of a certain long haired fellow we all love), MIK - Darren Markle, SAM - Cyrus Coen. Remember when Alex Hoffman-Ellis graduated, then CJ Mizell and Sekope Kaufusi got kicked off the team and everyone freaked out about linebackers, then we all remembered that Travis Long is the best player on defense and Chester Sua and Darryl Monroe are probably the most talented? Yeah, that was funny.
Biggest surprise: When a guy whose position to date has been "Linebacker, naaaah, Running Back, naaaaaah, Linebacker, naaaaaah Running Back, naaaaah Linebacker" nails down a starting position and draws heaps of praise from the coaching staff, he earns the Biggest Surprise label. Congratulations, Eric Oertel! I loved your work on special teams and think you pretty much look like a badass, but you don't exactly fit it on the Hair Raid yet. It's afro time! Hell, even Travis Long has one these days.
"I got lucky again!"
PDCPS: It's hard to say exactly because this unit was especially banged up throughout the spring, but expect the starting corners to be Nolan Washington and Damante Horton with Deone Bucannon and Tyree Toomer starting at safety. I like the depth at safety (read: I wish either Anthony Carpenter or Casey Locker were starting instead), but Cornerback is a little concerning. I'm an unabashed Daniel Simmons fan, but in Tracy Clark, Brandon Golden and Spencer Waseem, you've got a whole lot of potential, but potential can't cover Robert Woods or De'Anthony Thomas. OK, nobody can cover those guys really, but potential can't cover anyone. What I'm saying is, our back-up corners are unproven until they prove something, you know what I'm saying?
Biggest surprise: I've gotta be honest. I don't know that there really was one. Had Nolan Washington become a master sand castle sculptor during all his time at the Leach Beach, that probably would have been the biggest surprise hands down. To my knowledge, this did not happen.
To officially close the book on spring, we've got another esteemed guest from ESPN to weigh in on the Wazzu defense. Take it away, Mark Schlereth!
The Washington State football defense is going to play a lot of football in the Pacific 12 football conference this year because they are football players. I see a couple of football players with the potential to play in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, but there is a paradoxical dichotomy of divergence when you look at this football team. (Pretending what I just said makes sense.....) This football team is going to pass the football a lot and they're going to have to score a lot of points to win football games. If this defense can make football plays to get stops and maybe even take away the football, Mike Breske will be a happy football coach and Washington State football fans will be happy with the football program. Football.
Thanks for that, Mark. Go Cougs.
@Longball Mark May responded to this comment by arguing with Lou Holtz for 5 minutes about the amount of time before fast food is too cold to enjoy. In related news ESPN still has horrible CFB analysts
The defense should be interesting this year. I think they have potential to make a huge turnaround, even with the new linebackers. I think the secondary has enough guys with experience to really improve. Of course I would feel way better if Kaufusi makes it back. It just makes for a better Hair Raid. Hopefully they all got the memo on that, as you pointed out, it does appear that Travis Long did. Think of the "product" endorsement deals they could land. They might have to let Dominique Williams play corner a few times just to get in on it though. His hair truly is a thing of beauty.
It's cool, my coworkers come to expect the awkward chuckle from reading Hump Day. I am not sure how you out word-smithed the legitimate titles the Coug Center guys give to each other, but pretty sure you nailed it with this gem.
"the home for occasionally-slightly-impolite-but-mostly-genial-discourse-about-mostly-trivial-things"
I motion we have the Penguins put this title under the banner atop our site. Do I hear a second?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Am at the airport, reading this and chuckling while the folks around me have been slowly getting up and moving to other seats. Then, I get to the "I got lucky again" caption and work the classic bellowing LOL which causes people to move to the next section of seats. Then, I hit the Schlereth "paradoxical dichotomy of divergence bit" and I started to cry I was laughing so hard. Now, There's no one but me in the entire concourse. So there.