NCAA FB

2003 PREVIEW: Washington State Cougars

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Ask any non-Pac 10 fan which team won the league title last season, and almost everyone will say USC. The Trojans had a high profile season with a Heisman winner, a nationally televised blowout over , and an Orange Bowl whupping over Iowa. When everyone got a chance to see the Cougars, they were being run over by Maurice Clarett and , and then couldn't handle and Oklahoma. Almost everyone missed the big wins. It's easy to forget that Wazzu beat USC last season and ended up winning a share of the crown as a great team that never seemed to get its due. Even after the loss of head coach Mike Price, Outland Trophy winner , All-America quarterback and first-round draft pick , expectations are still high for the talented Cougars.

Team Information
Head coach: Bill Doba
1st year
Returning O Lettermen: 22
Returning D Lettermen: 25
Returning ST Lettermen: 2
Lettermen Lost: 18
Ten Best Players
1. OT , Jr.
2. WR , Jr.
3. FS , Sr.
4. RB Jermaine Green, Sr.
5. DT , Sr.
6. CB , Sr.
7. PK , Sr.
8. DE , Sr.
9. P , Soph.
10. QB , Sr.
2003 Schedule
8/30
9/6 at
9/13 at
9/20
9/27 at
10/4
10/18 at
10/25
11/1 at USC
11/8
11/15
11/22 at
There might not be the star power on this year's Cougar team, but there's enough talent on both sides of the ball to come up with a big season. Will that talent be enough? It could be in a league that might not be quite as strong as it's been lacking the powerhouse, sure-thing top five team. While a Pac 10 title isn't a total impossibility in Bill Doba's first season, it might be a little out of reach. That's not to say a team with a good defensive front seven and an explosive offense can't still make some noise and build for the future. isn't going to change what worked in the past, so expect the same fireworks, and the same tough defense that was so fun to watch under Price. The Schedule: Wazzu trades , and Montana State for New Mexico and road games at and Colorado. That's not all that great a deal. As good as the Cougar run defense was last year, it had problems with top backs, and New Mexico's DonTrell Moore, 's and Colorado's can all carry the ball. In conference play, they get a horrible exchange losing and getting . At least the Beavers, along with and have to come to Pullman. Road games at Oregon, USC and in the Apple Cup against Washington could be too hard for Wazzu to hope for a Pac 10 title repeat. Best Offensive Players: Junior OT . The 6-8, 321-pound junior is just one of the big players on the massive offensive line, but he's the best with wonderful feet for a guy his size. He's a tremendous pass blocker and growing into an elite player in the running game. Best Defensive Player: Senior FS . Coleman has cornerback speed with the size of a safety. O.K., so he isn't all that tall, but he's a big hitting 200-pound player and a sure tackler. Key player to a successful season: With the loss of a superstar leader like , the hope will be for quarterback to step in and make the offense go without skipping a beat. He has a ton of practice experience waiting for his turn, and now he has to shine. The season will be a success if: a top three finish in the Pac 10 race. While that might be setting sights a little bit low, it wouldn't be a bad season considering how strong , Washington, , and USC are. As good as Wazzu might be, this is still a team that has to replace several stars. Key game: Sept. 27 at Oregon. While there might be bigger games on the schedule, this could be one of the most important. Nothing against Stanford or Arizona, but if the Cougars can come out of Eugene with a win, they should be 3-0 in Pac 10 play before getting at home. 2002 Fun Stats:
  • First half scoring: WSU 212 - Opponents 130
  • Average yards per rush: WSU 3.9 - Opponents 2.5
  • Time of possession: Opponents 32:31 - WSU 27:29
    2003 Recruiting Class
    Star of the Class
    Patrick Afif OL 6-8 320 Jr. Temecula, Calif. (Temecula/Orange Coast JC)
    Ranked No. 2 junior college offensive lineman in the country by The Insiders ... rated one of the top 125 junior college players by Prep Star Magazine ... helped pave the way for Mission Conference¿s sixth leading rusher. Abdullah, Husain DB 6-1 190 Fr. Pomona, Calif. (Pomona)
    Bass, Christian DB 6-2 195 Fr. Moreno Valley, Calif. (Canyon Springs)
    Bobo, Reyshawn DE 6-1 185 Fr. Moreno Valley, Calif. (Canyon Springs)
    Brink, Alex QB 6-3 180 Fr. Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon)
    Bruhn, Chris RB 6-3 205 Jr. Woodland, Calif. (Woodland/Butte College)
    Byrd, Bobby OL 6-6 290 Fr. Oceanside, Calif. (Oceanside)
    Conlin, Jon DL 6-3 240 Fr. Vancouver, British Columbia (Vancouver College)
    Foster, Russell OL 6-7 290 Fr. Chula Vista, Calif. (Bonita Vista)
    Hill, Jason WR 6-2 175 Fr. San Francisco, Calif. (Sacred Heart Cathedral)
    Johnson, Aaron TE/DE 6-5 245 Fr. Fairfield, Calif. (Armijo)
    Liufau, Tolifili DL 6-2 285 Fr. Honolulu, (St. Louis)
    Loo, Keola OL 6-1 290 Jr. Kaneohe, (St. Louis/Orange Coast JC)
    Pitoitua, Ropati DL 6-7 240 Fr. Spanaway, Wash. (Clover Park)
    Selby, Scott WR 6-5 215 Fr. Castle Rock, Wash. (Castle Rock)
    Stevens, Paul LB 6-4 225 Fr. Lakewood, Wash. (Clover Park)
  • Tagged: Florida State, Ohio State, Idaho, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington State, UCLA, Hawaii, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico

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