Numbers explain where Cougs been, going

THE WIN OVER Oregon State two weeks ago was the most tangible evidence that WSU's football program has turned the corner. But a close look at the depth chart truly illustrates why the future is bright and why the past has been so bleak.

An in-season look at the number of letters won in the Cougars' two deeps totaled 39. For perspective, consider that no other Pac-10 team had less than 54.

As a general rule in the world of staying competitive in a major football conference, the number of letters won in a school's two-deeps should never drop below the mid- to high-50s. Even in down years an established program should always have 50-plus letters won in the two-deeps on Day One.

Counting letters won in the two-deeps is not an exact science because of week-to-week injuries, exclusion of special teams, and other roster vagaries, but it's a pretty good barometer of where things stand.

In 2011, Washington State's experience will jump markedly, due to the huge number of first-year Cougars in the two-deeps this season.

Indeed, of the 60 Cougars to see the field in this year's opener at Oklahoma State, 24 were making their debuts in crimson. That's 40 percent of the team. Season-to-date, the Cougars have played 10 true freshmen and 10 second-year freshmen.

Comparing the numbers recently in the two-deeps across the Pac-10 shows in stark terms just how steep a hill WSU has been climbing.

Pac-10 letters won in the two-deeps:
Washington State – 39
23 on offense, 16 on defense

Arizona State – 54
19 on offense, 35 on defense

Washington – 60
39 on offense, 31 on defense

Arizona – 63
27 on defense, 36 on offense

UCLA – 64
33 on offense, 31 on defense

Oregon – 64
30 on offense, 34 on defense

34 on offense, 34 on defense

Oregon State – 71
38 on offense, 33 on defense

Stanford – 71
35 on offense, 36 on defense

Cal – 72
33 on offense, 39 on defense

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