What's job one headed into WSU fall camp?

WHAT IS THE big topic on the fall camp to-do list of Paul Wulff? With fall drills ready to kick off on Aug. 7 out on the Palouse, Washington State's head man tackled that question...

When fall camp begins, job one will have to do with the front seven, said Wulff.

"Developing a consistent rotation with our defensive line is one of the key things," said Wulff. "We have a number of players to work with but the question is, who will emerge -- who can play as a backup and not miss a beat. I feel the same in settling the linebacker spot. We've got some guys there, the raw talent is there, and now it's a matter of doing it. And the front seven I think will evolve, we just need to get them some experience."

The d-line starters on the post spring depth chart are DTs Anthony Laurenzi and Kalafitoni Pole, and DEs Travis Long and Ian Knight. Backups at defensive tackle include Brandon Rankin, Justin Clayton, Xavier Cooper and Steven Hoffart. The DE backups include Jordan Pu'u-Robinson, Skylar Stormo and Adam Coerper.

At linebacker, the biggest fall camp battle appears to be at MIK, with Mike Ledgerwood and C.J. Mizell coming out of the spring at 1-2. Other potential playmakers on the outside include Darryl Monroe, Darren Markle and Eric Oertel. The starting WIL is Alex Hoffman-Ellis, the strongside starter is Sekope Kaufusi.

"What's nice on D is you have two linebackers (Ledgerwood, Hoffman-Ellis) and one d-lineman (Rankin) and that's it as far as seniors -- our D is going to be good for the years to come," said Wulff.

THE NEXT logical step for the Cougars this year is to get some wins. In the second half of 2010, they knocked off Oregon State and were in position to pull off upsets in other games.

"Now, any given Saturday we can win," said Wulff. "We've built it back up to that point and we have a program that is going to be competitive. All the hard work is starting to pay off. But it's still a youthful team, whatever they do this year is going to improve next year."

Most in the media aren't convinced, pointing to recent seasons as the predicted reason WSU will struggle this coming year. The Sporting News pre-season forecast has the Cougs rated No. 93. But you won't hear much of an argument from Wulff.

"That's fine. I'm one of those guys who thinks we haven't done enough to prove otherwise -- yet. That's fine with me, our goal is to move our team to a high level of performance. Those kinds of things will take care of themselves down the road," said Wulff.

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