Linebacker looks wide open this spring at WSU

WASHINGTON STATE linebackers coach Ken Wilson knows what he has in WIL Jeremiah Allison and MIK Peyton Pelluer. Beyond that duo, it’s something of a free for all here in the early days of spring.

“Experience-wise, we’re just trying to get a feel for what we’ve got there -- Jeremiah, he’s a proven guy. And obviously Peyton has a few starts underneath his belt now. Behind those guys, we’ve got to see what we’ve got. I think it’s wide open.”

Through two padless practices and as expected, Pelluer and Allison have been getting the majority of the one reps at the MIK and WIL, respectively. But there are three second-year Cougs among those capable of spurring on the competition.

“Behind them it’s basically a free for all - we’re just trying to play football and see how those guys do. Whether anybody can push those two, hopefully we’ll have a good idea by the end of spring. I think Frankie Luvu has a lot of potential, and obviously Greg Hoyd and Chandler Leniu had great seasons last year on the scout team,” said Wilson.

Luvu is at the WIL this spring. Hoyd (pictured above) and Leniu are at the MIK.

“Hoyd and Leniu both came out of good high school programs in Southern California, they now how to win and how to play football -- I’ve got to get them in the right techniques but I’m happy that they’re very physical guys,” said Wilson. “They don’t back down from anything out there and I’m excited about that.

“Frankie, we know what we’ve got with him, we had him play special teams last year. I’m just trying to teach him how to play linebacker day-in and day-out and in (ways we want to utilize him). He’s got a little more of a learning curve than Hoyd and Leniu because he wasn’t as much of a 'live' linebacker last year.”

As mentioned in the article lined at the bottom of this story, Wilson said Kyle Newsom has been doing some good, consistent things at the WIL. Meanwhile, the SAM spot from this chair holds the most question marks this spring. Paris Taylor, Ivan McLennan -- who has been alternating the first two days between SAM and BUCK -- and Parker Henry are lining up here. (Nate Derider is at the MIK).

At the BUCK, you’ve got Kache Palacio, Dylan Hanser, McLennan along with Reggie Coates.

Wilson and new outside linebackers coach Roy Manning figure to be doing a good deal of teaching along with the installation of defensive tweaks under new d-coordinator Alex Grinch. But there’s also a fine line, particularly when you’re talking about a position where success is predicated upon strong read and react skills.

“We want to play fast, energetic, high-energy football -- we don’t want to bog them down with a bunch of stuff,” said Wilson. “We want them out there going as fast as they can possibly go. We tell them we want no hesitation. If they make mistakes we (revisit) that, but don’t ever be hesitating. We’re trying to come out of spring with a new energy and a bunch of guys that are just having a great time playing football.”

NOTABLE NOTE:
Aaron Porter (6-3, 230); Logan Tago (6-4, 225) and Nnamdi Oguayo (6-4, 225) arrive in the summer. Porter, a JUCO transfer and UCLA bounceback is versatile enough to play any of the four linebacker spots. Tago could play either linebacker, safety or something else while Oguayo projects as a BUCK.

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