2015 Cougs almost entirely Leach's team

AT THE END of the day, or at least in an ideal world, a college football coach is judged by how he fares once his own recruits are in place. It generally takes five years to have a roster of just "his guys." Mike Leach is about a year ahead of schedule. As he enters his fourth season at Washington State, Leach's roster includes but two athletes who signed their letters of intent with Paul Wulff.

Defensive lineman Darryl Paulo and wideout Dom Williams (pictured above) are the last scholarship players on the Cougars who trace back to the Wulff regime.

There are three other 2015 players who came to Pullman as walk ons invited by Wulff -- offensive linemen Gunnar Eklund, Moritz Christ and Montana transfer Joe Dahl. Eklund and Dahl earned scholarships under Leach but in terms of regular LOI Day signees, Paulo and Williams are the last ties to Wulff's staff.

As recently as December, the list of holdovers for 2015 also was expected to include one-time starting linebackers Darryl Monroe and Tana Pritchard, but they both transferred over the offseason. Monroe will play at Akron this season and Pritchard is now a guard on the basketball team at NAIA Southeastern University in Florida.

Last season the Cougars had 15 players remaining from Wulff's last two recruiting classes, in 2010 and 2011. By way of comparison to illustrate the accelerated roster turnover at WSU, consider that Washington had 25 of its 2010 and 2011 signees on its 2014 roster.

The youth movement at WSU is captured nicely by this statistic: The Cougs featured a whopping 28 players who made their WSU debut last season, including 20 second-year- or true freshmen. Of those 28, 23 made at least one start.

Using two other Pac-12 teams to compare that number 28 with, UCLA and Arizona had 18 and 15 players, respectively, who made their debuts last season.

The Cougars' hefty number of newbies on the field last year helps explain at least in part the team's 3-9 record in 2014. Indeed, as legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes once opined, for each freshman you start plan on the same number of losses. The silver lining is that while the 2015 Cougars remain young, they now also have experience. Whether that translates into a winning record and a bowl berth this season remains to be seen.

But with every starter back on the offensive line, a defense that made strides this spring, and the cupboard now stocked nearly top to bottom with players hand-picked by Leach, could a resurgence be on the horizon?

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