WSU Week 1 starting lineup coming into focus

THE OFFICIAL WSU DEPTH CHART for Portland State won't be released until next week -- and even then Mike Leach has made clear that chart, in his mind, often changes day by day. But Washington State will have held 18 practice sessions and a walk though by the time Saturday rolls around. To our eye, here's how things are shaping up.

Barring something unexpected, eight days before Washington State's season opener on Sept. 5, we see the Cougs' Week 1 starting lineup on offense and defense shaping up this way:

QB: Luke Falk
RB: Gerard Wicks
(but Jamal Morrow and Keith Harrington will also get good number of turns)
LT: Joe Dahl
LG: Gunnar Eklund
C: Riley Sorenson
RG: Eduardo Middleton
(who by the way made it clear from the jump in fall camp he would not be challenged, he's been playing very well)
RT: Cole Madison (we're hearing there's no cause for concern that he sat out Wednesday's session)
X: Dom Williams (but Kyrin Priester will certainly play too)
Y: River Cracraft
H: Robert Lewis
Z: Gabe Marks (but Tavares Martin will certainly play too)
WR nugget: Leach regularly rotates eight receivers in games. Inside men Tyler Baker and John Thompson figure to be in the discussion, as do other wideouts like C.J. Dimry, Daniel Lilienthal and, if he doesn't redshirt, Kyle Sweet.

DE: Darryl Paulo
NT: Daniel Ekuale
DT: Destiny Vaeao
RUSH: Kache Palacio

DL nugget: Don't know that the Cougs have a "star" here on the d-line. And generating enough of a consistent pass rush remains a top concern from our vantage point. But what they do have is more depth than last year, which should lead to more rotational flexibility. Depth-wise, at the d-end spot you've got Jeremiah Mitchell and Reggie Coates. At the nose, Robert Barber has been locked in a battle with Ekuale for the starting job according to Joe Salave'a. At DT is Hercules Mata'afa, and he is going to be a good one before it's all said and done. Meanwhile at the Rush, Ivan McLennan has been sharing first-team reps with Palacio, and Palacio has 19 WSU starts to his credit. By the way, for those who may have been wondering about DT Ngalu Tapa. He has been getting some time with the 2s but has not yet mounted a significant challenge in our eyes. But we're also not discounting the possibility he does so at some point. It's a long season.
WIL: Jeremiah Allison
MIK: Peyton Pelluer
NICKEL: Isaac Dotson
CB: Charleston White
S: Taylor Taliulu
S: Shalom Luani
CB: Darrien Molton (pictured above)

Still to come on CF.C, our look at the special teams.

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