USATodaySports/Snook

Just how young are the Cougs?

THE TALK ALL WEEK around Seattle in print and over the airwaves has been about how young the Huskies are – but the Cougs are not exactly what you would call grizzled veterans. Washington State is expected to start 11 players in the Apple Cup who are freshmen or sophomores.

Forget the official depth chart, that's just a guide when it comes to a Mike Leach team.  

By one count there are 52 freshmen and 24 sophomores on the roster on the Husky roster.  Washington State, meanwhile, has 53 freshmen and 26 sophomores. But many teams can always claim a large number here when it comes to youth.

Plus, you say; ‘That tally for both teams includes scout teamers, walk ons, scholie players well down the (actual) depth charts. What about the starters?’

There are six freshmen or sophomores on offense for WSU we project to line up on the Cougs’ opening snap on Friday (12:30 p.m., Fox).

They are Y Kyle Sweet, LT Andre Dillard, RT Cole Madison, H Robert Lewis, RB Gerard Wicks and no matter who starts at quarterback between Luke Falk and Peyton Bender, he’ll be a young ‘un too.

On defense, there are three: sophomore MIKE Peyton Pelluer, CB Darrien Molton and CB Marcellus Pippins. 

That gives you nine starters on offense/defense, a significant number. 

Add in both specialists, both punter Zach Charme and kicker Erik Powell, and you have a total of 11 starters.

The Huskies are a young team, no doubt about it. But the Cougs have a lot of youthful starters, too.

And when one further considers the number of additional WSU freshmen and sophomores not starting but playing significant turns and making a lot of plays -- guys like DL Hercules Mata'afa, DL Daniel Ekuale, N/S Isaac Dotson, RUSH/LB Frankie Luvu, RUSH/LB Chandler Leniu, DB Logan Tago, CB Kirkland Parker and CB Charleston White come to mind on defense alone -- Cougar fans are headed into the Apple Cup with a smile on their face that belongs to next year, too.

NOTABLE NOTE:
There might effectively end up being four freshmen/sophomore starters on defense in the Apple Cup if the Cougs play Dotson as much as they did last week. But for our purposes here we are projecting Parker Henry, a fourth-year junior former walk on, to get the start at nickel.


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