Cougars elect four seniors as 2005 team captains

<b>WASHINGTON STATE players took to the polling place and elected four team captains for the 2005 season -- seniors Will Derting, Troy Bienemann, Jerome Harrison and Kyle Basler.

"We are very pleased with these four young men," Doba said. "They are all excellent leaders and genuinely good people. Their teammates voted and elected four great guys to lead us through next year."

Will Derting was voted captain for the second straight year while Bienemann, Harrison and Basler take on the leadership roles for the first time.

Derting, (6-0, 228-pounds) tallied 93 tackles in 2004, including 11.5 behind the line of scrimmage with 3.5 sacks. The Okanogan, Wash., native was recently named to the 2005 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List following an '04 campaign that saw him earn second team All-Pac-10 honors despite a preseason wrist injury that forced him to play the season in a cast. He is expected to be fully recovered well before the season begins.

Troy Bienemann, long established as a top Cougar target, played most of the season with a stubborn shin injury suffered during Week 4. He still managed 26 receptions for 288 yards. Bienemann earned first team Pac-10 All-Academic honors with the highest GPA of any first team member; a 3.75. He was also named to the CoSIDA District VIII academic first team in 2004.

"Earning the respect of the guys you are out there with all year is every player's goal," Bienemann said. "To know your teammates trust you as a leader is that much more special. It's a tremendous honor."

Quarterback Josh Swogger, a sophomore captain last season and who will be starting under center when the Cougs open fall camp, was not named a captain for 2005. The 6-5, 245-pound rocket armed quarterback was held out of contact this spring as a broken foot that cut short his '04 campaign continues to mend. But Bienemann said Swogger is a team captain this year in his eyes, and then some.

"It's still (Josh's) team," Bienemann is quoted as saying in The Spokesman-Review. "It's still his offense. He's still the leader and, as far as I'm concerned, I'm still under him. He's a go-to guy."

Jerome Harrison used the spring sessions to take his game to another level. The premier running back turned a 50-yard plus run into a daily event during the spring practices. In four scrimmages, the Kalamazzo, Mich., native carried the ball 37 times and piled up 302 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He averaged 8.16 yards a carry.

The 6-0, 208-pounder averaged 81.8 yards per game on 174 carries for 900 yards -- with all but 71 yards of the total coming in the season's final seven games. Harrison set a program best 247 yards on 42 carries in a win over UCLA last year.

Kyle Basler (6-3, 238) is averaging 42.7 yards for his career. The 2004 honorable mention All- Pac-10 honoree boomed a historic 87-yard punt against Arizona, the longest in WSU history and the second longest in Pac-10 history. Basler was twice named Pac-10 Player of the Week last season for performances against New Mexico and Arizona. He was also named co-MVP of the 2003 Holiday Bowl when WSU defeated No. 5 Texas.

"I am truly honored that my teammates elected me," Basler said. "It is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life."

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