FROM PULLMAN — The next in our series of spring position previews takes a look at the linebackers. This could get tricky. Read on.
The players: seniors Phillip Brandt, John Taylor Altomare, redshirt junior Darren Markle, redshirt sophomores Anthony DeMatteo, Curtiz Selz, sophomores Chester Su'a (pictured above), Cyrus Coen, redshirt freshmen Darryl Monroe, Tana Pritchard
The outlook: This position obviously took a huge hit with the dismissals of C.J. Mizell and Sekope Kaufusi, as well as the departure of Louis Bland. There are nine linebackers listed on WSU's spring roster. Three of them were not here last season. We don't know about the health of Monroe, who tore an Achilles early last season. Altomare is listed as a DE/LB and is a senior in his first season at WSU, which makes me wonder if he might be expected to contribute right away. Or maybe he was just added for depth. Su'a played well in a couple of starts last season. Markle is a name to keep in mind. Coen is the only player on the spring roster who was even on WSU's depth chart when last season ended.
The gist: I'd expect there to be a lot of moving parts this spring. Lots of guys getting looked at. Leach said he has some good bodies at this spot. But with Mike Breske installing his 3-4 base, the line between linebacker and defensive end might blur a bit. And since WSU doesn't return any starting linebackers, there really are four spots that seem up for grabs. It's also worth noting that Breske is very high on the five linebackers the team signed in February who will be here in the fall.