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Thu., March 22, 2012, 1:35 a.m.

Spring position preview: Defensive backs

WSU defensive back Damante Horton, intercepting a ball against Oregon State two weeks ago, has been a bright spot for the Cougars defense. (Christopher Anderson)
WSU defensive back Damante Horton, intercepting a ball against Oregon State two weeks ago, has been a bright spot for the Cougars defense. (Christopher Anderson)

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- Our spring position previews continue with a look at WSU's defensive backfield.

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The players: (corners) redshirt seniors Daniel Simmons, Travion Smith, redshirt junior Nolan Washington, redshirt sophomores Tracy Clark, Brandon Golden, junior Damante Horton, redshirt freshman Spencer Waseem, (safeties) redshirt seniors Kyle McCartney, Tyree Toomer, junior Deone Bucannon, redshirt juniors Anthony Carpenter, Casey Locker, redshirt sophomores Tyrone Duckett, Mitchell Peterson, Matthew Simmons, sophomores Jordan Simone, Jack Wilson, redshirt freshman Max Gama, (DB) sophomore Mike McAdie

The outlook: WSU did not lose a single defensive back off its depth chart from last season, so this is by far the team's most experienced position. But again, we'll have to wait until the players see the practice field before we know who all is healthy and available -- Bucannon and Simmons both had ankle issues toward the end of last season, for example. Horton emerged as the team's best cover corner last season, intercepting a pass in four consecutive games and returning one of them for a touchdown. Bucannon, Toomer, Washington, Horton and Simmons bring starting experience. A big hitter like Locker could factor into Mike Breske's blitz package.

The gist: This may be the one area where the Cougars don't have to worry about building depth, so the spring could be more about honing skills and getting everyone on the same page with Breske's system. But since it's somewhat of a mystery whether any of these guys will be limited by injuries -- as with any other position -- it's hard to say what the Cougars really have until we see them on the field. Regardless, WSU will have solid numbers here come fall. And if any of their depth-chart guys are limited in spring for any reason, maybe that gives the younger guys a chance to make a name for themselves with some first or second-team repetitions.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple




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