Predicting WSU’s defensive depth chart after a week of fall camp

As the Cougars prepare for their first fall scrimmage Friday night, the battle for backup spots provides the most intrigue on the defensive side of the ball.

After a week of camp in Lewiston, Washington State will hold its first fall scrimmage Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Martin Stadium.

Here’s how the depth chart could look on the defensive side of things in this first fall scrimmage. At spots where there have been multiple people splitting reps with the second team, I’ve jotted down a three-deep instead of a two-deep.

The Cougars’ linebackers will be the backbone of the defense this year, and the starters at most of the positions except for nickelback are probably set.

But it’s at the backup spots that things start to get interesting. WSU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has always maintained that he would like to rotate guys throughout a game as much as possible as long as he’s confident there won’t be a dropoff in the level of play.


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Questions remain as to whether the Cougars have the quality, experienced depth they need to truly rotate players evenly on defense this year.

That’s one reason why the Cougars have been experimenting with some younger guys in the two-deep through the first week of camp.

“We try to be more conscious of mixing the units than we’ve done in the past,” Grinch said after Wednesday’s practice. “Maybe that speaks to having some guys to mix in, but also, being able to live with the headache if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do. There’s only one way for them to improve. … We’ve got to find out if some of these guys can help us this year.”

DEFENSIVE LINE

E: #30 Nnamdi Oguayo (6-3, 237 pounds, rs-so.); #55 Derek Moore (6-1, 248 pounds, so.); #45 Logan Tago (6-3, 247 pounds, jr.)

N: #90 Dan Ekuale (6-3, 305 pounds, rs-sr.); #99 Garrett McBroom (6-3, 281 pounds, rs-sr.); #97 Hunter Mattox (6-3, 285 pounds, rs-so.)

T: #50 Hercules Mata’afa (6-2, 252 pounds, rs-jr.); #52 Kingston Fernandez (6-2, 276 pounds, rs-jr.) #89 Nick Begg (6-5, 264 pounds, rs-jr.); #44 Tristan Brock (6-0, 257 pounds, rs-so.)

Dan Ekuale has transformed his body this offseason. He’s huge, but has somehow managed to maintain his athleticism and moves deceptively well for a big man. The Cougs need to keep him healthy because he’s far and…

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