Slim hope for Pelluer’s return? Perhaps. For now, WSU has to move on and fill that MLB role

Nate DeRider? Isaac Dotson? Inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson discusses WSU’s plans to fill the void left by the injury to MLB Peyton Pelluer

Washington State’s defense is moving on and prepping to play Nevada this weekend without middle linebacker Peyton Pelluer, who broke a bone in his foot last week against Oregon State.

However, while Pelluer and his family indicated Monday that the linebacker’s injury is season-ending, it might not be all that cut-and-dried yet.

“There’s a lot of factors. Nothing has been decided on Pelluer yet out of respect for his situation,” inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson said Tuesday afternoon, adding that he’ll have more to say about Pelluer’s impact on the program “when his career is officially over.”

That said, Pelluer is still out of commission for an indeterminate number of games. His replacement will likely come in the form of a mixture of fifth-year seniors Nate DeRider and Isaac Dotson.

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DeRider is listed as the backup middle linebacker, while Dotson has started at will linebacker all season, but both guys are capable of playing both spots.

“All my guys here who’ve played – the older guys – can play multiple positions,” Wilson said.

DeRider has played in 28 games for WSU, but has never started a game, still Wilson said the team is confident in his ability to step into the middle linebacker role.

“He’s played a lot of football. He’s played a ton of reps for us here and there, and on special teams,” Wilson said. “He’s certainly prepared to be on the field. In all three games, he’s been productive when he’s been in, and last year, he was productive in the Cal game. We had planned all along to get him more into the game flow as we got through the games this season so it’s exciting to get him on the field.”

Another option is to move the versatile, experienced Dotson to middle linebacker in some packages and have redshirt freshman Jahad Woods play will linebacker, something the Cougars did in a lot in the second half against Oregon State last week. Woods finished with four tackles in WSU’s win.

Woods (6-foot, 210 pounds) redshirted last season but worked his way onto the depth chart as Dotson’s backup at will linebacker this year, and the coaches say his potential is limitless.

“He’s a really athletic guy, he’s really good in pass coverage and has fast feet and…

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