LB Will Derting

2004 Statistics

Coach: Bill Doba
15-9, 2 years
2004 Record: 5-6
at New Mexico WON 21-17
at Arizona WON 20-19
at Oregon State LOST 19-38
at UCLA WON 31-29
at Arizona State LOST 28-45

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

It was a tough year in Pullman. State has grown accustomed to winning seasons and bowl games - including three straight 10-win seasons from 2001-2003 - so a 5-6 mark was a disappointment. Four consecutive losses in the middle of the season - three of them at home - ruined their bowl chances, and the Cougars hadn't lost two in a row since 2000. In the middle of that losing streak, starting quarterback Josh Swogger broke his ankle and was lost for the season. Good programs can react well to such adversity, so the jury is still out on the resilience issue. Accordingly, we are waiting for this year's results until any trends here are confirmed. With so many of the quality parts back, we expect a good verdict to come forth.

For this to be a better year, the defense has to coordinate its efforts, a sure eventuality with eight of the 11 have extensive starting experienced. Using this advantage to cut down on allowing big plays will be a huge measuring stick. Watch the big plays come down and the wins increase. On offense - with two experienced quarterbacks, their top (10) pass catchers, and an emerging star at running back all returning - there's good reason to think things will be truly improved here, too. It all equals a better team performance, so pick out your ball now, Wazzu is likely going bowling.

The schedule is set up nicely for Washington State to start out 3-0 heading in Pac-10 Conference play, and the conference isn't loaded, other than Southern Cal, of course. State can easily improve its results as only two Pac Ten teams make our top 25. Only USC is a sure loss, so this will be a good school to follow if you like to watch this much potential simultaneously arch for optimal results.

Projected 2005 record: 6-5
QB - 3.5 DL - 3
RB - 3 LB - 3.5
WR - 4 DB - 2
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Alex Brink, 194-97-5, 1305 yds., 7 TD

Rushing: Jerome Harrison, 174 att., 900 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Jason Hill, 45 rec., 1007 yds., 12 TD

Scoring: Jason Hill, 12 TD, 72 pts.

Punting: Kyle Basler, 78 punts, 43.1 avg.

Kicking: Loren Langley, 5-11 FG, 30-32 PAT, 45 pts.

Tackles: Will Derting, 93 tot., 54 solo

Sacks: Mkristo Bruce, 6.5 sacks

Interceptions: Alex Teems, 2 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Tyron Brackenridge, 14 ret., 22.2 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Michael Bumpus, 34 ret., 11.5 avg., 2 TD


WR Jason Hill
OFFENSE: Chris Bruhn-RB, Calvin Armstrong-OT, Patrick Afif-OG, Sam Lightbody-OT
DEFENSE: Steve Cook-DT, Pat Bennett-WLB, Karl Paymah-CB, Jeremy Bohannon-SS, Hamza Abdullah-FS

There will be stiff competition for the starting job, but not because the Cougars lack experience. Josh Swogger started the first six games of 2004, and played very well. With exceptional size and a tremendous arm, Swogger threw 13 TDs and was picked off just seven times before breaking a bone in his ankle. That paved the way for Alex Brink, who started the final five games. Brink has better mobility than Swogger, and although he didn't have the touchdown numbers of Swogger (only seven), he was intercepted just five times, and had a higher completion percentage. Swogger has the inside track to the starting job because of his maturity, plus the respect he has from his teammates. He was voted a captain as a sophomore in 2003. Brink earned a chance at the job with his performance, though.

Running Back
Jerome Harrison seized his initial opportunity, finishing with 900 yards, despite starting just five games. He's not very big, but he's got great speed and quickness, along with the school's record for most attempts in a game (42 for 247 yards vs. UCLA, 11/6/04) to prove his durability. Kevin McCall will be the other backup, if available. He's bigger and more powerful than Harrison, but has legal problems that have him presently suspended, pending the outcome of the case. Jed Collins will be the lead blocker when the Cougars use a FB. A former linebacker, he combines his strength with great hands, making him a pass-catching threat foes cannot ignore. A pair of true freshmen - Dwight Tardy and DeMaundray Woolridge - is expected to contribute as Thompson has darted for the pro's. The Cougars will improve after finishing 84th in the country in rushing offense (128.0 yards per game), and how much will speak volumes for where the team can expect to finish. If they throw to the RBs a bit more, defenses' ability to predict the play-call will go down, improving this unit's overall impact.

For years, the Cougars have depended on their passing game to win. With two experienced quarterbacks and their top six receivers from a year ago back, State will once again be a pass-oriented team (meaning about 50% of their plays are throws). All-conference Jason Hill has developed into one of the nation's top receivers, and is the Cougars' main deep threat (22.4 per his 45 catches). Chris Jordan gives the quarterbacks a bigger target on the opposite side of Hill. Michael Bumpus was a freshman all-American, and he'll work out of the slot. Beyond the top three, Trandon Harvey, Marty Martin and Greg Prator add depth that few teams in the country can boast. All three caught at least 10 passes in '04, and should see their production increase. Hill accounted for more than half of the TDs by this corps, so if they don't spread the wealth, this dimension, too, will be predictable, and therefore stoppable. Hill is great, but without the others being role players, his production won't be as impacting.

Tight End
Troy Bienemann is another valuable weapon. Only Hill and Bumpus caught more passes. Also a solid blocker, Bienemann has started 32 of the Cougars' last 34 games. Should something happen to Bienemann, there are three quality backups in waiting. Cody Boyd is the biggest target, and Jesse Taylor started two games a year ago. Ben Woodard returns after sitting out 2004 with an injury, so expect this dimension to help stabilize the tackle situation (see below).

Offensive Line
It's never easy replacing both tackles, but the other three starters return. Bobby Byrd shifts from left guard to the left tackle spot, and he's got the height and quickness to excel there. Junior Charles Harris, who started one game, is slotted to start at right tackle. He, too, has great size. Ex-track man Nick Mihlhauser is a third-year starter who secures a strong (but svelte) inside presence as their senior leader in the middle (C). Guard Norvell Holmes sat out '03 (back), but returned to have a solid 2004, starting seven times. The left guard position is up for grabs, with Riley Fitt-Chappell the early favorite. This crew has to upgrade WSU's pass protection - 32 sacks allowed are just too many for the offense to ever find its feet. Easy games to start mean this crew will gel by conference play.

Generally one of the nation's top offenses, Washington State fell off last campaign. The Cougars' 25.0 points per game ranked them 58th in the country (down from 31st). No doubt, losing Swogger affected offensive flow, but the excuses will be poorly received if they persist this time. Finding stability at tackle will be crucial, but having nine starters back, including Swogger, Brink and Harrison, is great news. In addition, of the 14 players who caught passes last year, 11 return. There is too much experience for the Cougars not to show drastic improvement. Once the QB remains the same from week to week, then the other elements can learn to revolve around whoever gets the nod, and then small adjustments can actually mean more than just trying to get back to "square one". Harrison's health is vital.


C Nick Mihlhauser


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Josh Swogger-Jr Alex Brink-So
RB Jerome Harrison-Sr Brandon Asuega-Stark-Sr / Jed Collins-So
SB Michael Bumpus-So (PR) Marty Martin-Sr
WR Jason Hill-Jr Greg Prator-Sr
WR Chris Jordan-Jr Trandon Harvey-Sr
TE Troy Bienemann-Sr Jesse Taylor-Jr / Cody Boyd-Jr
OT Bobby Byrd-So Spencer Hollison-Jr
OG Sean O'Connor-Jr Eddie Vickers-Fr
C Nick Mihlhauser-Sr Josh Duin-Jr
OG Norvell Holmes-Sr Riley Fitt-Chappell-Sr
OT Charles Harris-Jr Andy Roof-Fr
K Graham Siderius-Sr Loren Langley-So



Defensive Line
Cougar fans are happy here. DEs Mkristo Bruce and Adam Braidwood started all 11 tilts. Both have the size and speed that assures they will again combine for at least 23 TFLs and three forced fumbles - foes can't double-team both, eh. Ex-TE Aaron Johnson will slide back inside. He is the bull of the line, and a big reason why the Cougars were decent against the run (39th nationally). Johnson will line up next to ex-roundballer Ropati Pitoitua, who started four games and is a great pass rusher from his DT position. Cook will be missed, but expect production in the middle to be strong with the ends distracting the linemen. The Cougars have a load of depth, but the inside help isn't as big as the starters.

So, if you like the line, the triple-D LBs are even better. Senior Will Derting is the star of the defense. Entering his third year as a starter in the middle, Derting is the D's biggest playmaker and can stop the rush or the passer, as well as defend the pass (dislocated wrist should be ready by fall). Scott Davis also returns, and he's a lot like Derting in that both lay the pass as well as the run (though his four forced fumbles beats Derting's two). Ex-RB Steve Dildine (4.4 speed) returns after starting four games, so his upside is still/about to be seen to make this one of the strong units in the land. The Cougars are just as excited about their young linebackers. Only Dildine stands over 6', so size issues with big TEs will pose problems.

Defensive Back
Only one starter is back from 2004, and that may not be so bad. The Cougars were eighth in the Pac-10 against the pass (86th nationally), so cleaning house will be a good thing. Alex Teems doesn't have great size, but his speed allows him to stay with most receivers. The other cornerback spot is open, and there are qualified candidates galore so that depth exists. Both safety spots will be taken by newcomers. Husain Abdullah will succeed his amazing brother Hamza, so this lineage gives promise to the outcome here. Eric Frampton represents the youth that WSU's safety spots reflect, as no starts have been punched by any. Look out for upstart Nevada's (marginally) big passing game early, but luckily the big throwers come in later.

Four teams put 38 or more points on Wazzu, so the scoring defense is the primary area of focus. More than anything, it was big plays that hurt them. Despite heavy losses in the secondary, there are big-time playmakers remaining in all units. The Cougars will definitely be strong at stopping the run, so the maturation of the secondary will determine the success of the entire team. Once the run is stuffed, teams will immediately challenge the secondary until it can prove its worth. 21 forced fumbles reflects the scrappy mentality that already pervades, regardless, so the impetus of spirit is there to rally around, it just has to be tapped. WSU allowed foes a combined 89 first-quarter points, and 92 in the fourth; this pattern shows how State was initially out of many games, or blew them late. With only three games decided by more than one score (and only one of those was a win), intangibles such as this can conceivably swing multiple games their way. Stemming even 25% of the "big plays" would make what presently seem like marginal efforts here into stellar ones.


LB Scott Davis


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Mkristo Bruce-Jr Adam West-Sr
DT Aaron Johnson-So Bryan Olson-Sr
DT Ropati Pitoitua-So Odell Howard-Jr
DE Adam Braidwood-Sr Paul Stevens-So
SLB Scott Davis-Jr Brian Skjei-So
MLB Will Derting-Sr Chris Baltzer-Jr
WLB Steve Dildine-Jr Alexis Alexander-Fr
CB Wally Dada-Sr Tyron Brackenridge-Sr
CB Alex Teems-Sr Don Turner-Jr
SS Eric Frampton-Jr Christian Bass-So
FS Husain Abdullah-So Jeff Mui-So
P Kyle Basler-Sr Graham Siderius-Sr




Loren Langley had a career long of 45 yards in prep. Now, the worry his 45% conversion rate sparks is only trumped by how he went 1-of-3 from the 20-29 yard range. Graham Siderius has a long of 54, and is also an ex-QB, so his call for the start here is understood. Foes' efforts here will again be held to under 20 per return.

Kyle Basler is entering his fourth year as the starter, and he's one of the country's best (15th-rated). Basler averaged 43+ yards per, but WSU's was blocked four times altogether. Net results, too, were weaker than what Basler's average should have produced, so just having a good boot won't always cure Wazzu's field-position woes. Expect better coverage as the D is loaded with hungry back-seven candidates.

Return Game
Michael Bumpus' punt return ability is part of what made him a freshman all-American. He will come close to 2004's 11+, and is good, too, for another two scores. Tyron Brackenridge and Jerome Harrison are back to handle the kickoff return duties. As good as Bumpus and Brackenridge were, the Cougars will take a look at JUCO-transfer (RB) Lorenzo Bursey.