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Monday, March 7, 2011
Cougars see reason for hope at start of spring

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

A quick glance at the Washington State depth chart yields something it hasn't over the previous three years. A "maybe."

Paul Wulff probably needs a bowl game to coach into his fifth season, which means he needs to exceed in 2011 the five total wins he's produced in the previous three. But that stark thought ends with that surprising "maybe."

Wulff talks about how winning teams need talent, experience, leadership and chemistry, and -- for the first time -- he sees it with his Cougars.

"As those things start to grow and age -- like a fine wine -- your team is going to start winning football games," he said. "I think this team is going to win football games and I think we can compete for a bowl game, without question... I think we are going to surprise a lot of people."

Where's the hope for a team that went 2-10 in 2010? Consider:
The big question for the Cougars is the trenches: Both groups of linemen struggled last year. WSU couldn't run or stop the run, and the offensive line yielded 51 sacks, second most in the nation. If the Cougars are merely adequate up front, they have a good shot at making a run at six wins and getting to a bowl game.

The Cougars hold their first spring practice this afternoon. Here are some notes from Wulff. (Note: If your favorite backup from last fall is not listed, it doesn't mean he's not in the mix.)