Lindy's Likes Cougars

June 21, 2002

PULLMAN, Wash. --- Another college football preview magazine has included Washington State among its preseason top 25. Lindy's tabbed the Cougars No. 13 and expects the Pac-10 title to come down to the Nov. 23 Apple Cup in Pullman.

Lindy's featured several WSU gridders in the national player ratings, with Jason Gesser ranking No. 8 among quarterbacks, Mike Bush No. 16 at wide receiver, offensive guard Derrick Roche No. 4, defensive tackle Rien Long No. 12, and cornerback Marcus Trufant No. 8.

The publication also rated the top backfields, receiving corps, offensive and defensive lines, linebacking units, and defensive backfields. Lindy's picked the WSU offensive line No. 6, saying, 'none of the starters are well-known outside the Palouse, but the Cougs are unusually deep with quality linemen, including one, senior guard Derrick Roche, who could make a push for All-America honors.'

The defensive line also made the rankings, coming in at No. 7. 'The ends are nasty and way too fast. D.D. Acholonu and Isaac Brown each had 9.5 sacks last season as backups, so you know they have nothing on their minds but vroooming to the quarterback. Rien Long and Tai Tupai are returning starters at the tackle positions, big fellas who happily do the dirty work,' the magazine says.

Lindy's also gives a sneak peek at the 2003 NFL Draft and lists Trufant as the 33rd best prospect overall, which includes several juniors expected to enter after this season.

The magazine takes a shot at predicting at the 2002 All-Pac-10 team. Gesser, Roche, kicker Drew Dunning, Long, and Trufant are included on the first team, while Bush, sophomore offensive tackle Calvin Armstrong, junior offensive tackle Josh Parrish, and Acholonu are picked for the second team. They like Gesser to be the Pac-10's most valuable player.

Breaking down the Pac-10 by position, Lindy's writes that WSU has the best quarterbacks, offensive line, and defensive line, and is in the top half of the conference with receivers, defensive backs, and special teams.

The six-page Cougar preview praises two of the of the newest Cougars expected to contribute, running back Jermaine Green and wide receiver Devard Darling.

'If junior-college running back Jermaine Green is everything he teased at being in the spring, the Cougars may have their most prolific offense ever,' John Blanchette writes. 'This at a school where whatever football reputation has sprouted has been about prolific offense.'

Darling was pointed out for his excellent play in the spring.

'What's impressive is his strength. He can really separate from guys and he's starting to understand how to use his body a little more every day. He has the chance to be something special,' offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller said in the article.

WSU's games with Ohio State, Oregon, and Washington are listed as a few of the key conference contests. The Cougars open the season Aug. 31 in Seattle versus Nevada.

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