Bill Doba Era Begins As WSU Opens 2003 Season In Seattle

Aug. 25, 2003

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WHO: WSU Cougars (0-0 overall) vs. Idaho Vandals (0-0 overall)
WHAT: 2003 Non-Conference Football, WSU from the Pacific-10, Idaho from the Sun Belt
WHEN: Saturday, August 30; Kickoff 7:30 p.m. PDT
WHERE: Seahawk Stadium (63,000, Field Turf), Seattle, Wash.
TV: FOX Sports Northwest live; WSU replay Sunday, Aug. 31, 10:00 a.m.

THE COACHES: WSU - Bill Doba (Ball State '62) is in his first season WSU's head coach (0-0) and in his first season as a head coach (0-0). IDAHO - The Vandals are coached by Tom Cable, who has an Idaho and career mark of 8-26 in three previous seasons since taking over at Idaho in 2000.

WSU VS. IDAHO: The Cougars and Vandals have been playing football games against each other since 1894...WSU has won 65 of the 85 games, Idaho 17, with three ties...Bill Doba is facing Idaho for the first time as a head coach, but in 14 years as an assistant WSU was 4-2 against Idaho...Tom Cable is 1-2 against WSU.

DOBA'S WSU ERA BEGINS: Bill Doba is considered a rookie head coach in collegiate circles, but he may well be one the most experienced rookie coaches in the history of college addition to 14 years as an assistant for former WSU head coach Mike Price, Doba served as an assistant at The Citadel (2 years), Purdue (4 years) and Indiana (6 years)...that is 26 years as a college assistant to go with 15 years in the high school arena...the latter includes 12 years as a high school head coach and three yeas as an all Doba has been a coach for the past 41 years...pretty good credentials for a 'rookie' college head coach.

2003 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Matt Kegel (4), FS Erik Coleman (27), Special Team Captain TBA. IDAHO: LB Patrick Liby (40), DT Brian Howard (3), P Ryan Downes (17), OT Jake Scott (74), WR Orlando Winston (14).

DOBA TURNS TO COUGARS FOR ASSISTANTS: When Bill Doba began assembling his new staff last December after taking over for Mike Price, he turned to three former Cougar players, a former head coach he worked for, and a Pac-10 offensive coordinator...four of the new coaches Doba brought to WSU have served as coordinators...his staff now includes five former Cougar players...he's a quick rundown:

1. Rob Akey, DC/line, joined WSU 1998, Weber State '88, came to WSU from N. Arizona, where he was DC;
2. Leon Burtnett, linebackers, joined WSU 2003, former Purdue head coach (1982-86) and an assistant for Indianapolis Colts, also on WSU staff 1971, DC at Wyoming, Purdue, Fresno State, Northern Louisiana, Arkansas State;
3. Ken Greene, secondary, joined WSU 2003, Washington State '77, came to WSU from Purdue, played professionally with St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers;
4. Mike Levenseller, OC/Receivers, joined WSU in 1992, Washington State '78, played professionally with Oakland, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Edmonton and Calgary;
5. Robin Pflugrad, tight ends/RC, joined WSU 2001, Portland State '80; came to WSU from N. Arizona, where he was OC;
6. Timm Rosenbach, quarterbacks, joined WSU 2003, Washington State '88; came from E. Washington, where he was OC, played professionally with Phoenix, New Orleans and Hamilton;
7. Kelly Skipper, running backs, joined WSU 2003, Fresno State '89, came to WSU from UCLA, where he was OC;
8. Mike Walker, defensive line, joined WSU 1997, Washington State '82, played professionally with Hamilton and Edmonton;
9. George Yarno, offensive line, joined WSU 2003, Washington State '79, also a WSU assistant 1991-94, OC at Idaho, 19956-97, played professionally with Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Houston and Green Bay.

SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: WSU has won eight of its last nine Pac-10 road games...WSU closed out the end of the 2000 season with a win at 2001 the Cougars defeated Arizona, Stanford and ASU on the road before a loss at Washington, while in 2002 WSU defeated California, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA in Pac-10 action.

KEGEL SHARP IN SCRIMMAGES: Fifth-year senior Matt Kegel has shown in three scrimmages why he is the starter replacing school record holder Jason Gesser...Kegel started out by going 14-for-14 in WSU's first the three scrimmages he is a combined 33-for-44 (.733) for 394 yards and three scored...he threw one interception in the second scrimmage...Kegel's scrimmage time with the first unit has been limited while the Cougar offensive coaches have given back-ups Josh Swogger, Chris Hurd and Alex Bring plenty of action to see who backs up Kegel.

SCORING STREAKS: WSU currently has three significant scoring streaks on the line:

  • The Cougars have scored in 211 consecutive Pacific-10 games, the longest active streak for any league team...the last time WSU was shut out in Pac-10 play was at Oregon State in 1975;

  • WSU has scored in 214 consecutive games since a 44-0 shutout at Ohio State in 1984...the streak is the fifth longest among D-I schools.

  • The Cougars have scored in 173 consecutive Martin Stadium home games since a 21-0 loss to Oregon State in Pullman in 1956.

    COUGS IN THE POLLS: The Cougars have not been ranked in pre-season polls this season, snapping a string of 28 consecutive weeks in the polls, during which time WSU won 20 games...WSU finished tenth in the final AP polls in both 2001 and 2002.

    COUGS 10-WIN SEASONS AMONG BEST: WSU is the only Pac-10 school with three 10-win seasons in the last 10 years (actually accomplished in the last six years)...WSU was 10-2 in 1997, 10-2 in 2001 and is currently 10-3...WSU is made its second Rose Bowl appearance in the last six years...UCLA is the only other Pac-10 team with two Rose Bowl appearances in the last 10 years...WSU and Washington (1981-82-84) are the only Pac-10 teams to ever post three 10-win seasons in a six-year span.

    BACK-TO-BACK 10-WIN SEASONS RARE IN PAC-10: WSU is one of just five Pac-10 teams to post back-to-back 10-win seasons since the 10-team league was formed: WSU 2001-02, Oregon 2000-01, UCLA twice, 1997-98 and 1987-88, Washington twice, 1990-91 and 1981-82, and USC, 1978-79.

    CALL THE COUGARS EXPERIENCED: True, the Cougars lost some marquee players off last year's Rose Bowl team, including QB Jason Gesser, CB Marcus Trufant and DL/Outland winner Rien Long...but WSU is anything short of experienced talent this year...consider these facts, based on the current three-deep chart of 73 players:

  • There are seven starters back on offense, eight on defense, plus one defensive starter from 2001;
  • The Offense has 24 letterwinners, the defense 23;
  • Offensive players have career 77 starts, the defense 107;
  • Offensive players have played in 367 games;
  • Defensive players have played in 482 games;
  • WSU receiving corps have played in 98 games;
  • WSU's offensive line have played in 150 games;
  • WSU's defensive tackles have played in 131 games;
  • WSU's defensive ends have played I n 84 games;
  • WSU's linebackers have played in 125 games;
  • WSU's secondary has played in 139 games;
  • WSU returns three-year placekicker Drew Dunning, who is nearing Jason Hanson's school record for points scored;
  • WSU returns last year's punter Kyle Basler, who averaged 41+ yards as a freshman.

    BROWN, ACHOLONU AMONG TFL/SACK LEADERS: WSU's senior defensive ends, Isaac Brown and D.D. Acholonu, both rank among the leaders at WSU in both tackles-for-losses and in sacks, and in yardage lost for both categories...while Brown started throughout the 2002 season, Acholonu will be starting his first game Saturday against Idaho.

    COUGS RETURN NINE PAC-10 ALL-STARS: WSU and Oregon both return nine members of last year's All-Pacific-10 teams (first team and honorable mention), while USC returns eight and UCLA seven...WSU's returnees include first team pick Calvin Armstrong and honorable mention honorees Kyle Basler, Eric Coleman, Isaac Brown, Devard Darling, Jason David, Drew Dunning, Jermaine Green and Jeremey Williams.

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS LIKES WSU'S ST: College Football News predicts WSU has the fifth best special team units in college football...they base their prediction on the basis of kicker Drew Dunning, punter Kyle Basler and return specialist Sammy Moore...Dunning, a senior, is closing in on Jason Hanson's (Detroit Lions) school scoring and kick-scoring records and scored 113 points last year...Basler, just a sophomore, averaged 41.1 yards last year and had 15 of his 50 kicks downed inside the 20 yard line...Moore led the Pac-10 in KO returns last year, averaging 25.6 yards...he had an 89-yard return against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

    WATCH THOSE NUMBERS: Several returning veterans from last year have switched their uniform numbers this season...among them are WR Sammy Moore (#3, was #20 last year), RB Jonathan Smith (#5, was #23), Adam Braidwood (#13, was #96).

    HONORS CANDIDATES: The Washington State roster features five players who have been included on preseason watch lists for major national awards:

    Drew Dunning (Lou Groza Award for the nation's top kicker, listed for the third straight year);
    Isaac Brown (Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award);
    Jason David (Jim Thorpe Award for the nation's top defensive back);
    Calvin Armstrong (Rotary Lombardi Award for the nation's top down lineman or linebacker);
    Jermaine Green (Doak Walker Award for the nation's top running back).

    COUGS 20-4 IN LAST TWO SEASONS: Since the start of the 2001 season, WSU has won 20 of 25 the 1929-1930-1931 seasons WSU went 21-3, including 10-2 (1929) and 9-1 (1930) seasons...WSU is currently fifth among D-I teams the past two years: Miami is 25-0, Oklahoma 23-4, Marshall and Texas 21-4, and WSU 20-5.

    O-LINE AVERAGES 302: The projected starters on WSU's offensive line weigh a combined 1,510 pounds and average 302 pounts...three of the starters weigh in at over 300 pounds...OLG Josh Parrish leads the way at 324 pounds, while ORT Sam Lightbody, at 6-9, is right behind him at 319 is OLT Calvin Armstrong at 311...the lightweights on the line are C Mike Shelford at 269 and ORG Nick Mihlhauser at 287...Billy Knotts, at 282, was the projected starter at ORG, but suffered a broken thumb in WSU's last scrimmage and is out for 2-4 weeks.

    AUGUST OPENERS MEAN A BOWL GAME: WSU has earned a post-season bowl game in each of the last three seasons when the opening game was in 1997 WSU opened with UCLA Aug. 29 and went on to play in the Rose 2001 the Cougs opened Aug. 30 against Idaho and went on the play in the Sun Bowl...last year WSU opened against Nevada Aug. 31 and ended the year in the Rose each of the three seasons, the Cougars won 10 games.

    AUGUST RECORD 3-2: WSU is 3-2 all-time in games played in August...after dropping games to Oregon Agu. 31, 1985 and Colorado Aug. 31, 1996, the Cougars have won their last three August openers.

    OPENING WITH IDAHO: The Cougars have opened the season against the Idaho Vandals 11 times, winning eight and losing three...WSU has won its last five openers against Idaho, dating back to 1945.

    BACK-TO-BACK IN SEATTLE: WSU is opening the football season in Seattle for the second straight year...last year the Cougars played the first official football game in the newly constructed Seahawk Stadium, beating Nevada 31-7...not since 1978-83 in Spokane has WSU opened the season in the same city in consecutive years.


    Jason David's RECORD STREAK: WSU's junior cornerback Jason David picked off opponent passes in five straight games before being sidelined with a broken cheekbone, then resumed the streak at UCLA...he started the streak against Montana State with one interception...then, in order, he had interceptions against California (1), USC (1), Stanford (2) and Arizona (1), then UCLA (1) after returning from the other WSU player has ever had interceptions in six straight games...his 10 career interceptions ranks ninth at WSU.

    GREEN OVER CENTURY MARK: Jermaine Green rushed for more than 100 yards four times last year...he rushed for 123 yards against Montana State, 119 against Arizona, 180 against Oregon and 113 against UCLA.

    COUGS OVERCOME OPPONENT LEADS: WSU came from behind in all but the Idaho (WSU led 21-0), Stanford (23-0) and ASU (17-0) games in 2002...Nevada led 7-0, Ohio State 3-0, Montana State 7-0, California 14-0, USC 7-0, Arizona 10-5, Oregon 21-17, Washington 7-0 and UCLA 14-7...the Cougars came back to take the lead in every game, including the losses at Ohio State and to Washington.

    COUGS HALT PAC-10 RUSHERS: WSU allowed just 152 rushing yards in the last five regular season games of 2002, Arizona -17, ASU 37, Oregon 60, Washington 19 and UCLA eight Pac-10 games, WSU allowed 475 rushing yards, a league-game school record average of 59.4 yards per game...WSU's 1994 defense allowed just 78.0 rushing yards per league game, the best ever for a Cougar defense until 2002...California's Joe Igber, with 111 rushing yards, was the only Pac-10 running back last year to go over the century mark...the only other running back to do so against WSU's defense is Ohio State's Maurice Clarett with 230 yards.

    HENDERSON THE BEST QB?: Collin Henderson completed all but one of his 12 passes in his four-year career for an amazing six touchdowns and 499 yards...that's a QB rating of 605.97...he completed one as a freshman in 1999 for 24 yards and a 2000 he was 4-for-4 for 154 yards and two 2001 he threw three passes for 71(td)-62(td)-63 yards...this year he is 3-for-4 for 125 yards and one TD pass...his only incomplete pass was against Washington following a bobbled center snap in 2002.

    NEWCOMERS SCORE FOR WSU IN 2002: The Cougars scored 52 touchdowns in 2002, 47 offensively, four defensively and one kick return...32 of those touchdowns have been scored by first-year players who return for the 2003 season...on offense Devard Darling has scored 12 TD's, Jermaine Green 10, Jonathan Smith seven, Troy Bienemann and Sammy Moore two each (one receiving, one a kickoff return against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl)...redshirt freshman Will Derting had one of WSU's three defensive touchdowns.

    GESSER SET 14 RECORDS: Jason Gesser became the most prolific passer in WSU history last season, setting 14 school records during his career (1999-02)...they included:

  • Career pass attempts, 1,118
  • Career pass completions, 611
  • Career passing yards, 8,830
  • Career touchdown passes, 70
  • Career total offense yards, 9,007
  • Career total plays, 1,357
  • Career touchdowns-responsible-for, 74
  • Season passing yards by a senior, 3,498
  • Season total offense by a senior, 3,292
  • Game multiple-touchdown passes, 21
  • Games with a TD pass, 31
  • Game touchdown passes, 6 vs. Arizona, 2000
  • Game touchdowns-responsible-for, 6 (ties record)
  • Consecutive games with a TD pass, 25, 2001-02

    DERTING SETS WSU RECORDS: Will Derting, in the 2002 season opener, set a pair of WSU interception records when he stepped in front of a Nevada pass near the Cougar endzone and returned it 98 was the longest return in WSU history, breaking the mark of 93 by Lionel Thomas against UCLA in 1969...his 98 return yards in a game also bettered the previous mark of 96 yards by Frank Miyaki against Idaho in 1945.

    EIGHT COUGS PAC-10 ACADEMIC PICKS: Eight WSU football players were named to the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference all-academic team, including three to the first team - Collin Henderson, Jeremey Williams and Pat Bennett...Williams, Bennett, Fitt-Chappell, Darling, Dunning and Peymah were underclassmen and return for the 2003 season:

    FIRST TEAM - WR Collin Henderson, DT Jeremey Williams, LB Pat Bennett; SECOND TEAM - OL Riley Fitt-Chappell, DB Cole Sheridan; HONORABLE MENTION - WR Devard Darling, PK Drew Dunning, CB Karl Paymah

    FIVE COUGS PICKED ALL-PAC-10 FIRST TEAM: Jason Gesser was named Co-Offensive Player of the Year in the Pacific-10 Conference and four of his teammates were named to the all-league first team by the Pac-10's 10 coaches...11 other Cougars received honorable mention recognition...Gesser and USC's Carson Palmer shared the league's top offensive award...Derrick Roche was named to the team for the second straight year, while Marcus Trufant was one of three unanimous first-team honorees...Armstrong, Basler, Coleman, Brown, Darling, David, Dunning, Green and Williams all return for 2003:

    2002 FIRST TEAM - QB Jason Gesser, OL Derrick Roche, OL Calvin Armstrong, DL Rien Long, DB Marcus Trufant,

    2002 HONORABLE MENTION - P Kyle Basler, FS Erik Coleman, DE Isaac Brown, WR Devard Darling, CB Jason David, PK Drew Dunning, RB Jermaine Green, C Tyler Hunt, WR Jerome Riley, DE Fred Shavies, DT Jeremey Williams.

    DUNNING SETS RECORD: Junior Drew Dunning, who set a WSU record for kickers with 101 points in 2001, broken his own record and the overall WSU scoring record with 113 points last addition he has moved into a tie for fourth on the WSU career list...he is on track to challenge Jason Hanson's school record 328 points...he needs 108 points after averaging 107 points over the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

    DARLING EQUALS RECORD: Devard Darling has caught 11 touchdown passes last year, equaling the Cougar record for TD receptions...Chris Jackson and Kevin McKenzie each caught 11 TD receptions during the 1997 season.

    WSU TOPS 400 YARDS SIX TIMES: WSU notched six games with over 400 yards in total offense last consecutive games, WSU ran and passed for 400-plus against: Montana State 405, California 578, USC 516 and Arizona 410...after falling below the 400-yard mark against Arizona State, the Cougars came back against Oregon with 467 yards and later had 541 yards at UCLA.

    LONG WINS OUTLAND TROPHY: Junior Defensive tackle Rien Long captured the 2002 Outland Trophy as the top collegiate lineman in the nation...he became the first Cougar to win one of the national football awards...Long entered the NFL draft a year early and is now playing for Tennessee.

    LONG AMONG TFL/SACK LEADERS: Rien Long finished his NFL shortened Cougar career among the leaders in sacks and TFL at WSU...his highlights last season includede:

  • Season TFL - second with 21.5, 2002;
  • Career TFL - third with 35.5, 2000-02;
  • Season TFL Yards - third with 108.0, 2002;
  • Career TFL Yards - fourth with 172.0, 2000-02;
  • Season Sacks - third with 13.0, 2002;
  • Career Sacks - sixth with 17.0, 2000-02;
  • Season Sack Yards - third with 85.0, 2002;
  • Career Sack Yards - seventh with 119.0, 2000-02.

    BASLER DOES THE JOB: Kyle Basler and his special team teammates were especially effective late last year in limiting the opponent's punt return yardage...WSU has allowed just one punt return in the last five regular-season games, two in the last six games...the lone returns were one for minus one yard by Stanford and one for 26 yards at WSU's first six games opponents returned 13 punts 173 yards (13.3 yard return average)...Oklahoma did have success against WSU in the Rose Bowl, returning four punts 90 yards, including a 51-yard TD return, the only return for a score allowed by WSU last year.

    [See WSU's 'Supplemental Notes' for additional details]

    WSU DEFENSE HALTS LONG RUSHES: In the last 14 years WSU has allowed just 164 runs of 20 yards or longer in 161 games...last year the Cougars have allowed 10 runs of 20 or more yards and 42 runs of 10-19 yards.

    COUGS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS SINCE 1995: WSU is 9-18 against ranked teams since 1995...when WSU has also been ranked, the Cougars are 4-6.

    COUGS SCORE OFTEN: Since 1980 WSU has averaged more than three touchdowns a game, currently boasting an average of 26.0 points per outing, including 33.2 points per game last year.

    NOTHING LIKE HOME: WSU performs better at home than on the road, as do most home the Cougars are 45-32 (58.4%) and on the road the team is 38-46 (45.2%)...WSU's 6-0 Pullman record in 1997 is the best ever for the Cougars, while the 2001 record of 6-1 is the best on the road since the 1988 team also went 6-1.

    RUSHING TOTALS UNDER 100: In the last 14 years WSU has held 61 of 161 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing...the lows include Montana State -35 (1993), Arizona -17 (2002), Pacific -6 (1993) and Montana's -6 (1995) those 161 games, WSU held opponents to 50 or less yards 17 times.

    100-YARD RUSHERS FEW: Only 61 running backs have been able to crack the 100-yard mark in the last 14 years and 161 games against WSU's defense...USC's Mazio Royster, Washington's Beno Bryant, UCLA's Skip Hicks and Reuben Droughns from Oregon are the only backs to have done so in back-to-back seasons.

    RED ZONE: In 2002 WSU scored 45 times in 61 trips into the Red Zone, 28 touchdowns and 13 field goals...the failures have been six missed field goals, three lost fumbles, two interceptions, four on downs and four at the end of a half...opponents have scored 20 touchdowns and 10 field goals in 40 Red Zone appearances and failed three times by interceptions, missed four field goals and failed on downs three times.

    TURNOVERS: WSU was -4 in turnovers for the last 14 years, WSU is -37 in turnovers...twice WSU has had fewer turnovers than the opponents, +12 in 2001 and +9 in 1994, while the turnovers were even in 1995.

    BREAKING DOWN TOP 22-44: WSU's starting lineup against Idaho of 22 players includes 0 freshmen, 4 sophomores, 4 juniors and 14 seniors, while the top 44 (two-deep) consists of 7 freshmen, 8 sophomores, 11 juniors and 18 the two-deep, WSU lists 15 freshmen and sophomores and 29 juniors and seniors.

    COUGS BOAST STARTING EXPERIENCE: WSU fields an experienced team in 2003, with 29 players having started at least one all, the Cougars boast a collective 273 starts, 133 by defensive players, 101 by offensive players and 39 by kickers...offensively 12 players had starts last year and on defense 12 started at least one game in 2002.

    DEFENSE VERY EXPERIENCED: Six WSU defensive players have each played in 30 or more games and three others have seen action in at least 20 all, the 12 defensive players who have made 133 starts have also played in a collective 304 games...only one projected defensive starter has not started at least one game for WSU, D.D. Acholonu, and he has played in 35 games...WSU's three top defensive linemen have a collective 44 starts and have played in 101 games...five linebackers have a collective 35 starts and have seen action in 95 the secondary four players have started 54 games and have played in 108 games.

    OFFENSE HAS 101 STARTS: WSU boasts 15 offensive players who have made a collective 101 starts during their career and have seen action in 230 Cougar lineman, Josh Parrish, has played in 30 games, while three others have seen action in 20 or more all 13 of the 15 players have tasted action in 10 or more games...up front, there are eight players who have started 68 games...WSU receivers have a collective 26 starts and have played I n 41 games...the running backs have five starts and 19 games to their credit, while quarterback Matt Kegel has played I n 25 games, with two starts.

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