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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover the Pac-12 for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah wide receiver Reggie Dunn (14) runs the ball as Utah hosts Washington State, college football at Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday November 3, 2012 in Salt Lake City.
Washington State's young defenders could help Cougars rise in Pac-12

In his Pac-12 conference call earlier this month, Mike Leach seemed at ease.

So he's coming off a 6-7 season. So Washington State lost its last game, the New Mexico Bowl, by allowing Colorado State to come back from the dead. So he lost one of his most talented defenders, Deone Bucannon, to the NFL Draft.

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In his third year, Leach is starting to see his recruits ascend the depth chart a little more. And that may be the key to finding some more success this season.

"We've obviously got to nail some guys down," Leach said. "But we have some quickness and athleticism that we have had. We're looking forward to some improvement."

Some of the most intriguing candidates for a breakout are - perhaps surprisingly for a Leach-coached team - on defense.

The Cougars were the No. 102 defense in the country last year, but Leach said some of the young standouts this spring were on that side of the ball. Leach named a number of defensive trench guys who could surprise: Daniel Ekuale or Emmitt Su'a-Kalio as redshirt freshmen are two possibilities.

Then there's the secondary, which loses Bucannon but has some young talent. Daquawn Brown grabbed two picks in the spring game at corner, and could be the next future pro in the defensive backfield. Leach also lauded the efforts of Beau Glover, a walk-on who had a good spring at safety.

Speaking of walk-ons, Utah fans might interested to know about Luke Falk, the Utah native who is making a case to clamber up the depth chart. The Logan grad seriously contested back-up Tyler Bruggeman in spring and could be the No. 2 passer on the depth chart.

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Transcript: Fan chat during the Arizona vs. California football game
» UA football: WR Jones honored by Pac-12
» UA football: Your stories from the 'Hill Mary'
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Caldwell's pin count goes into record books

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU football has a new enemy: Drake
» ASU-USC to be late-afternoon or night game
» ASU's rivalry with UCLA takes center stage
» ASU football practice report from Sunday

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Grading Cal's 49-45 loss to Arizona
» Cal's game at Washington State on Oct. 4 to kick off at 7:30 p.m.
» Jeff Kent provides women's scholarship endowment to Cal athletics
» Cal athletics store celebrates football victory prematurely

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Speedy freshman Donovan Lee gives CU Buffs another playmaker
» Colorado coached to avoid coin-toss glitches, MacIntyre says
» Colorado's MacIntyre gratified Buffs practiced hard Monday
» CU Buffs tackle Jeromy Irwin might play vs. Hawaii after concussion

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» Devon Allen and Keanon Lowe appear to have a bottle thrown at them during Oregon Ducks' win over Washington State
» Is Oregon's Marcus Mariota the nation's best player? His coaches are biased, but say so
» Oregon Ducks shut out in Pac-12 Player of the Week awards and nominations

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State roundup (Sept. 19)
» OSU men's basketball: Tinkle says positive steps being made
» Spencer to become new AD at Evansville
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Grading Stanford's week: Cardinal has a bye
» Local sports digest: Stanford, Cal in water polo showdown
» Stanford coach David Shaw goes digging
» Cal, Stanford Pac-12 men's basketball schedules announced

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Improving UCLA has questions to answer during preseason football camp
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA's prized recruit Eddie Vanderdoes cleared to play by NCAA after leaving Notre Dame
» Pac-12 Media Day: Eyes on Anthony Barr for UCLA's 2013 hopes

USC (Los Angeles Daily News)
» USC Football Notebook: Marqise Lee's injury not too serious
» USC Football Notebook: QBs Max Wittek, Cody Kessler present dilemma for Trojans coach Lane Kiffin
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel thinks Trojans might not miss QB Matt Barkley
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Dion Bailey says it's 'now or never'

Washington (Seattle Times)
» UW's Chris Petersen on Stanford's defense, John Ross' injury, Cyler Miles' passing and more
» Chris Petersen confirms top quarterback recruit Jake Browning has signed with the Huskies
» UW senior running back Jesse Callier out for the season
» Video: UW's Danny Shelton previews Huskies' Pac-12 opener vs. No. 16 Stanford

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Cal game set for 7:30
» Grading the Oregon game
» Wilson's ability can stand on its own
» Utah week



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