WSU's Depth Chart Isn't What You Think It Is

So we have a depth chart ... finally. We have a two-deep to overanalyze, scrutinize and break down. It lists the starters at every position as well as their backups, just like every other depth chart ever. Now throw it out the window.

The depth chart is useful in that it's representative of the two-deep for the "base" offense and defense. This is the bread-and-butter, the standard formations you'll typically see on each side of the ball. For the offense, it's a two-by-two formation -- two wide receivers to each side, five linemen, a running back and the quarterback. For the defense, base is somewhat of a 3-4, with three down linemen, a buck linebacker, three standard linebackers and the secondary.

Games aren't played in base, though -- at least not solely. There are many, many more packages, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Mike Breske is known for his multiple fronts, and that's more than just moving base players around and making the alignment look different -- though that will happen as well. It means different personnel groupings and packages, on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

You'll see a bunch of names on the depth chart, some of which may be surprising and most of which are about what we expected. And you'll notice some names missing -- players who were projected to play or start, but are nowhere to be found. My advice: Don't let the depth chart fool you.

There will be players who don't show up on the depth chart that will show up on Thursday. There will be players on the depth chart that might not play as much as you think. The depth chart is not the end all, be all.

For instance, the wide receivers will run eight-deep, just as they always do under Mike Leach. Those eight may be the ones you see on the depth chart today. Or they may not, because the process of finding the "best eight" is always ongoing.

The same goes for the defensive side. Breske will find a way to get playmakers on the field, whether they show up on the base depth chart released on Monday or not. He will show a whole lot of different looks, and base is just a cute little term is his defense -- I get the feeling this defense won't sit in base, but will instead adjust and evolve at an almost continuous rate.

So take what you think you know about the depth chart and throw it out -- at least for now. Until everyone sees what's put on the field this Thursday, the piece of paper means little.

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