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Some thoughts on Darryl Monroe's departure

The 2014 season was nothing short of a disaster for Darryl Monroe. The redshirt junior linebacker played poorly and eventually lost his starting job at Mike linebacker to Peyton Pelluer. News broke on Thursday that Monroe will not be returning for his senior season.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Seven days have now transpired since the 2014 Washington State football season came to a close with an noncompetitive 31-13 loss at home to arch-rival Washington. The aftermath that has followed since the final seconds mercifully waned off the clock in the Apple Cup has been the type aftermath that can be expected after a bitterly disappointing 3-9 season. Defensive coordinator Mike Breske and outside linebackers coach Paul Volero were fired on Sunday,  prized recruit Austin Joyner decommitted on Mondayand former team captain Darryl Monroe announced that he is leaving the program on Thursday.

Of all the ‘silly season' news coming out this week, Monroe's departure from the team was the most surprising, though not entirely shocking after the redshirt junior lost his starting role to redshirt freshman Peyton Pelluer just after the midway point of the season. Prior to the season, Monroe had clearly assumed a leadership position as the media spokesman for the Cougar defense with Connor Halliday playing his counterpart for the offense. Two years ago as a redshirt freshman, Monroe was a big part of the new youth movement playing ahead of ‘dead corpse' veterans lacking in commitment. He was WSU's second leading tackler in his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons behind future first round draft pick Deone Bucannon. It was widely assumed that Monroe would take over as the best player and leader of the defense after Bucannon's departure. However, Monroe's junior campaign was a disaster from the get-go and he had not started a game since WSU's 34-17 loss to Stanford

No definitive reasons can be given for Monroe's departure, at least not yet. The surface explanation based on what fans have seen on the playing field would suggest that Monroe is unhappy with his new role behind Pelluer. There is also the uncertainty of where he might fit with the pending hire of a new defensive coordinator. Monroe would have found himself in a situation similar to his upperclassmen teammates two years ago of having to play his final year under a new coach and new system.

The fact that Monroe met a similar fate to many of his first teammates with an early departure makes his story noteworthy. Looking at Monroe's college career under a microscope, you can see the larger pattern of what has taken place in the program since Leach arrived at WSU. The program is in a cycle of finding younger, more talented players to come in and replace upperclassmen that are not panning out for whatever reason. The result of this cycle is a program that was classified as ‘young' in 2012 continues to be a young team two seasons later. Whether the new wave of young players will finally be the players that can stick and win games as upperclassmen is still to be seen.

I wish Monroe all the luck in the world with whatever he may chose to do next. At the same time, I am disappointed that the All-Pac-12 linebacker  I envisioned him becoming never materialized. I guess the nice thing about hope and expectations is that they can always be transferred to younger, unproven players.

Football

A real puzzler: WSU's Monroe reported to have quit Cougars | Pac-12 Confidential | Seattle Times
In another indication that the wrinkles haven't been fully ironed out of the Mike Leach regime three years in at Washington State, middle linebacker Darryl Monroe is reported to have quit the Cougars with a year of eligibility remaining. Monroe's departure was reported by Cougfan.com. Players come and go all the time, but two things make...

Darryl Monroe quits WSU football team - Spokesman.com - Dec. 5, 2014
Darryl Monroe has quit the Washington State football team.

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Women's basketball

Lia Galdeira, Tia Presley lead WSU women to victory - Spokesman.com - Dec. 5, 2014
Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley (Gonzaga Prep) combined to score 45 points on Thursday night to power the Washington State Cougars to an 81-55 nonconference win over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in Santa Barbara, California. WSU (6-2) pulled away after leading 35-28 at intermission, shooting 51 percent from the field to outscore UCSB 46-27 the rest of the way.