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Marcellus Pippins making moves in the WSU defensive backfield

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The sophomore-to-be is forcing the issue this spring.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The secondary has been a constant source of kvetching for WSU fans over recent years, with 2013's relatively steady play standing as little more than a blip on the radar over the past two coaching administrations. Long gone are the days of DB-U, when Lamont Thompson, Marcus Trufant, Jason David, the Abdullah brothers and others were routinely taking the ball away from opposing quarterbacks.

We all hope that's finally changing, and maybe sophomore cornerback Marcellus Pippins can be a part of that.

Through nine games last season, Pippins looked to be headed for a redshirt. But injuries in the secondary derailed those plans, and Pippins was thrust into the lineup against Oregon State after Daquawn Brown was (unfairly) ejected for a (not) targeting penalty. It seemed like a curious choice at the time, to use up an entire year of eligibility for just over two games' worth of action. But perhaps the extensive action he saw against Arizona State and Washington -- both starts -- provided the experience he needed to make a big impact this year.

"I really did think it was impressive," coach Mike Leach said after Pippins' start against ASU. "I thought he played better than he does in practice and for really a first start, I thought it was quite impressive."

Pippins is standing out this spring, and he grabbed a pair of interceptions in Saturday's scrimmage. You can see one at the 2:00 mark:

The assumption when the Cougars signed junior college cornerback Treshon Broughton was that he likely would battle with Charleston White to start opposite Brown. Now Brown is gone, and the thought was that Broughton and White probably would be the duo. But Pippins -- who is now going through his second set of spring drills after grayshirting -- appears intent on showing that Broughton isn't going to walk into a starting job in the fall.

Could the Cougars finally be building their secondary depth up to a point where there are multiple good options in the back end?