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Who is WSU football's most important backup?

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Keith Harrington and Kyrin Priester headline the Cougs' 2nd string.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Coaches love the mantra "next man up," but for the Cougs in 2017, which backups will be the most integral to team success? Thursday, Chantel Jennings, of the ESPN Pac-12 blog, deemed Gabe Marks WSU's "most indispensable" player (non-QB). But how about players who aren't currently projected to start, who among that group would leave the biggest hole if they went down with an injury?

For this exercise I'll be using Stefanie Loh's post-spring depth chart to determine who is a "starter." At first glance, a couple of names jump off the page. Offensively, all four running backs listed are expected to make contributions this season, which may make it hard for one in particular to stand out. While Keith Harrington will back up in some capacity, his absence on Saturdays would hamper the Cougs explosiveness.

In 2015 Harrington had the fewest total touches of the three backs, but had the most explosive plays, with 8. Additionally, with him in the backfield WSU was able to torch defenses with the running back screen, as shown by our very own Brian Anderson here. Simply speaking, the Cougs just don't have a ton of athletes that can make plays like this.

While I like Harrington, one could easily argue that Kyrin Priester or Kyle Sweet will be more important in 2016. Harrington's big play ability gives him the edge over those two in my book.

On the other side of the ball, the question is a little harder to answer. A big reason being, we haven't seen as much from many of the second stringers.

Garrett McBroom is yet to play in an actual game for WSU, but impressed in the spring and has the size (6-3, 276) to be able to play at multiple spots along the defensive line. In the secondary, neither Kirkland Parker or Charleston White are projected to start in 2016, but both have quite a bit of experience.

White has played quite a bit at corner the last two years, but was knocked out of a starting spot by Darrien Molton in 2015. He has now moved to safety where he played at during most of spring. White may be no star, but he has experience and the versatility to play at multiple positions if needed.

I'll take Harrington and McBroom as my most indispensable backups, what do you think?

*****

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