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Jonathan Lolohea departs WSU without ever playing

The perilously thin defensive line just got thinner. Yikes.

Idaho v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Soooooo yeah. As you are all aware, and as the Spokesman Review reported Sunday night, defensive tackle Jonathan “Pono” Lolohea left the WSU football team. That, well that sucks. Lolohea was a highly-recruited JuCo transfer who had several Power Five offers. He enrolled at WSU last January and, after taking part in the offseason conditioning program, seemed ready to be a contributor this fall.

Something or some things changed over the past few days, and Lolohea is no longer on the team. With that, let’s take a live look at the WSU defensive line situation.

Now it’s not like Lolohea was going to burst on the scene and make everyone forget about Ed Oliver and Dexter Lawrence. But at the very least, he was going to add some depth to the most shallow position group on the team, because we all know that defensive linemen rotate constantly to stay fresh. How shallow is the defensive line? Let’s have a look at the guys left on the roster.

  • Will Rogers - one career tackle.
  • Nnamdi Oguayo - MIA since August 10.
  • Logan Tago - for a guy who has played since he was a freshman, I don’t recall ever seeing his name mentioned in any camp report I’ve read.
  • Kingston Fernandez - his number of tackles equal his number of years on campus: four.
  • Derek Moore - MIA for nearly two weeks.
  • Taylor Comfort - one career tackle.
  • Nick Begg - seven career tackles. Practically the group’s elder statesman!
  • Hunter Mattox - has appeared in one game.
  • Lamonte McDougle - can’t wait to see you in 2019.
  • Michael Van Beek, Beau Braden, Jesus Echevarria, Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei, Christian Mejia, Brennan Jackson, Ahmir Crowder, Preston Hendry, Dallas Hobbs - All are brand new guys, and as closely as I follow the team, I have no idea who any of them are.

That’s it. That’s the list. If you’re scoring at home, the total number of tackles for this group, Tago not included, is 13. For a little perspective, Hercules Mata’afa had 13.5 tackles for 2016.

As some of my fellow writers have posited, maybe the fact that Lolohea couldn’t beat out Comfort says a fair amount about how good he really is. There’s some validity to that, but as mentioned earlier, he could have at least sucked up 15-20 snaps per game to give Comfort or whoever else a breather.

But wait, there’s more! There are three players listed at the Rush spot - I’ll confess to not knowing whether Tracy Claeys plans to use that position like Alex Grinch did - and precisely one of them, Chima Onyeukwu, has game experience. Oh, and he hasn’t practiced in days either.

So no matter what Baghdad Bob Mike Leach says about players who are missing, you shouldn’t believe any of his nonsense until those players are on the field in uniform.

As it stands, the Tracy Claeys needs to invest heavily in smoke machines and mirror factories, because it’s becoming quite likely that there’s probably not another option if WSU wants to stop anybody from running them over this season.