What Choate's departure means for WSU

WITH LINEBACKERS coach Jeff Choate leaving Washington State for the defensive coordinator's job at UTEP, what does that mean for WSU, especially in this stretch run of recruiting? Do the Cougs need to fill the position now or can they afford to wait?

Let's deal with recruiting first. Choate's recruiting areas were primarily Idaho, Montana and Eastern Washington (except Spokane and Pullman.) The Cougs don't have any known commits from those areas and no hot prospects on the line from there either.

Choate also recruited other areas, such as parts of Texas for example, and played a role in some of the WSU commits from the Lone Star state. But for the most part, he paired up in those areas with other Cougar assistants. For example, the area recruiter for future Coug Malik Jenkins' is Eric Morris. Choate was involved in Jenkins' recruitment, but Morris was and is the main point of contact.

Still, the timing of Choate's departure isn't ideal. Linebacking prospect Jeff Camilli, who appeared to have narrowed his choices to WSU and Fresno State, indicated Monday in a Scout.com article that Choate's move to UTEP likely means he will pledge closer-to-home FSU.

Future Coug linebacker Peyton Pelluer told CF.C he was disappointed with the news, but that at the same time he was "still a Coug all the way."

Bottom line, the level of impact from Choate's departure on recruiting figures to be minimal. The coaching aspect is far and away the more important factor here.

And that leads to timetable. Washington State could fill the post quickly but the guess here is that Mike Leach will take some time with it. It is far more important to get the right fit than it is to quickly get someone on board who might not turn out to be the ideal choice. And the recruiting calendar works in the Cougars' favor here.

Coaches come off the recruiting trail at the end of this week for the holidays -- and things don't open back up until the first week of January. WSU doesn't have to fill the spot ASAP. The guess here is that the new linebackers coach will officially be named and come on board sometime in January.

Of course, if the right fit and right guy becomes apparent tomorrow, that's a different story. But all things being equal, the guess here is WSU will be more focused on wrapping up in-home visits this week, followed by the final official visit weekend of December, than they will an assistant coaching search.

That makes trying to peg the linebacker coach candidates even more difficult. Just looking at d-coordinator Mike Breske's coaching network (let alone Leach's) offers countless possibilities.

Just for fun, here are two names to ponder:

Colorado State linebackers coach Marty English and East Carolina outside linebackers coach Duane Price.

English and Breske worked together under Joe Glenn at Wyoming, where Breske was the defensive coordinator. In 2006, the Cowboys D was rated No. 9 in the nation with English handling the linebackers. English just completed his first season at Colorado State.

Price both played and coached under Leach at Texas Tech. He has been an ECU assistant under former Leach protege Rufin McNeil for the last three seasons.

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