We continue our look at what positions groups need to improve between now and next season.
Position to improve: secondary
Why it was a problem: In 12 games, 10 players (including six freshmen) combined to form seven different starting combinations in the secondary. With a serious lack of continuity and a lack of experience, the results were predictable: WSU allowed 296.6 passing yards per game, which ranked as the second most in FBS behind Cal (367.2). Teondray Caldwell, who converted from running back to safety before falling out of favor at a second position, elected to transfer in September, while cornerback Daquawn Brown, the team's top corner, was dismissed after the season. Freshman cornerback Kevin Griffin also left the team after the season.
How it can be fixed: After a lengthy search, coach Mike Leach hired Missouri safeties coach Alex Grinch as the team's new defensive coordinator, replacing Mike Breske. If it works out the way Leach hopes, the change will be pivotal in allowing the unit to improve, but considering how bad things were, it'll take more than that ... starting with recruiting. The Cougars have five defensive backs committed for a class that will become official next week.
Early 2015 outlook: A lot depends on the incoming guys, especially junior-college transfers safety Shalom Luani and corner Treshon Broughton, both of whom should be expected to contribute right way. Corners Pat Porter, Charleston White and Marcellus Pippins all started at least one game last year as freshmen and rising senior Taylor Taliulu started 10 games at safety. Sebastian LaRue, who sat out last season after transferring from Texas A&M, will be an interesting name to keep an eye on, too. A four-star receiver prospect in the Class of 2013, he converted to cornerback last spring.