Bigger shoes than you think: Washington State

Final post in a series looking at lineup holes that are important even if they don't make headlines.

Washington StateWashington State

Everybody is talking about: The Cougars only lose four starting position players, but center Kenny Alfred is clearly the biggest loss. He was a four-year starter and earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors -- the only Cougar to earn a spot on the first- or second-team.

Bigger shoes than you think: Safety Xavier Hicks

Hicks is best known for an off-field incident, but he turned in a solid senior season at free safety. He ranked second on the Cougars with 81 tackles and led them with three interceptions. He also had four tackles for a loss and four pass breakups. Those numbers earned him honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors.

Who's stepping in: The frontrunner is sophomore LeAndre Daniels. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound sophomore started two games in 2009 before breaking his leg. Sophomore Jay Matthews saw action last year, recording 13 tackles. The depth chart includes nine names at the safety positions, so there are plenty of possibilities.