April 22, 2004
"We entered the spring season looking for guys on both sides of the ball to emerge leadership-wise," Doba said. "We think we have found them in Sam Lightbody and Josh Swogger offensively, and Hamza Abdullah and Will Derting on the other side. They all had great springs and came to the forefront in terms of providing toughness and leadership for this football program."
Lightbody and Swogger will co-captain the offense, while Abdullah and Derting Will do the same defensively.
Lightbody, a 6-9, 319-pound offensive tackle, has started 16 games in his WSU career, while playing in a total of 31. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native will join fellow senior Calvin Armstrong to give WSU one of the conference's premier tackle tandems.
Swogger becomes just the second sophomore in program history to be named team captain. The Youngstown, Ohio, native played in nine games in 2003, including prominent roles in wins over Arizona State and UCLA. Swogger's best performance came against the Sun Devils, completing 14 of 20 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. Jason Gesser also served as a sophomore captain during the 2000 campaign.
"I just feel fortunate that my teammates think that I'm deserving of a position like this. I think Sam, Hamza and Will are all great choices and very deserving. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us this summer and I will do my best to lead on the offensive side of things," Swogger said.
Abdullah used the spring to become the vocal leader of the Cougar defense. The 6-3, 209-pound safety has played in 29 games and has been a key contributor in WSU's nickel and dime packages, and on special teams.
"I'm honored and excited that my teammates would elect me captain and see something in me that makes them believe I can succeed in this position," Abdullah said.
Derting established himself as one of the top linebackers in the Pac-10 in 2003, racking up 86 tackles, including 12 behind the line and 7.5 sacks. The Okanogan, Wash., native earned first team All-Pac-10 honors and was twice named the conference's defensive player of the week.
"It's a great honor to be named team captain. We have a lot of big shoes to fill in terms of leadership and I hope I can be one of the guys that can step up and help do that," Derting said.
The Cougars open the 2004 season at New Mexico Friday, Sept. 3 in a game that will be broadcast by ESPN.