Doba: leading tackler Derting won't start at Stanford

Updated: October 15, 2003, 2:30 AM ET

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Sophomore linebacker Will Derting, the leading tackler for No. 6 Washington State, will not start Saturday at Stanford, coach Bill Doba said Tuesday.

Derting was cited Oct. 4 for driving under the influence and suspended from the team. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Whitman County Superior Court, Doba said in his weekly telephone news conference from Pullman.

"Whether he plays will depend on the court and what they decide. He will not start," Doba said. A decision on whether Derting plays will be made at game time, the coach said.

Doba hinted a plea agreement might be in the works, but was told by sports information director Rod Commons not to comment further.

Derting, 20, from Okanogan, was suspended from the team for a week after the Oct. 4 incident in Pullman. He returned to practice Tuesday. Derting has 37 tackles and 3.5 sacks this season.

His arrest was a minor distraction for the Cougars, who had a bye last weekend, yet moved up six places -- from 12th -- in The Associated Press football poll.

Doba was in Seattle when the poll was released Sunday and said he was surprised at how high the Cougars had risen after a weekend of upsets.

"I thought maybe, with everybody getting beat, we might move up to 10 or 9 or something. To jump to 6 was really a surprise," he said.

It was the first time since last season that the Cougars were ranked as high. WSU was ranked No. 5 the week of Nov. 3, 2002, and had a sixth-place ranking going into the Rose Bowl against Oklahoma on Jan. 1, 2003.

"I think it's great for our kids. They worked hard and it's awesome that they're getting some recognition for all the work they did this summer and for their intensity and the way they've worked this fall," Doba said.

"But you know, sixth now doesn't mean `siccem," he said. "It's got to be in that top five or six at the end of the season."

The Cougars were picked in many preseason polls to finish seventh in the Pacific-10 Conference.

Those picks provided some incentive, Doba said, but didn't reflect the team's talents.

"I really felt we were a much better football team than that," he said. "And whether we're the sixth best team in the country, I'm not sure of that, either. But I think we're a pretty good team.

"We're not complaining and we're going to enjoy it, but we've got to play Stanford this week," he said.

The Cardinal (2-2, 0-2) "are kind of like us on defense," Doba said. "Their front four are excellent. They've got good linebackers, not great, and they've got a good secondary."

Offensively, Stanford has struggled to settle on a starting quarterback, but "we've got to be prepared to go down there and play hard and play well," Doba said.

Washington State has beaten the Cardinal at Stanford Stadium the last two years, but Doba warns the stadium is so big and the crowd noise is so far from the field "if you're not careful, you get lulled to sleep."

During the bye week, the team went back to basics of blocking and individual skills, Doba said.

"It was a very productive bye week and now we pick up a regular game week and get back to our basic schedule," he said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index