PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State, coming off its best season in a decade, opens spring football practices Thursday.

The Cougars will have 15 practice dates that conclude April 26.

The annual Crimson and Gray Game will be held April 23 in Spokane.

This is the fifth spring under head coach Mike Leach, and the Cougars return 47 lettermen from last season's team that won nine games, including the Sun Bowl.

Offensively, the Cougars return eight starters, including quarterback Luke Falk and receiver Gabe Marks.

Defensively, Washington State looks for continued improvement under second-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. The Cougars defense allowed 27 points per game last season, down considerably from 38 points per game the year before.