Sept. 22, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars football team runs out before a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Media days are already here and we’re quickly coming up on Fall camp. Starting next week as a matter of fact we’ll be a mere four weeks from kicking off the Washington State 2013 season! It’s time to really start digging into our opinions on different aspects of the team makeup, including which freshman will get the call in 2013. Today we deal with the offensive line.
For me, the offensive line is going to be maybe only slightly more fluid than last season because of the makeup of what Mike Leach is trying to accomplish. Remember in 2012 the Cougs only used six o-linemen the entirety of the season! For obvious reasons, that cannot and will not be the case this year, but don’t expect a totally shifting line either.
We’ll talk about the makeup and predictions of our o-line starters soon, but this is about the freshman that have a chance to crack the lineup.
Let’s remember that last season with the rotation, Leach and o-line coach Clay McGuire refused beyond reasoning to burn the redshirts of some guys that quite honestly would have helped out in a big-time manner. They flat out refused. Those future benefits will far outweigh the setbacks going forward, but it was a bit frustrating as a fan to know that guys were ready to step in and help where we sorely needed it and couldn’t because of coach decision. Either way, looking at it right now you gotta believe that it was by far the most important decision for the next four seasons that could have been made.
With that in mind, it’s hard to believe that the coaches would willfully burn a year of development on the line with this new group that could carry a three-year legacy down the road together if they were all redshirted. Not to mention the fact that now the Cougs have a full cupboard of young rotational players in the mix due to the painstakingly outstanding patience of the coaching staff. Throw in the addition of Jacob Seydel and Devonte McClain from the JUCO ranks and there is simply no reason to think that depth will be an issue to the point where redshirts will need to be burned. To reiterate, even if the Cougs don’t have the fortune of limited injury up front as they did last year they should be ok (with the exception of one position which we’ll get to in a minute).
There will be an argument that there will be many more (hopefully even higher caliber) o-linemen recruited in the next few years to fight for starting jobs themselves, so why not use the “best” guys for the job now, regardless of who they are or what age? While that’s a valid point, the fact is that Leach and Co. got a quality and also large group of hosses in their first season that could fill every spot for two to three years together if they wait, and there is nothing that Leach values more for his line than continuity and that extra year.
So yes, a fully redshirted class of big boys on the offensive side is what I expect and will predict from WSU. The only thing that could throw a wrench into that plan would be if Bosch gets injured. In that case, as long as Carlos Freeman is ready to go he would get the call to keep the continuity as strong as possible.
Freeman is the only other true center on the roster and there’s nothing worse than trying to slide linemen into the center spot from elsewhere. I’m sure he will be groomed as the absolute number two from the first day and the general consensus is that he can handle it due to his incredible smarts (honor roll 4.0 student) and decent strength for an incoming frosh. It also helps that he’s already tipping the scale near 300 lbs, so the Cougs wouldn’t sacrifice size at the position. Still, it would be optimal to have Bosch take every snap in his senior season and have Freeman open up his career as a second year freshman in 2014.
Editors Note: Just found out that Freeman is even bigger than advertised via Cougfan. Checking in at 6’3″, 303 lbs, he increases his viability to the teams’ second string.