Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Washington State Cougars offensive lineman Gunnar Eklund (63) reacts on the bench against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
3: Battles in the Trenches
Led by Xavier Cooper and Toni Pole, we know the defensive line is more experienced, more deep and should be better at this stage than the offensive line. However today really isn’t about that so much as it is seeing if and how well the OL has gelled in the 13 practices of Spring thus far.
We know rs juniors Joe Dahl and Gunnar Eklund will anchor the left side, but it’s the entire right side that we’ll be focused on today. Three new starters will take the reigns to try and protect Halliday this Fall and thankfully all of them are already here this Spring. How they battle on Saturday will give us a good indication as to what we have to look forward to this Fall.
There really isn’t any bad news here, just a lot of worry that the youth will get to the Cougs next season. Leach is excited about this group though, mentioning that the Cougs should go into the season averaging about 310 lbs, a huge leap from the 298 or so they averaged last season. Also, the athleticism is advanced beyond anything Leach has worked with here at WSU, so there’s something else to be excited about.
You’ll hear plenty of names rotating in and out, but a battle to watch all day will be between rs sophomore Sam Flor and true soph Riley Sorensen. Sorensen has moved over from guard in part because 2013 JUCO transfer Jacob Seydel has really been productive but also because redshirt freshman Cole Madison has hulked up and really impressed the coaches. Another name to keep an eye on is Cody O’Connell, who should be running with the 2’s and maybe also the 3’s. O’Connell is WSU’s biggest player at 6’8, 345 lbs and is only a rs freshman.