Center of attention: Roxas vs. Meighen

IT'S THE OLD VET vs. the upstart. Washington State's starting offensive line looks mostly set for 2011, but the battle to succeed Zack Williams as the man in the middle of the trench is no foregone conclusion. Fifth-year senior Andrew Roxas has been getting the majority of reps this spring with the first unit but JC transfer Taylor Meighen is seeing some time with the 1s and pushing hard.

"We've been rotating those guys in there and both of those guys are going to have to play for us," head coach Paul Wulff told CF.C this week. "Both of them are going to have to continue to improve. They both have been solid but they can both still get better."

Meighen, an all-conference performer at Kilgore JC in Texas last season, stands 6-3, 285-pounds. He enrolled at WSU in January after signing in December. He chose the Cougars over Rice and others. Meighen was an honor student coming out of high school in Beaumont, Texas, in 2009 and originally planned to sign with the Air Force Academy before an admissions snafu sidetracked him.

"It's great, he's putting pressure on me and I'm putting pressure on him," Roxas tells CF.C. "He's a good football player and it's just great for everyone because he's giving his best, I'm giving my best and the best guy will get the spot."

Roxas, the Pride of La Canada, Calif., will be tough to supplant. He's in the best shape of his career, and he has considerable experience under his belt, including 10 career starts dating to his true freshman season of 2007. He was thought to be on track for the starting center's job this past season following Kenny Alfred's graduation but Williams, coming over from guard, won the spot in August camp.

Roxas, who missed all of 2009 recovering from viral hepatitis, came into that camp out of shape and overweight at 306 pounds on his 6-2 frame.

"This off-season I lost a ton of weight," Roxas said. "I'm back under 290 and I've got my strength up and I got my body composition better this off-season. I wanted to become more agile and just be able to move."

Says Wulff, "From where Andrew has been he's in good shape. He's moving quicker and he's more consistent in his play because his conditioning level is high. All of a sudden the consistency has been there for him so far."


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