WSU's new sand pit is no day at the beach

PULLMAN — Cougar cornerback Nolan Washington is nursing an undisclosed injury that has kept him on the sidelines since spring practices began, but the ailment hasn't kept him off the beach. The junior-to-be has spent so much time in WSU's new sand pit that the nickname might need to be changed from Leach Beach to the DB's Dunes. Washington's workouts in the grit have been "pretty tough," he says.

"Some of the drills we're doing on land we're doing in the sand pit, so it makes you have to pick up your feet more and there's a lot more pressure and weight on your legs. It's just going to get me faster and help my joints get stronger," Washington tells CF.C.

The injury behind his spending time in the sand rather than on the field hasn't been released, as head coach Mike Leach and his staff don't disclose information on injuries. But it's no secret he had ongoing shoulder woes last season.

Washington, a starter who has battled ankle injuries throughout his career at WSU, has been running sprints in the pit and going through an exhaustive series of agility drills.

"You get tired a lot quicker running in the sand compared to running on land," Washington said. "That's the benefit of it though ... you have to use so much of your legs."

Located directly off the side of the main gridiron on Rogers Field, the pit stretches 40-yards long and 10-yards wide. It was constructed just in time for the start of spring ball at cost believed to be about $60,000.

The pit's purpose is plain and simple: To enhance conditioning. Leach also employed a pit at Texas Tech. He said the team's ankle injuries "went way down when we started running in sand. You work the collateral muscles and stuff like that."

Washington said the consistency of the sand forces you to step high. "You have to be able to do the drill right and pick up your feet. It makes everything tougher overall."

Washington has far and away been the main workout participant in the sandpit thus far but it certainly won't go unused in the future. Leach told CF.C the benefits of working out in the sandpit are through the roof in terms of staying healthy throughout the season, and plenty of other Cougs will have their chance to experience it sooner than later.

"They'll do "agilities" in it in the off season," Leach said. "There won't be a lot of it during spring football because we're practicing, but there will be Ioa lot of it in the offseason. Sprints and everything else."I

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