I feel pretty good about where we are as a defense headed into fall camp.
I don't know that we have a lot of "stars" but we're better as a defense and team this year. And we're all on the same page.
If you go into things -- a practice, a game, whatever, and you're not on the same page, it doesn't matter if you have a bunch of "stars," it will eventually catch up with you. But we all know the plan, we all know what we need to do and how to do it, and I think that's going to show this year.
Of the young guys who joined us this summer on the d-line, I've been impressed with Destiny Vaeao and Junior, (Ioane Gauta).
They, like everyone else, have things they can improve on and they've only been in our system a short time. But they've looked good early on. Destiny looks really good coming out of high school. He's a big kid, he might be bigger than all the d-ends except maybe Adam Coerper. He's done a good job in one-on-ones, he's quick, strong and very athletic. Junior is smart out there, he's picked things up quickly and you can tell he knows what he's doing.
Once I'm done with finals, I'm going to use my break (probably about four days) to head home before fall camp. I'm a little over 290 pounds right now but I'll probably be really close to 300 by the time I get back – all I do is eat when I go home because my parents just keep pushing food at me.
We go out a lot when I come home for breaks. My mom usually orders extra and then slides it over to me – my mom wants me over 300 pounds because she sees the guys that are in the NFL and that they're huge. So I'll get all the extras and the leftovers, (and I'll probably feel a little slow for a day or so after I get back.)
Someone on the CF.C message boards asked if I could go into a little more detail on guys coming out of high school and their technique level. The techniques I picked up most after I got to WSU centered around how to use my hands and my footwork.
When you're bigger in high school than the other guys, you can just run through blocks. But when an offensive lineman has good technique, he can negate a size advantage. And everyone is big in college. For a nose or d-tackle, you have to have good technique or you can't get into his chest plate.
Footwork is usually lacking coming out of high school, too. We were able to get by without gap integrity in high school but when you're in college, you have to maintain your gaps otherwise it's a huge hole. And that can lead to a chain reaction where someone else then tries to cover for it and it leaves his gap open, and so on and so on. Only bad things when you don't have gap integrity.
You have a lot more responsibility in college in what you have to do, and you need technique to do that. For us as a team, I think fall camp is going to see us make gains in that area, too. We're a young defense overall, especially at linebacker, and there aren't many seniors like me. But I like where we're at right now.
Cougar nose tackle Anthony Laurenzi (6-3, 290) out of Placentia, Calif. started all 12 games for WSU in 2011, posting a career-high 25 tackles, (17 solo) with 6.5 tackles for loss. A redshirt senior, d-coordinator Mike Breske this spring said that in Laurenzi, "we have what we want at the nose guard position." Laurenzi was named the Orange County Register Defensive Player of the Year his senior year at El Dorado High, racking up 40 sacks and 170-plus tackles over his prep career. His 23 sacks his senior year were both an all-time school record and the most that year in California.