How weighty is Leach's concern about OL heft?

MIKE LEACH has mentioned a couple of times in recent weeks that one of his most pressing concerns is adding heft to the Cougars' offensive line. The Cougs were so underweight last season that they averaged 50 pounds less per man than his old hosses at Texas Tech, he said. A comparison of other Pac-12 offensive lines yields some interesting data.

First, there's no question that WSU's offensive line was underweight this past season. And the results on the field were plain to see, including 57 sacks surrendered.

On paper, though, it might be difficult to see how they dipped all the way down to the 270 average per man that Leach talks about.

That's because the official roster weights for the five primary starters on WSU's 2012 roster were: John Fullington 300, Elliott Bosch 271, Jake Rodgers 300, Gunner Eklund 286, Wade Jacobson 300, with one spot starter, Matt Goetz, at 272.

That puts the Cougs at an average of 291.4, or with Goetz in for Rodgers, 285.8 pounds.

But two points here. First, those weights were taken before fall camp.

Second, players lose weight from fall camp on and during the season, and sometimes a lot of it. And no one has more to lose than an offensive lineman.

Now factor in Leach's conditioning system over the course of the season that had WSU players often working out at Mach 2. Indeed, if they kept track of it, WSU might lead the conference in weight loss during the season given the conditioning.

Ten pounds lost for an offensive lineman is almost a given during the season -- 15 or more pounds isn't out of the ordinary. Now you can start to see how the WSU line by the end of the season might average down around 270 pounds.

Also important to note, 291.4 pounds at the start of the season is nowhere near what Leach wants his offensive lineman to weigh.

Leach says that at Texas Tech, his o-line averaged 330 pounds -- a huge number. That would be tops in the Pac-12. And here's the kicker -- even if they were to lose 20 pounds a man over the course of the season, the WSU line would still check in at an average of 310 in Week 12.

Assuming the other lines around the conference lost a comparable amount of weight during the season, that would again dwarf the other Pac-12 o-lines.

One last thing to note here -- an abundance of weight on the o-line doesn't mean much if the players aren't agile and possess great feet. Utah had the biggest o-line, by far, this past season in the Pac-12. But would you characterize their offensive line as the best in the Pac-12? Would you even put it in the upper half of the conference?

So what did the other 11 Pac-12 offensive lines average in 2012? The following numbers were taken from the school's final depth chart of the season, although the weights themselves all look to be pre-season if not pre-fall camp weights, when players are at or near their heaviest.

Utah - 312.4; (305, 300, 300, 315, 342)
USC – 302; (285, 325, 305, 300, 295)
OSU – 300.4; (315, 297, 302, 293, 295)
Stanford – 299.2; (301, 291, 292, 298, 314)
UO – 299.2; (292, 311, 294, 305, 294)
UW –295.2; (293, 292, 294, 295, 302)
Colorado –297; (295, 285, 295, 305, 305)
UCLA - 298.8; (285, 295, 295, 295, 324)
Cal – 296.2; (290, 306, 300, 300, 285)
ASU - 292.4; (290, 284, 285, 301, 302)
Washington State -- 291.4; (300, 271, 300, 286, 300)
Note: In five games, when Goetz started, the average drops to 285.8
Arizona - 289.4; (285, 280, 290, 282, 310)

Cougfan Top Stories