New Cougs in for an eye-opener this summer

WHEN MIKE LEACH's new class of Cougar footballers arrive in June, they'll quickly begin their indoctrination into WSU's strength and conditioning program. Sure to follow, are mouths dropping and eyes opening wide.

CF.C spoke at length recently with Jason Loscalzo, Washington State's Director of Football Strength and Conditioning. Our main article will be published a little later this week but first, a little about the education the incoming Cougar rookies are about to receive.

Lest you think that indoctrination period lasts just from June until fall camp, think again.

You may be surprised to learn that WSU rookies – regardless of whether they play their first year or not – take part in a different strength and conditioning program than do the upperclassmen. And they'll do so throughout the season.

"They're only going to work out with each other, they're not going to work out with the (veterans) until the following winter in January – whether they play or don't play," said Loscalzo.

The reason is because the new guys simply have to learn what is already well known by the upperclassmen, and it takes time.

"A freshman coming in, there's no way that 18-year old can keep up with the volume and intensity that our vets work out with in the summertime -- it can't happen," said Loscalzo. "So we make sure they know how to lift correctly. We make sure the technique is perfect.

"(Combining the groups too quickly) would be a bad decision on my part, it would be a bad coaching move, it would result in kids falling out left and right and getting hurt -- and it wouldn't make them any better. "

BUT A HANDFUL of new Cougs, the true freshmen and/or JC transfers, will play this season and not redshirt. Be that as it may, they're going to be learning under Loscalzo all those months.

"We make sure those guys are ready to go for the season in that short 4-5 weeks we have them in the summertime before the season," said Loscalzo. "We still do things a lot different with them, and it's a lot of intense teaching – how you do the clean correctly, how you do the snatch correctly, how you squat correctly, the different exercises for the upper body, the different exercises for the hamstrings.

"A lot of it is about learning to handle their body weight. You can have guys come in that can bench the world but they can't do a pull-up. Well, that's a problem. So we have to make sure we correct those imbalances the first few months to make them effective and keep them healthy."

Check back this week for much more from our in-depth talk with Loscalzo…

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