Coug Mayle's loss points toward huge gains

VINCE MAYLE arrived in Pullman last year more tight end than wide receiver, with 245-pounds spread across his 6-3 frame. Mayle carried the weight well, he still had quicks and he tied for the team lead with seven TD grabs in 2013. But he spent the winter shedding bulk, and his stellar performance this spring has many thinking he's going to shred defenses at a whole different level in '14.

The decision to get lean and mean was all his - it's not like the WSU coaches were pushing Vince Mayle to drop weight. After racking up 500-plus receiving yards in 2013, why would they? But now that Mayle has gone from 245-pounds all the wayt down to a more natural 218-pounds, and turned in a monster spring, it's not just Cougar partisans but national pundits too who are predicting big things for the senior this season.

"They honestly weren't too concerned with it," Mayle said of the WSU coaching staff. "They were okay with me being that weight because it wasn't really holding me back, playing-wise, but when they saw the weight gone, that's when they really noticed the improvements."

When he played basketball at Shasta Community College in 2009-10, Mayle said he weighed about 205 pounds, albeit packaged differently than it would have been for football. And Mayle had never weighed as much as he had when he arrived to Pullman. The weight gain wasn't because of football, nor was losing it a necessary change for him.

Schoolwork was the culprit, said Mayle, cutting severely into his time in the gym and in workouts. Along with Shasta Community College, Mayle attended Sierra College before coming to WSU, and transferring came with its share of challenges. Mayle had to catch up on several courses and complete others so he could play at WSU. Once he was able to corral his academic situation, his available workout time increased and he started to shed weight off his body.

"We all knew it was going to happen -- before I got here, I had to focus on my studies," Mayle said. "I was taking a lot of credits so I could get into the school, and I wasn't working out. I was just trying to focus on getting here, and that's why I stayed heavier than I was."

Mayle gives Washington State's strength coaches and their programs the credit for helping him lose the pounds while getting stronger. He said he trusted what the coaches were telling him to do in the gym, and he changed his nutrition to transform into how he looks now.

Even though Mayle has already proven himself as a reliable target who can score, he firmly believes he can do even more this season. His routes are crisper than before, and running just feels easier.

"It just opens up my game a lot more," Mayle said. "I can do anything I want on the field now."

As good as his spring was, as much as the spring spotlight shone upon him, as improved as Mayle feels out there on the field, it's not good enough. Not yet.

"I never feel satisfied with anything," Mayle said. "I'm always looking to get better at something. I don't feel satisfied with anything at all. If I see an improvement, I just want to keep going."

Mayle is on pace to graduate sometime next year. He was granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA back in November after sitting out the 2010-11 season in order to help his mom through a health battle.

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