Mastro's State of the Union on the Coug RBs

WSU RUNNING BACKS COACH Jim Mastro won't be demanding his guys watch hours upon hours of film this summer. A new rules change allows him to work with his group in the summer months but he won't use that time to run 'em ragged or put them through exhausting conditioning drills. Instead, he'll be pointing the Cougar running backs towards something else.

And that is getting them as strong as they can be for the rigors of the season to come.

"I'm not really big into film study, I'm not really big into any of that football stuff in the summertime," said Jim Mastro. "I'm into them physically sculpting their bodies -- and making themselves mentally tough.

"I want them to hit those peaks for where they're supposed to be at this point in their career."

The NCAA now allows football coaches to spend up to eight hours per week in the summer with their players, in activities such as weight lifting, running sessions, meetings and film study. Mastro said he hasn't yet started meeting with his group, that will come later this month.

"For me, there will be no on-field work, just classroom stuff. Our strength coach John Loscalzo does enough and I don't want to tax their legs any more. So for me it will be all video and classroom stuff," said Mastro.

The 2014 group is the deepest he's had since he's been at Washington State, Mastro says.

"We're finally at the point where we have five guys who can all play," said Mastro. "That makes it a good problem to have – when the guy who is No. 5 can beat the guy who is No. 1, you're in good shape, especially during practice.

"What I was waiting to see was that they would compete with each other… and they battled, battled and battled all the way to the end."

We asked Mastro for a rundown on his five running backs:

Theron West: "Probably the most improved player over the last two seasons. The biggest thing with him was just to mature a little bit… and he did that…. He's matured both physically and emotionally and he's taken a leadership role. It's night and day from him two years ago to him now. He's a senior and he needs to act like one."

Jamal Morrow: "Unbelievable spring. He just needs to mature as a human being football-wise, emotionally, all those things that happen with a freshman. He's an unbelievable worker, doesn't say a whole lot… In my 25 years of coaching I've never had a player that can pick something up so fast – he can see it and he can do it."

Teondray Caldwell: "From spring ball to now, probably the biggest improvement of any of the guys. Body-type, we've got his weight where we want it, his strength where we want it. I was just talking to (Coach) John Loscalzo, our strength coach, and he said he's the hardest working guy you've got. They all bust their butts, but he's probably the hardest working one."

Gerard Wicks: "Physically, the most talented guy we've got. He's big, he's fast and he's strong. He's just got to understand the offense and he needs reps. He's a guy you need to show him on the field how to do it and once you do that, he has it. He's a guy that needs walk-throughs, he needs practice time, he needs reps. But physically, he's what you want. He's 205, runs 10.5 in the 100 meters and he's strong as an ox."

Marcus Mason: "It was good this spring in that we got to see those young guys go, and bad in that Marcus wasn't able to get a lot of reps (injuries) but he's gotten a lot better. Flexibility was a problem for him his first two years and he's worked on that tremendously. He had real tight hips, real stiff, he's loosened himself up tremendously... We know what we can get from Marcus, you love to have him on your team. We expect big things out of Marcus this year."

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