WSU 2014 OL: Younger, less deep … and better?

YES, THE COUGAR offensive line is young and they're probably a little less deep than the 2013 vintage. But in talking with WSU o-line coach Clay McGuire, I came away thinking the Washington State offensive line is actually ahead of where they were at this time last year.

And that's because McGuire said this:

"I felt like we were every bit as good as we were last year coming out of spring -- and these guys haven't played like the other kids had," said McGuire.

There are no seniors among the projected starting front five. So if WSU takes another step forward up front in 2014, it will speak to three things: Mike Leach's recruiting, McGuire's coaching and what should be a very deep unit in ‘15.

"Coming in we have about the same amount of depth as we did last year, maybe a little bit less. Then next year we should have really, really good depth," said McGuire.

The Cougs will benefit by staying healthy up front this season, something they did for the most part last year. At the same time, that could also open the door for more fall camp and in-season improvement, provided the players bust their tails.

"I think this group has a lot more potential to get better and a lot more room to grow," said McGuire. "I was pleased with them, I felt like we had a pretty good spring…this summer is going to be huge for us and then two-a-days to see how much we can grow."

Critical the rest of this summer, McGuire said, is for the o-line to continue to get their bodies physically ready for "a 13-game run."

"And we need to get ready so that when we get into two-a-days, there's no hesitation. By now… they've had a lot of reps, they've had time in our scheme. Now we need to go out there and play as fast as they possibly they can," said McGuire.

The projected starters coming out of the spring were LT Joe Dahl, LG Gunnar Eklund, RG Jacob Seydel and RT Cole Madison. The battle at center between Sam Flor and Riley Sorenson will rage on into fall camp.

"I would say it's probably the closest battle we've got out there," said McGuire.

A pair of new Cougs who took part in the spring, Nick Begg and Sean Krepsz, are potential redshirt candidates.

"I would say so, it's hard to say before going through two-a-days, but very few kids coming right out of high school are able to play at the Pac-12 (level). It's typical that you want to redshirt and develop those guys," said McGuire.

We'll have more of McGuire's insights on the offensive line tomorrow…

McGuire said it's beneficial to be able to meet with his group during the summer due to an NCAA rules change, but the strength and conditioning program run by John Loscalzo remains the focus. "Most of our time is spent with the strength coach still, we feel its most important to get their time with our strength coach in summer conditioning, but we've got in some film study… Being a young offensive line, it's very valuable. They're going to do this stuff regardless on their own in the summer.. but with our presence there it's probably a little more serious," said McGuire.

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