Dan Rowlands' Diary: Week Two

PULLMAN--Cougar Nation, echoing what Mike Graise said, less than 40 days until Cougar football! Time flies when you're out on the Palouse in 90-degree plus weather. As the last workouts unfold, it's hard not to see Madison on the horizon. Like the D, the offense is continuing to get together for extra time and preparation but I wanted to start this week talking about our quarterback, Alex Brink.

I've had a few people ask me; "How's the Quarterback controversy?" and to me it's an obvious answer -- We don't have one.

Alex Brink is our quarterback, and Alex Brink is our team leader.

Alex is one of the top returning players in the Pac-10 this year. Besides his more than evident leadership skills and outstanding work ethic, what strikes me, what really impresses me, is his poise.

He took a lot of heat from the critics over the 2005 season -- nothing is more mentally fatiguing than having your home fans booing you. But he never let it get to him, and his stats and second team All-Pac-10 recognition from last season do not lie.

Competition brings out the best in every player, and I believe Alex is going to have a stellar season -- right along with Gary Rogers.

Gary and myself were among the guys in the 2004 recruiting class and I've personally seen him mature into a big time football player -- not just physically, but mentally, too. He has a rifle for an arm, and he's very athletic for his size.

When he entered the game in our season-opener last year against Auburn, he took control of the offense and looked good doing it. And if he sees increased playing time this upcoming season, I'm sure of the fact that Gary will make a huge name for himself. He's a great guy, he's a good friend of mine, and he has an excellent future here at WSU.

Just like the defense during our voluntary summer workouts, our player meetings on offense have given us a head start in regards to the mental side of the game and in preparation. And in less than two weeks, it will be time to add pads to the equation and smash heads once again.

And that means it's time to talk about some of the skilled guys that like to get in the trenches with us linemen, the running backs.

I feel that this could be one of our strengths this season -- we have four or five guys returning who could see the field this year in Dwight Tardy, Chris Ivory, Ian Bell, Kevin McCall, and Marcus Richmond.

Dwight Tardy made a name for himself in '06, especially towards the end of the season. I personally love blocking for him because he has such a great passion on the football field. I can't tell you how many times I've heard in the huddle; "Just give me a little hole and I'm gone, guys."

Tardy brings to the table not only passion but speed, plus the size to run people over. It's hard to believe he was only a redshirt freshman last year, and he has a great future.

Chris Ivory is a pretty quiet guy, he just lets his pads do the talking. On only his second college touch we went 80 yards to the house against Idaho and I'm looking forward to seeing him play this year.

Ian Bell, I remember watching and being in awe of his running back highlight film from when he was in high school. He's moved back to RB after a stint at DB, and he feels that it's his natural position. Senior Kevin McCall is a big back and brings experience to the field; he also had a nice touchdown in the Idaho game.

Marcus Richmond has become one tough back since he arrived in Pullman last year. I think anyone would after having 11 starting defensemen calling for your head every day in practice. He could also see some time this season.

Our voluntary summer workout program ends tomorrow and this was to be my last entry. But because I started a little later with my player diary on CF.C, I'm going to try and give you one more entry if I can squeeze it in. So although I'm, along with my teammates, heading home for our week's vacation before camp begins, you might see one more diary from me next week.

So today and tomorrow, please leave me any questions you have here on the Cougfan.com message boards and I'll try to answer as many of them as best as I can. Until next time, GO COUGS!!!

Dan




Dan Rowlands finished the '07 spring session as WSU's starting right tackle. A versatile lineman who started at both right and left guard last year, the 6-5, 290-pounder will be a fourth-year-junior in 2007. He hails from Seal Beach, Calif., where his senior year he was the top o-lineman for Los Alamitos High, a perennial powerhouse in California's Southern Section. After a redshirt season at WSU in '04, he's played in 22 games the past two years, starting 9 last season. Against UCLA in 2006, he was helped off the field twice with injuries only to return to the line each time, and he started the following week. He graciously volunteered this summer to give CF.C readers an inside look at the world of pre-season football preparations with a weekly diary.

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