Wolfgramm a 'great WSU fit', say coaches

THE DEFENSIVE LINE of Washington State lost three of four starters to graduation, making the position an immediate priority for the 2008 class. Bernard Wolfgramm is a 4-star rated junior college d-lineman, and his head coach and defensive coordinator say his ability to get off blocks is advanced. But where on the Cougar defensive line will he play?

Defensive coordinator Tim Tulloch moved Wolfgramm up and down the College of San Mateo line frequently this season because of the athleticism of the 6-3, 270-pounder. CSM played a 3-4 front this season, and Wolfgramm's athleticism enable Tulloch to play him at the defensive end spot.

Washington State is expected to be more of a traditional 4-3 under Wulff, (and don't be surprised if you also see more nickel package from the Cougs next year, where WSU would line up in a 4-2-5.)

Tulloch said in talking with WSU d-line coach Malik Roberson, Wolfgramm might in the Cougs' four man front be destined for the 3-technique spot.

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"He's strong and physical enough to slip the edge and hold the point," said Tulloch. "At a 3-technique, it would move him more inside and he'll get a ton of one-on-one in pass rush lanes with the guard, who are usually bigger body, less athletic guys. I think he would match up well there."

In brief, the 3-technique refers to where a d-lineman, traditionally an agile d-tackle, lines up. In this case, it's between the offensive guard and tackle in the "3" gap, also sometimes referred to as the "B" gap. The DT's anchor foot is his foot closest to the ball, his leverage foot is the foot closest to the 3 gap and it requires a d-tackle with good feet to play it well. Ideally, the 3-technique tackle will maintain control over and/or shoot the gap and keep his feet moving, blowing up the play and also to funnel everything back to the inside where the 1-gap DT, d-ends and linebackers are in prime position to make a stop.

"The thing I think he brings to the table is he has an unbelievable motor and he's very athletic in close quarters. He's very tough to block and he doesn't stay blocked. He's slippery," said Tulloch.

THE CONCERN AMONG discerning fans when it comes to recruiting junior college players is the concern they spend their first year learning on the job, and then have only one season left to contribute. But d-line is not like safety or linebacker, where getting the reads down can take some time. And with Wolfgramm, says CSM head man Larry Owens, he has been well prepared to step in sooner rather than later.

"He's played 22 football games at the community college level and he understands he has a short window of opportunity to play there in the next couple of years... I think he can go in there at help them right off the bat" said Owens. "He's a smart kid who understands what's going on out there on the field. I think Washington State is getting a pretty good football player."

Both Owens and Tulloch said there will be a transition period going from JC to the Pac-10, there always is whenever a football player moves up a level. But there are also reasons to think Wolfgramm has been well prepared.

"I think our defensive line coach (Dave Heck) did a great job with him so that he knows how to work, he's going to come in well coached, he has very good technique. I think the other advantage he has is the conference we play in is the best junior college conference in the country...He's a work ethic guy, a lead by example kind of guy," said Tulloch.

Cal, ASU, Oregon State were all recruiting Wolfgramm hard this recruiting season, said Owens. In the end, however, it came down to WSU or K-State. Tulloch said WSU's recruiting approach, with Roberson and Wulff involved, was key.

"Coach Roberson was down here I think almost weekly, checking on him and continuing to build that kind of relationship with him to develop that bond. And I think that was what won him over," said Tulloch.

"I think it's a great fit for him. And he's excited about being part of coach Wulff's first class at Washington State, said Owens.

Bernard Wolfgramm profile

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