Tardy says WSU OL has gone from nice to nasty

PULLMAN -- Dwight Tardy says Washington State's offensive linemen were the nicest guys in the world last year, and he hated them for it. "The competitiveness of the O-line wasn't where it should have been," Tardy said Thursday. This season, Tardy says, WSU's O-linemen are "a little nasty," and he couldn't be happier about it.

"You've got to understand, this is a nasty game," said Tardy, a senior running back. "The guys who are aggressive and nasty, nine times out of 10, they're going to come out on top."

Tardy says football strength coach Darin Lovat deserves some of the credit for the offensive linemen's development mentally and physically during offseason workouts.

"Coach Lovat has worked us to the point of no return, worked us down to the ground," Tardy said. "He's given the linemen attitude. He's made 'em a lot tougher and a lot stronger."

Tardy says he wholeheartedly agrees with the coaching staff that the Cougars lacked grit last season.

"A lot of guys really shut it down," Tardy said. "We didn't have mental toughness …. This year, through the whole summer, the whole spring, that's what we've been coached: They've been conditioning our minds to have mental toughness. We're competing. No one's giving up.

"They're scratching, they're fighting and clawing, whatever it takes to get the job done. Last year, the guy would get beat and then quit."

Tardy and fellow running backs James Montgomery and Logwone Mitz took advantage of good blocking as well as their own fancy footwork during Thursday afternoon's practice.

"I'm really impressed with the O-line right now," Tardy said.

Mitz scored on a long run early and a short run late for the only scores in extensive scrimmage-type action. The Cougars were in full pads for the first time Thursday -- the afternoon practice involved only the No. 1 and 2 units -- but limits were placed on all-out tackling.

For a comprehensive run down on the Cougars' Thursday afternoon practice, click to the CF.C front-page article "Only six starting jobs set as Cougs pad up."

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