Skylar Stormo's offseason work might be the most noticeable of the tight ends. The 6-4 sophomore-to-be is at about 260 pounds these days. Sormo arrived at WSU about a year and a half ago at a listed weight of 227 pounds.
He's not the only one among the tight ends group who has had a productive offseason in the weight room.
Andrei Lintz is around 255-260 pounds, and so is Zach Tatman. Both stand 6-foot-5. Walk-on Elliot Bosch is pushing about 250 pounds over his 6-4 frame -- Bosch might show this spring he's ready to help the Cougs on special teams this year.
Hold up a moment. Tatman? He was listed as a redshirt senior last season, hasn't he exhausted his eligibility?
Doesn't look that way. He's missed the majority of two seasons with injury since his 5-year clock began, and WSU is in the process of a medical appeal to the NCAA. WSU was granted a similar appeal by the NCAA back in May of 2008 for Matt Mullennix, and Tatman is expected to also receive favorable word from the NCAA, but probably not until sometime after spring ball concludes.
THE COUGS WILL, despite losing Tony Thompson to graduation, head into the spring with a couple guys who have game experience. Stormo and Tatman played in 12 and 11 games last year, respectively.
But both have work to do -- each has things to improve on, including reliability and consistent. Stormo had some offsides penalties last year, and sometimes that's part of being a young player. But those kinds of things need to be cleaned up this spring and on into the 2010 season. Tatman needs to become more reliable, particularly in assignment blocking -- a guy who will be assignment perfect ten times out of ten.
THE INCREASE IN size means Washington State this spring should be more physical at the point of attack. And the spring should be particularly valuable for Lintz in that regard.
Lintz has all the physical tools to be successful in the Pac-10. But what's been missing so far is a physical, aggressive football mentality. As a third year sophomore, and as big and athletic as Lintz is, Cougar Nation will be hoping to see him commit to trying to knock the stuffing out of someone. Otherwise those physical tools, the ones he's worked hard to develop, will merely go begging at the Pac-10 level.
THIS SPRING, the Cougs should be able to delve into much more depth on the intricacies of Todd Sturdy's offense, something they haven't been able to do the past two years because of an ungodly number of injuries.
That could translate into more double tight end sets this spring. It will certainly translate into more, and better, physical work at the point of attack from the group.
The Cougs will miss Thompson's route running and receiver skills, and he had very good hands. But Thompson was also a different type of TE at 6-2 and about 235 pounds. For the 2010 season, and beginning this spring, the tight end position should more closely resemble 2008 than 2009 if all unfolds as planned, when the Cougs had Devin Frischknecht and Ben Woodard and a more physical presence at the position.