WULFF: More contact this spring

WITH ONLY four players sitting out spring drills due to injury (vs. 24 a year ago), head coach Paul Wulff can do what he wasn't able to the past two spring seasons: Unleash the head crackin'. Simply put, this spring on the Palouse will feature more full-speed contact and collisions because the Cougars are loaded with healthy bodies for the first time in ages.

"(We'll) be a little bit more physical than we have (been), actually scrimmage a little bit more than we have," said Wulff. "I think we can truly now take some steps of growth -- more so now than we ever have."

Healthy bodies and strength gains, as noted earlier on CF.C , are one of the by-products of going through a second offseason under football strength coach Darrin Lovat, said Wulff.

"We know we've made some progress from a physical standpoint...The numbers in the weight room are drastically improving from where we were..The numbers are still not where we're going to end up being in 2-3 years here, but we surely have made a lot of physical growth," said Wulff.

WASHINGTON STATE WAS slow last year, no two ways about it. A return to health by some of the faster players lost to injury over the course of last season, plus an infusion of quicks from Cougs who redshirted last year, will change that this spring, says Wulff.

"I think you'll see overall speed is much improved from where we have been," said Wulff.

A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER of players have packed on the bulk this winter.

So, should Cougar fans expect more weight gains on top of that between now and fall camp? Not necessarily. You can actually expect several to go down a little bit. There are exceptions but generally speaking, the first part of offseason workouts is about adding bulk and mass, the second part is about conditioning and lean muscle.

"As we move forward into the summer, I think you'll see more guys shed weight and lean up," said Wulff. "And you'll also see some that gain weight, because that's just where they are individually in their progress for us as a football player."

Redshirt freshman OT William Prescott is in that latter group. Listed at 285 last year, Prescott actually came to WSU "well over 300 pounds," said Wulff. But it wasn't the good kind of weight. It's admirable how much he's lost -- he's down to 261. But he needs to start going back the other way if he's going to become a top flight Pac-10 offensive tackle.

"He's actually shed a lot of weight, more than we would have liked and has struggled to actually regain the weight. We wanted to trim him down...but he probably lost 10-15 pounds more than we wanted...He's athletic and can move which is really good, but he's also clearly not strong enough to play consistently," said Wulff, adding that the aim is for him to gain 10-15 pounds between now and when the season starts.

THE FOUR PLAYERS who will sit out this spring to injury are RB James Montgomery, LB Louis Bland, DT Josh Luapo, CB Anthony Houston. Wulff said the target return date for Monty (leg) and Bland (knee), as well as Houston and Luapo, (torn ACL's) remains July 1.

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