Inspecting the beef on Cougs' offensive line

ON THE CALENDAR, the distance between the start of spring workouts and the start of fall camp is only about four months. In the weight room, though, that four months can make a night-and-day difference for an athlete. Take, for example, Washington State offensive lineman Tim Hodgdon.

In the spring he had 275 pounds on his 6-3 frame. Sunday, when the Cougs opened fall ball, Tim Hodgdon checked in at a more Pac-10 friendly 291.

The second-year freshman from Ladera Ranch, Calif., isn't the only Cougar hoss packing additional beef since the spring.

Third-year sophomore Tyson Pencer, a 6-foot-8 mountain from British Columbia, now checks in at 330 pounds, up from 317 in spring.

And second-year freshman Sebastian Valenzuela now carries 321 pounds on his 6-2 frame, up from 312 in the spring.

In addition, two veteran walk-on offensive linemen added notable weight since the spring. Fifth-year senior center Chris Prummer of Renton is up 13 pounds to 263 and third-year sophomore guard Michael Pfeiff of Marysville is up 10 pounds, to 296. And another walk-on, center Elliot Bosch, went from 242 to 258 since this spring.

THE COUGARS APPEAR TO have much better depth in the offensive line this season than in the two years previous. And that's saying something because they lost three big bodies over the off-season. Steven Ayers, a would be third-year junior, and Brian Danaher, a would-be senior, were both lost to ongoing issues with concussions, and second-year freshman William Prescott left the program to pursue an Olympic boxing dream.

If the regular-season started tomorrow, the Cougars' starting offensive line would be Andrew Roxas (6-2, 303) at center, Zack Williams (6-4, 298) and B.J. Guerra (6-3, 315) at guard, Wade Jacobsen (6-6, 304) at left tackle and one of three players at right tackle: three-year starter Micah Hannam (6-4, 283) , JC transfer David Gonzalez (6-6, 275), and the up-and-coming Pencer. Regardless of who gets the starting nod, the Cougars have versatility in the trenches and figure to have a nice rotation in the works.

The starting line will average just over 300 pounds, or just under, depending on how right tackle plays out.

Every lineman is a unique case when it comes to weight gains -- and athleticism is at an ever increasing premium. Williams, for example, was 293 last year, this spring was 304, and now is 298. Many players, as Williams did, add weight up until the spring, and then trim up between spring and fall. In Williams' case, the thinking being that he'll be best overall at around 298, rather than at 304.

In addition, sophomore Alex Reitnouer (6-5, 270) is in the mix, but given that he had to burn his redshirt last season you have to believe coaches would like to get it back this season -- if they can.

Among the true freshmen, John Fullington and Jake Rodgers look all the world like prototypical offensive tackles but need to beef up. Fullington is 6-5 and 268, Rodgers 6-6 and 251.

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