I hope you enjoy our conversation.
1. What was the first word that popped into your head when you found out your medical redshirt had been approved?
"There were a lot of words -- I mean, waiting for six, seven, almost eight months to hear word ... I think the first words that came out of my mouth were probably ‘hell yeah'. Finally knowing for sure that you get to play for another year -- that was it, ‘hell yeah.'"
2. How is your health (back injury) right now?
"I'm doing really well. I've jumped right into summer training -- been running, been lifting, doing everything as everyone else… I haven't felt this good in so long. It's nice to get back out there and be part of the team and doing everything they are."
"Oh yeah. I will be out there this season, wearing number 55 and ready to go."
4. Anthony Laurenzi says the defensive linemen are doing boxing drills this summer. Are the offensive linemen too? "Yes, basically it's all the offensive linemen, defensive linemen and kicking specialists. We go out there every Tuesday afternoon, work on our footwork and bang heads around."
5. Who do you think would win a 12-round bout between John Fullington and Xavier Cooper?
"That's a tough one. Hands down, John is smarter than Xavier -- offensive linemen are always smarter than defensive linemen ... But I'd have to go with John because he works so hard and I know he'd never give up."
6. If the BYU game (on August 30) came down to making a last-second field goal from 45 yards out, but a lineman had to do the kicking, who would you pick?
"That's a good one. (LAUGH) We always joke about these things in the locker room. Oh man. (PAUSE) I'd have to say Moritz Christ. He's actually from Germany, he just got here last year. He's from Germany and doesn't know any football lingo and really isn't tied up with the English language yet ... He always talks about soccer, played when he was younger, so I'd have to say him."
7. How much food does it take to keep on 300 pounds when you're working out so much? Take me through a whole day of eating.
"You basically live at Subway, I guess you'd say.(LAUGH) It depends on the time of year ... During the season, we'll go to our team cafeteria in the morning, doing weight training, and we're drinking three to four protein shakes, eating 2 or 3 protein bars, probably 2 or 3 bagels, apples, all that kind of stuff ... Then you go to class. I know I grab at least two footlongs on the way. That will hold me over. As soon as class is done, I head over to lunch, grab a big lunch at the cafeteria, go to practice, and then right back at dinner with 3 or 4 steaks or five or six chicken breasts – and that's just for a snack you know ... And when you're a fat kid, you always have a late-night snack craving so you always have something back at your place, whether it's cookies or snacks… Basically you eat whatever you want whenever you want. It's kinda nice being the fat kids on the team -- you don't have to worry about what you look like."
8. What is your favorite restaurant in Pullman?
"That's a tough one, dude. (LAUGH) Practically all of Pullman. You know, I'd have to say Cougar Country. That's a fat kid's dream right there, whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, a late-night snack, or whatever. There's been times I've gone to Subway and gotten two footlongs and it hasn't filled me up and I've gone to Cougar Country just to grab a burger to fill me up. You can never go wrong with a big burger and some fry sauce."
9. What do you think you think you'll be doing 10 years from now?
" ... Going through with the criminal justice degree I hope to be somewhere in the law enforcement area. But then again, it would be nice to still be playing football …"
10. What do you think your NFL chances are?
"That's one of my dreams, that's one of the things I've always stretched out for. Coming this far, I mean, might as well. I have the skills, have the ability, have the background, and the coaches and teammates to get me there. That's where my mind is at and that's what my goal is."
11. Who else offered you scholarship and why did you choose WSU?
I had offers from Nevada, San Jose State, San Diego State, North Carolina Tar Heels, a bunch of little schools, Arizona, and then Oregon came in at the end. Choosing Washington State I really didn't know much about the school and looking on paper there had been losing seasons and told my (junior college) coach I wasn't going to this place ... I took my trips -- four back-to-back (official) trips, and this is where I had the most fun. It felt like home … I've never had one regret once."
12. Who is the hardest-working guy on the offense?
"… so many people come to mind. (PAUSE) I'd have to say Jeff Tuel. He's a guy that comes out, he knows what to do, he knows his stuff, and is just so physically sound … he's a born leader that knows his stuff."
13. Any final thoughts you want to share with the Cougar Nation?
"First all, I just want to thank everybody for supporting us. There's been a lot of low times around here ... it's nice to look out and have a bunch of fans still watching us, caring for us ... The ASU game (last season) is pouring down snow ... and yet there's still people out there watching us and having fun. That's what Coug football is all about …"
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan Witter is a rising 8th grader from Seattle and lifelong Cougar fan whose dad co-founded Cougfan.com two months after he was born. Ryan is a top-notch student as well as a three-sport athlete playing baseball, basketball and soccer.