The summer has been productive, not only because we have gotten bigger, stronger, and faster, but also because we have become closer, bonding for the last eight weeks and working hard while doing it.
Between questions from the editors of Cougfan.com and those from you on the message boards, I’ve got a lot of answering to do this week so let's get to it.
Why did you chose the number 55?
I really didn’t put a lot of thought into it, but there are two reasons. First, when I got a here, a guy from Okanogan named Derting was already wearing my number from high school, 51. In college, two players on the same team can wear the same number as long as one is on offense and the other on defense, but I wanted a number that was all my own. As a freshman, during our practices for the Rose Bowl, I was given the scout team job of being Oklahoma’s right tackle, who wore number 55. By the time the Rose Bowl arrived, I guess it just became second nature to be in jersey 55. I can’t even remember what my original number was.
What is your favorite memory as a Cougar?
I hope that memory has not come yet. I will say that one of the most exciting memories that I have so far came in my very first game on the very first play. It was at Stanford in 2003. Starting tackle Sam Lightbody was injured, and I was his back up. I ran onto the field, with all of these emotions and the excitement of playing in my first game after one season as a grayshirt, one as a redshirt and then half a year at No. 2 on the depth chart. I go in, the play is called, I block my guy. And Touchdown, Washington State! Matt Kegel to Chris Jordan. We won 24-14. This moment will be forever etched into my memory, and is one of my favorite moments since becoming part of the WSU football team.
Aside from Pullman, what’s your favorite place to play in the Pac-10?
That’s a tough question, because nothing compares with Pullman. I’d have to say playing in Seattle against the Huskies because of the Apple Cup atmosphere and game intensity. There are a bunch of Cougar fans in the end zone there rarin’ and ready to go, just like in Pullman.
Is it annoying, as a lineman, to be so crucial to the success of every play but to not get much public attention?
It’s kind of nice, actually. The important thing is that we know what we’re doing and our teammates appreciate what we’re doing. We’re not concerned with becoming stars, just doing our very best. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that.
What do you like most about playing on the offensive line?
Just going out, with your best friends, together as one, to achieve a common goal. Last year, with Jerome Harrison, he set a goal for all of us – to gain 1,800 yards. We had that goal in the back of our minds all season. And he gained 1,900 yards.
With Jerome gone, what’s your assessment of the Cougar running backs?
Whoever is running the ball, all of us on the offensive line are going to make sure they get their yards. With three starters back – me, Bobby Byrd and Sean O’Connor – everyone knows what we’re capable of doing. All our backs had really good summers. DeMaundray Woolridge and Kevin McCall got stronger and Dwight Tardy was running and cutting really well. I’m looking for good things out of them – they’re quick backs who can find holes. Also, Ian Bell has moved to running back from cornerback and worked really hard this summer. He’s pretty excited to get back to running back – he piled up a bunch of yards in high school. He tells us he’s going to surprise everyone this season.
How have the receivers looked this summer?
Great. Jason Hill is something else. Brandon Gibson and Michael Bumpus have been catching the ball well. Cody Boyd has looked sharp at tight end and Jed Collins (now at tight end after two seasons at fullback) is getting better and better. I can hardly to wait to see what they can do when we start camp.
Is professional football in your future?
I plan to give pro ball a shot. Beyond that, I’d someday like to be a high school counselor and coach. I graduated with a degree in social science in May and will finish work on a second major, sociology, in December.
Alright Cougfans, that’s it for the summer. I’ve had a good time writing to you over the last few weeks. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. And thank you once again to Cougfan.com for allowing me the opportunity to do this diary.
Charles Harris 55
Charles Harris is Washington State's starting offensive right tackle. The 6-6, 323-pound hoss will be a fifth-year-senior in 2006. He hails from Spokane’s Mead High. An uber-athlete, he was named to The Sporting News' Pac-10 all-freshman team following the 2003 season and last year became a Cougar fixture -- in a breakout season he started all 11 games, opening the holes for a 1,900 yard rusher for the Cougs. Along with senior defensive end Mkristo Bruce and, previously, backup QB Cole Morgan, he graciously volunteered this summer to give CF.C readers a window into the world of pre-season Cougar football preparation with a weekly diary.