PULLMAN--Hey again CougFans, this is Kenny Alfred. Another week has passed in the Pullman sun and with it, we’re one week closer to showing what we’ve been up to when Stanford arrives Sep. 5. I know I speak for all my teammates when I say we can’t wait to start things off right in the greatest place there is to play a college football game: Martin Stadium. On the o-line, we're thinking VITL.
All of the guys took advantage of a nice, relaxing Fourth of July weekend to rest up and prepare to take the month of July on with a head full of steam and tenacious focus. This week’s workouts have brought some new surprises and, already, some encouraging performances. Our workouts have shifted around a little bit, too, but I’ll get to all of that in a second.
First, I’d like to answer some of the questions that were posted on the message board to last week's diary entry.
First, for Crimsonrules: Tyson Pencer and Kevin Freitag are both out at the summer workouts with the team and they’re looking better every day. The whole offensive line has been working daily to not only get to know each other better, but also to become a better unit.
With this comes an acronym that we’ve created. VITL (pronounced vital) stands for Vicious, Intense, Tenacious and Low. It’s a simple thing that we continually say to each other to remind us of the things that we’ve not done well in the past and must improve upon. It’s an important way to create a cohesive nature among our group as well as being a tool to get after each other to regain focus when it may falter.
For the RabidCat: I’m more than happy to be able to communicate with the other proud Cougs out there and I’m sincerely thankful for your support and that of the whole Cougar Nation.
For Cougb4u: With our no huddle offense, and without giving anything away, what we’re looking at as far as shifts in line play won’t necessarily be drastic changes in the actual line assignments. Things will be much smoother.
With a new offensive system there can be a tendency for players to over-think their assignments and to attempt to overcompensate for those who may be slow on the learning curve. With the time we have, are and will be putting in to understanding our schemes, we will be able to communicate significantly better and be able to work less on simply knowing our plays -- and more on understanding and decoding defenses. As the game slows down for us, we will be able to produce at a much higher level, as one unit, instead of five individuals.
Finally, for CougVegas: A lot of the things I wrote in response to Cougb4u’s post apply with your question across the whole offense. One humongous change is the level of players who are buying in to coach Wulff’s style and staff. The coaches have done a phenomenal job of molding the program to point in a direction that they want to go. As players, we are either expected to jump on board or get on out -- and that is exactly what is happening.
As players left who did not fit, what remained are guys who are hungry to win and who are willing to do what it takes to finish not only plays, but games. It’s all about execution, staying healthy and finishing.
AS I MENTIONED earlier, there have been some interesting changes in this week’s workouts so far. Primarily, we’ve switched up our conditioning to focus more heavily on quickness and explosive movements. Secondarily, we’ve got a whole new batch of eager Cougs on campus!
Since I’ve been in Pullman, each summer has seen a smattering of bright eyed and bushy tailed rookies coming in, but in all honesty, this is the most (12, and 15 including preferred walk-ons) we’ve ever had all at once come in early.
Getting to finally see and meet Sebastian Valenzuela, Gino Simone, Jeff Tuel and Travis Long - to just name a fraction of the guys who’ve shown up - was great. There’s nothing better than absorbing the emotion and eagerness of Cougs foaming at the mouth to push for change and to win games --- especially when those guys can really play.
With the passing of June into July, our team workouts have ramped up intensity-wise. The defense and offense have converged to get a little physical so we can break up the cobwebs and get as geared up for the fall as possible.
Watching Jesse Feagin and Micah Hannam go toe-to-toe in one on ones, Kevin Kooyman going against Steven Ayers, or Tim Hodgdon vs. Anthony Laurenzi, that really gets the juices pumping.
I can really say that there’s nothing better than getting back into practice mode. A little taste of the good ol' football bloodlust goes quite a long way and I speak for myself as well as my teammates when I say that with every day, we’ll only get more physical and more amped up to win the day for Crimson and Gray.
I might not be able to get to every one of them but if you have questions, post them on the CF.C message boards and I'll do my best to answer.
Until next time,
Cougar center Kenny Alfred out of Gig Harbor, Wash. was named to the Rimington Award watch list for the second straight spring after his performance starting all 13 games at WSU in 2008. He has started 32 games for the Cougs since his redshirt freshman season and was named Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention for the third consecutive year in '08. A Sporting News Pac-10 All-Freshman Team member in '06, he concluded his prep senior year at Gig Harbor High as a consensus first-team All-State pick and was named one of only six "blue chip" prospects in the state of Washington by the Seattle Times.