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Joe Dahl named to the Outland Trophy watch list

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The redshirt senior will have plenty of work to do in 2015 to build up his case to be an Outland Trophy finalist.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

To be successful in an Air Raid offense, it's crucial that all five of your lineman are on the same page and can keep pressure off the quarterback. Each season under Mike Leach, Washington State's big uglies have improved in protecting the quarterback. With virtually every snap taken in the shotgun formation, sacks prove costly as the Cougars seem to be 10 to 15 yards behind the original line of scrimmage when they occur. Offensive line coach Clay McGuire and the Cougar coaching staff have done a great job developing this young offensive line. With all five starters returning in 2015, it'll be interesting to see how they fare protecting the more mobile Luke Falk and/or Peyton Bender, as opposed to pocket passer Connor Halliday.

The backbone of the offensive line the past two seasons has been redshirt senior Joe Dahl, who was named to the Outland Watch List on Friday. The Outland Trophy is presented to the top collegiate interior lineman at the end of the college football season and Dahl is one of 81 lineman to be named to the list.

It's no surprise that Dahl landed on the list because he's been one of the top lineman in the Pac-12 the past two seasons. After transferring from Montana in 2011 and sitting out the 2012 season, Dahl has started every game in his WSU career either at left guard or left tackle. This past season he was named Washington State's Mike Utley Offensive Lineman of the Year, while also being named to Phil Steele's All Pac-12 Third Team. An offensive lineman's performance is judged on how good of a game the quarterback and running back have, and in 2014 Dahl was responsible for just one sack given up. Put that into perspective considering how often the Cougars throw the ball. Pretty remarkable, huh?

The list of 81 will be shortened to several players in mid-November before three finalists will be announced on Nov. 24. Hopefully Dahl can build off a strong 2014 season and join Rien Long as the only two Cougars to win the Outland.

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Football

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