SEATTLE – Moments after an emotional loss in the Apple Cup, Washington State center Elliott Bosch was talking about going back to Pullman and “making some corrections.”
Not the words of a senior who’s ready to call it quits after the Cougars’ 27-17 loss Friday afternoon.
But in fact, they are the words of the former walk-on from Ferris High School who was recently described by coach Mike Leach as “one of the greatest overachievers I’ve ever coached.”
But now the Cougars’ postseason is out of Bosch’s hands – unfamiliar territory for a player who’s snapped the ball on every meaningful WSU offensive play since the start of the 2012 season.
“I’m upset, it’s hard, but I’m proud of the team and all of the guys,” Bosch said after the game.
He then applied that comment to his entire career, which not coincidentally mirrors the program’s upswing under Leach.
Bosch had the grades to compete in the Ivy League and the brawn to dominate at Division II Central Washington, but wanted to compete at a higher level. When Bosch arrived in 2009 as a walk-on tight end, both player and program were battling uphill: Bosch against the scholarship athletes and the Cougars against higher-caliber talent across the Pac-10.
As a walk-on, Bosch was free to try out for the team, and free to fail. Everything else would cost, including tuition, books and even team meals until he earned a scholarship.
Under former coach Paul Wulff, he split time between center and tight end, then got a fresh start when Leach arrived two years ago. Leach and his staff put everyone under the same scrutiny – good and bad.
“It was a complete team effort, and it took the team buying in,” Bosch said.
Bosch also got a chance to meet the media after Leach dragged the entire offensive line in front of the camera lights following a 49-6 loss at Utah.
Now Bosch is a media darling, joining Leach for the Pac-12 media day, and he’s made 11 appearances at WSU’s weekly media sessions.
He’s also a nominee for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is awarded each year by the Rotary Club of Springdale, Ark., to a player who began his career as a walk-on.
That didn’t matter Saturday, but Bosch still managed to look at the bigger picture.
“We’re definitely getting there and we’re going in the right direction,” Bosch said.