When B.J. Guerra arrived at WSU, a lot of things were different than they are today.
Guerra, who played his high school ball at Moses Lake, was recruited by former Head Coach Bill Doba to play defensive line.
Now a fifth-year senior, Guerra is a right guard and one of the anchors on the Cougs’ offensive line. The switch from offense to defense was a tough one for Guerra, who considered leaving WSU.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t like it all,” Guerra said. “I wanted to transfer, but I talked to my mom and I had a lot of guys that were seniors on the offensive line, such as Kenny Alfred that said ‘You never know what it will turn into.' So I stuck with it and really worked hard and got my nose in the playbook and eventually the next year I got some playing time.”
The switch worked out for Guerra, as he earned All Pac-10 honorable mention last season. He attributes most of his growth to his work with offensive line coach Steve Morton.
“I’ve grown so much,” Guerra said. “I feel like I’ve done the most growing since Coach Morton has been here. He expects so much out of you and he’s not going to let you put anything other than 100 percent out. I understand defenses better now that he’s been here.”
Morton praised Guerra’s determination and willingness to buy into the coaches’ new philosophy after Doba left WSU.
“He’s one of the fifth-year seniors so he’s gone through a transition, and he’s one of those that has persevered,” Morton said. “Lots of things happen when there’s a coaching change or transition of philosophies and he’s bought into that. Like everybody else, you have your reluctances and you have your doubts. You have your doubts of yourself but he was able to see through that and work and be successful.”
Guerra has persevered ever since he was being recruited by WSU.
While in high school, he was being recruited by WSU, along with Eastern and the University of Washington, but he said UW flaked on him.
He chose to come to WSU because the Cougars came and did an in-house visit to his family. Guerra said that was one of the big reasons he chose to be a Cougar.
“They cared about my family, they always asked me how everybody was doing,” Guerra said. “They showed interest in me as a person, not just a player.”
After coming to campus, Guerra redshirted his freshman year and worked on the scout team. At the end of his freshman year, Doba was released and Paul Wulff became the new head coach.
Guerra said he has progressed a lot since Wulff came in and his preparation level has definitely increased. He credited the coaching staff, along with his maturity level for this growth.
“I take more pride in what I do,“ Guerra said. “The way (the offensive line coaches) did things was a little bit different than Doba and his staff. The biggest thing is how well prepared I am for each and every week. Basically, my whole outlook on me as a person and what I need to do off the field.”
Morton has seen Guerra’s growth on and off the field and said Guerra’s role is to be the best right guard he can be.
As a fifth-year senior on a somewhat young roster, Guerra is considered one of the leaders.
“You don’t coordinate somebody (as) a leader,” Morton said. “A leader first learns how to best serve the team because that’s what that role is. It’s not a dictatorship; it’s not elected necessarily. Then you go out and help a young player get better, you help an older player get his mind right, that’s leadership.”
Guerra understands his role as a leader on the team and that is what he wants Cougar Nation to remember him as.
“I want them to think I was a great leader,” Guerra said. “I played 100 percent every play.”