This past spring, Woodinville assistant coach Mike Monan was a conflicted soul. He and the Woodinville football staff went to Pullman for a coaches clinic. Monan, who once played for the Washington Huskies, got a chance to see his former player Andre Dillard, who now plays left tackle for the Washington State Cougars.
“It was great to see Andre,” Monan said. “He’s getting huge; he’s starting to put on the muscle. But I look at his face and his smile, not the crimson and gray. I prefer to see the inside beauty, not the outside uniform and all its ugliness.”
After redshirting last season, Andre Dillard is indeed much bigger. During his senior season at Woodinville, he was 6’5” and 240 pounds. Now after a year spent in a collegiate weight room, Dillard is 270 pounds.
“My first year here was good,” Dillard said. “I was nervous at first. But everyone in the program and on the team was very welcoming. It didn’t take long for me to feel like I was at home. They also helped me with school. My academic advisor helped a lot with guiding me toward what to take. They’re huge on academics here and do a lot to help us.”
Dillard cites the speed and intensity as being the biggest differences between high school and college football. He also referred to the tighter schedule and greater responsibility.
“Having a year of experience, I understand more of what’s going on,” Dillard said. “Knowing the plays better and my technique has improved over time. I’ve watched the starters and have seen how they do things – I try to mimic that. Along with coaching from my o-line coach, I feel like I’ve improved a lot.”
Dillard currently resides on the two-deeps and is listed as backup left tackle. All this is great news for his father, Mitch Dillard, who played for the Cougars from 1983-86.
“My dad sends me long text messages about how excited he is for the season and what he’s looking forward to seeing,” Dillard said. “He’s looking forward to going to all the home games for sure. He posts pictures all the time on Facebook. And he sent one to me of him wearing his old Cougar jersey from his college days.”
Dillard said he was looking forward to a great season with a team full of great guys. He was hopeful of seeing the field this season.
Ironically though, he’s never set foot inside of Husky Stadium, despite it not being far from his native Woodinville. But he’ll get the chance on Nov. 27, when the Cougars come to Seattle to take on the Huskies in the Apple Cup.
His father will be there for sure. Mike Monan will be too — especially since he has season tickets for Washington football.
“Coach Monan is definitely a big Husky and he teases me about coming here,” Dillard said. “We have fun with that.”