All offseason, the Washington State football coaches have sung the praises of the four great running backs on the roster this year… while also cautioning that some hard decisions would have to be made this fall because there are only enough running back reps for three.
Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks, Keith Harrington and James Williams have all looked outstanding in camp, but something had to give. Someone was going to have to move.
The move has happened.
The Spokesman-Review’s Jacob Thorpe reported Wednesday night that Harrington, who caught 43 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns last season, has now moved to the H receiver position.
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The move makes perfect sense because Harrington started out as a receiver before he moved to running back when the Cougars decided they had a need at that position. As he showed last season with numerous big plays off screens, he’s got great hands, and will likely adapt quickly to his new role. Of course, whether or not Harrington will stay at H-receiver has yet to be determined.
“Not sure yet, we’re gonna check him out. I thought he looked really good today,” Mike Leach said after practice on Wednesday. “We want to see if we can get as many playmakers as we can on the field. And he’s got some experience there too.”
Leach told Thorpe and other reporters that Harrington and Morrow would have been the two candidates most well-equipped to thrive in a switch to receiver, but said Harrington was picked to switch because Morrow is having a solid preseason, and Harrington, a sophomore, is younger and has “more room ahead of him to develop.”
He described Morrow, a junior, as the “most complete back of the four right now.”
The Cougs’ head coach also seems bullish on the reconfigured offensive line. When asked to explain what accounted for the improvement in the run game, Leach cited three factors: “We’re better up front and we’ve got a little more experience up front than we’ve had, as the running backs have gotten older they’ve improved and gotten more precise, and to a lesser degree, our quarterbacks are doing a pretty good job of getting them into plays. (Andre) Dillard is real quick and (Cody) O’Connell is big enough he creates a lot of space out there.”
Based on what they showed in fall camp, expect Morrow to get the start, but watch for Williams to come on strong and he hits his stride over the course of the season. Wicks (6-foot, 227-pounds) is a big, bruising back, and if he can play with the kind of physicality he exudes, opponents will have a tough time tackling him.
In other news:
— Thorpe also reports that walk-on quarterback Christian Jorgenson has left the team.
— Walk on safety Colton Teglovic, a fifth year senior who’s been a big factor for the Cougs in special teams play, was rewarded with a scholarship on Wednesday.