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June 4, 2013

Leach is loading up on speed

It's the running back, wide receiver, cornerback, and nowadays, the quarterback running past defenders and weaving his way with relative ease into the end zone.

It's the defensive end that blows around the tackle for a sack and the returner that punters don't dare kick the ball to.

It causes your mouth to drop and your eyes bulge as you marvel at a skill that is the trending topic in all of football. You can't teach it and, in the famous words of Mike Vick, you can only hope to contain it.

Speed is all the rage in college football and the Washington State coaching staff is scouring the country looking for just that - and finding it.

In a year and a half on the job, Mike Leach has already managed to bring in more speed at skill positions than his recent predecessors combined. It speaks volumes as to what the Washington State coaching staff is attempting to implement.

The narrative is simple.

Bring in the speed guys that may have raw fundamentals and teach them the techniques for success at given positions.

Wide receiver Robert Lewis and defensive backs Alex Jackson, Rahmel Dockery and Charleston White are just a few of the names that the coaching staff brought in to polish at a position they typically didn't play at the prep level.

And they all have one thing in common: sub-4.4 forty yard times.

Lewis, Dockery and Jackson will all be second-year freshman competing for playing time this season. Both Jackson and Dockery impressed this spring after converting from wide receiver to cornerback.

Several programs recruited White as a wide receiver but committed as an athlete who the coaching staff expects to play defensive back.

As the 2014 class begins to take form, you already notice the same objective - especially on the offensive side of the ball.

The Cougars have already added two dynamic playmakers in St. Petersburg (Fla.) running back Keith Harrington and Sacramento (Calif.) running back Calvin Green. Both players put together video game numbers at the prep level and possess upper-echelon speed.

Leach is assembling an electric arsenal of athletes on the offensive side of the ball and tinkering with god-given talent on defense hoping to translate speed into success. A gamble, sure, but securing promising prospects at nearly every position in the last two recruiting classes has allowed the staff the flexibility to get creative.

The foundation and identity of this rebuild is being built with athletes and speed.

Its how the top programs recruit and the Cougars are following suit. It may take a few years before it begins paying dividends but there is one thing that is already becoming evident.

The future is fast.



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