Washington State Football: What the Cougars Need to Do Before Next Week's Spring Game

What Does Washington State Have to Do Before the Spring Game?

4/8/14 in NCAAF   |   chris901   |   24 respect

Oct 31, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars coach Mike Leach reacts during the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsInnovation sparks change; it continues movement in a positive direction. Heading into their spring game, which is set for April 26, the Washington State Cougars need to think about innovating their offense a little more. 

Head coach Mike Leach has already developed the Air Raid offense into a unique style of play that has become a staple of his coaching technique. However, the Cougars would benefit from trying something new, starting as soon as the spring game. 

This innovation involves the use of a tight end in the offense. The Cougars have two freshman tight ends on their spring roster, Nick Begg from Santa Margarita (CA) and Cory Hutchison from Kennewick (WA).

Leach rarely uses a tight end in his offensive formations, and ignoring the potential at this position again this season would be disappointing at best. 

Both Begg and Hutchison stand at 6-foot-5, which presents a mismatch for many defensive players. Training these players like wide receivers will develop their hands enough to make catches in the middle of the field in traffic, and that will help sustain drives longer for the Cougars this season. 

Furthermore, adding a tight end -- or two -- to the offense makes opposing defenses think more. A formation showing four or five wide receivers just begs the quarterback to pass, even if it is only a screen play. Throwing a tight end in the mix suddenly makes running plays a viable option. It also provides a big blocker to guard the running back long enough to hit the hole for a big gain. 

If physical characteristics, deception and variety are not enough to convince Leach to experiment with a tight end in the spring game and beyond, then he should look at the rest of the conference. Of the 11 other teams in the Pac-12, 10 had tight ends on their roster in 2013. Seven of those 10 teams had a tight end who scored at least once during the season. 

At that point, it would hardly be innovation on the part of the Cougars. It would simply be peer pressure. 

Washington State could add another wrinkle to its offense that would make it formidable throughout the game. A hurry-up element combined with multiple formations would show a sophistication that few teams could match. If the Cougars can condition themselves to a level that will allow for such a quick offense, they will continue their ascent in the Pac-12, and they will rack up more than six wins in 2014. 

It seems unthinkable that an offense would not use a tight end when it is almost entirely predicated on the pass. It also seems like a good idea to try out a faster form of the offense during a spring game in order to see its results before the regular season begins. 

If the Cougars do decide to implement either of these two concepts into their offense, look out for a potent WSU offense in 2014.

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6/25/14   |   chris901   |   24 respect

gzackarysharp wrote:
Hey check out this alternate article to yours, bit.ly/1n5qgTM. I disagree with what you have and would like to hear your opinion to this other article.

As I said, tight ends just throw another wrinkle in the mix. Making changes to an offense keeps opponents on their toes. There is talk that WSU wants to expand its use of the tight end this season. Also, Seferian-Jenkins still scored more than Mayle last season, so I don't know how you can say he was more effective. They were about the same, if anything, and a tight end just gives the Cougars more options than lining up and doing the same thing. Still, Go Cougs.

4/9/14   |   gzackarysharp

Hey check out this alternate article to yours, bit.ly/1n5qgTM. I disagree with what you have and would like to hear your opinion to this other article.