Talking Xs and Os with Morris and Breske

MERCER ISLAND – How do you integrate tight ends into the Air Raid Offense? In a candid interview, inside receivers coach Eric Morris touched on that and more with CF.C. Morris offered insight on the evolving coaching dynamic shared with outside receivers guru Dennis Simmons, how he intends to use Max Hersey, when the coaching staff will decide on Robert Lewis's immediate future and more.

"Obviously he was a little light coming in," Morris said before Saturday's Northwest Elite Football Camp of Lewis, the ultra-talented but 152-pound future Coug.

According to Morris, whom Mike Leach nicknamed "The Evil Elf" back during his inside receiver days with Leach at Texas Tech, the WSU coaching staff is waiting to see if Lewis can add the necessary mass to justify a redshirt season.

If the Cougs instead decide to grayshirt the three-star prospect from South Gate, Calif., he won't enroll in classes until January, effectively saving a year of eligibility while gaining an extra six months of weight training under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo.

"He was a little bit under 140 (pounds in January). We'll probably sit down in the next week or so and try to figure it out," Morris said.

WHILE THE STAFF ponders their plan for Lewis, Morris sounded supremely confident in his new role interacting with Simmons. Most schools don't have two receiver coaches, but Morris said he's focused on educating each player about the spot he excelled at while playing for Leach.

"We meet separately on a day-to-day basis but then on the field we'll do drills together so we're obviously working together for the same cause," he said. "Responsibilities are different throughout the offense so it's just easier when you're playing four-wide."

One player Morris will place an emphasis on developing is Hersey.

A tight end groomed for a more traditional I-form offense, Morris said Hersey could complement Andrei Lintz's pass-catching skills with smash-mouth blocking from more than one position.

However, it looks like Hersey will be asked to walk first, then run.

"Max Hersey is going to do a couple of things for us in some bigger sets, play some tight end and some h-back. He is a tough kid that is young. He has a ways to go still but he's someone in a couple years that we could use in a lot of different sets," Morris said.

Morris said based on the early returns this spring, he sees Hersey in 2012 as a blocker first and foremost.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • As reported earlier on CF.C, Morris will be Leach's game-day eyes up in the booth. Morris said linebackers coach Jeff Choate will also be up in the booth, helping with coverages and on a line with defensive coordinator Mike Breske, who will be on the sidelines. A last minute change saw o-line coach Clay McGuire come to the NW Elite Camp instead of Choate.

  • Breske said in a brief interview before camp that the May evaluation period was extremely successful, calling the reception from prep and junior college coaches "awesome." According to Breske, the Cougars currently have roughly 150 offers out to a combination of high school and junior college recruits.

  • Breske also expressed optimism when asked about the implementation of his 3-4 defense, noting the summer workouts should continue to sharpen the transition before fall camp begins in August. However, when asked to name his two-deeps at linebacker while summer workouts intensify, he went the gallows humor route. "Right now if the season started I don't even know if we are two deep," Breske quipped.

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