Cougs shake things up on the corner

THINGS WERE ALREADY highly intriguing at the cornerback position before spring ball kicked off out at Washington State. But with Sebastian LaRue moving from wideout to corner, it's now become downright fascinating to see what happens next.

CF.C asked Mike Leach the day before spring ball began if there was any thought to moving a receiver over to corner (or safety) given the lack of experience.

"We've got a lot of new faces out there, we'll have to see what their skills sets are," said Leach at the time. "There's always thoughts on how to get people on the field. Everybody's got a certain athletic talent set, (you) try to identify what they are and get them on the field as fast as you can."

With LaRue switching to the other side of the ball, it seems reasonable to assume that through seven practices, the play at corner hasn't been all the staff would like -- not from those running with the 1s, nor the 2's and not on a consistent enough basis. There could be other layers to it as well.

Leach and his staff constantly extoll the benefits of competition. With LaRue joining the corners group, what should follow the rest of this spring is for Daquawn Brown, Charleston White, Marcellus Pippins and Tracy Clark to feel even more compelled to raise the level of their game.

The Cougs are stacked at receiver and LaRue does not have a redshirt year available. If LaRue receives a waiver from the NCAA and doesn't have to sit out this season after transferring from Texas A&M, but isn't ready to wrestle a starting job from a veteran WSU wideout, maybe the way he best contributes in 2014 is on defense.

The take from here is that LaRue is most likely to play receiver when it's all said and done but who knows, maybe he tears it up at corner the rest of spring and by month's end, he's become a legitimate starting CB candidate in the here and now.

Maybe what takes place over the next couple of weeks is LaRue plants himself firmly in the mix at corner and as a return man. Maybe Leach even adds to that at some point, and puts him in at receiver for a few plays a game as well. He has that kind of athletic potential. Coming out of high school, analysts opined he could develop into an excellent college receiver or corner.

There are 3-4 corners scheduled to arrive in time for the Cougs' fall camp, but you're still looking at a group that has never taken a Pac-12 snap.

Until the Cougs get well into the fall session, the jury will be out on whether Kevin Griffin, Patrick Porter or Sulaiman Hameed is ready for prime time, as Brown was a year ago. Our take is Deion Singleton is probably a safety but the general rule of thumb is, because corners are tougher to find than safeties, you take a look at guys who might be an either/or at the corner position first.

One of Leach's mantras, one that his assistant coaching staff has adopted, is that, ‘You're either coaching it, or allowing it to happen.' Seven practices was enough when it came to the cornerbacks. It may only be spring, but Leach and Co. are looking for something more from the corner spot the rest of April.

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