Outside WRs: Making explosive plays routine

WSU OUTSIDE RECEIVERS coach Dennis Simmons is a detail-oriented tactician. And he says in that vein, top to bottom, there's lots of room for improvement from his wideouts. But if they put in the work, what will follow is that the explosive plays will start to become the norm.

It won't be difficult to ascertain if the Cougar outside receivers are living up to Simmons' expectations this season. Just look at the yards after contact.

"You go back and look at our stats, we had some explosive plays last year," said Simmons. "But there were too many for me that were left out on the field, plays that we didn't capitalize on.

"We talk about yards after contact all the time… don't run out of bounds, stick your toe in the ground. Squeeze your route more to where you can get more yards after the catch, where you can make what we would term as a routine play."

The spring showed WSU's receiving corps was deep and has the potential to put up a lot of yards. But Simmons wants the effort put forth to rise to a new level.

"I think our kids are working hard. But they've got to understand the work you put into it right now has to be more than what you put into it last year if you want to get over the hump. Last year was good enough to get us to a bowl game but we want to be better than a six-win team," said Simmons.

What do the Cougar outside receivers need to collectively improve on most?

"We need to get better on our releases, we need to get better as far as exploding off the line of scrimmage, we still need to continue to get better with yards off the catch and in attacking the ball with our hands away from our bodies. And we need to get better in being more violent with our hands on our releases," said Simmons.

As Simmons enters his third season as WSU's outside receivers coach, less learning will be required.

"We're past Year 1 and Year 2 in this offense, everyone knows where they're supposed to go and they know their assignments -- now let's maximize it," said Simmons. "Let's turn those three-yard catches into 10-yard gains, those five-yard catches into 15-yard gains.

"We had some guys who made some strides (this spring) and we had some guys who in my opinion could have done better. And we had some guys who didn't get to spend as much time on the field… whether it was because of injury or whatever. We've got to get better in order for our team to advance and take the next step forward."

We'll have some frank insights from Simmons on the outside receivers group tomorrow here on CF.C.

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