With Harrell WRs coach, what about QB belt?

IT WAS ONE of the first things Graham Harrell thought about after he was named the Cougars' new outside receivers coach: what to do about the Washington State QB belt?!

Harrell got the belt at a WWE event when he was with the Packers. At some point last year at Washington State, it became something awarded to the QB who won the skills competition before Thursday Night Football. The belt even has its own Twitter page: @WSU_TheBelt where the hardware is modestly described: "The greatest award in college athletics."

So will Harrell take the belt with him to the outside receivers group? Will he come up with some new weekly competitions for his guys that ends with the belt around one of their waists?

“That was one of the first concerns I had: 'What am I going to do about the belt>'” cracked Harrell. “I don’t think it’s going to be retired, I think the quarterbacks would be furious at me if I did that. I have a feeling it’s going to stay with the quarterbacks. Maybe I can find another one and get something going for the outside receivers too. But I have a feeling I’m going to have a hard time taking my belt back from those quarterbacks.”

Maybe when Harrell is down recruiting the Sacramento area, there will be a WWE event nearby and he can pick up a another one.

“Now you’re talking! The thing is when the quarterbacks used it, all the other positions loved it... so maybe I can get another one where the outside receivers compete for it,” said Harrell.

Connor Ennis is shown in the picture above after winning a skills competition.

WHEN THE COUGS take the field on March 26 for the first day of spring ball, Harrell will get his first chance to work directly in a practice setting with his wideouts. One of the pluses he said he’ll bring to the role: helping the wide receivers better understand the quarterback’s point of view. Things don't always work the way they're drawn up.

“I know the book says: this is how you run this route. But if you want the football, you better be right here (instead) because that’s where the quarterback is looking for you. Obviously I feel I have a pretty good understanding of the overall offense, the overall scheme of what we’re trying to accomplish. And just more than anything I think I can give them the perspective of what the quarterback sees and what he’s thinking,” said Harrell.

An opponent’s defensive tendencies will also be integral once the Cougs get into the season and in their outside receiver meetings.

“A quarterback has to know those as well as anyone… that’s something I can help the receivers with: This is what this guy is trying to take away. And this is how you beat it,” said Harrell.

WHEN HARRELL WAS an offensive analyst last season for the Cougs, he and Mike Leach had a handshake agreement that if the NFL came calling he could pick up and leave (Harrell backed up Aaron Rodgers for three seasons before coming to WSU). But now as one of nine full-fledged assistants, things have changed.

“I’m all-in on the coaching. Coach has given me so many opportunities - he gave me that opportunity to play (at Texas Tech), he’s given me that opportunity to coach… he’s my guy,” said Harrell. I’m going to do anything I can to help Coach Leach and help this program to be successful.”

Indeed, Harrell says he’s always looked at his playing career as a necessary step to get to something else.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to coach,” said Harrell. “Last year I still trained and still worked out every day but with the amount of time you have to put in with our jobs here I couldn’t really train like I was still playing -- you can’t train at that level. But I love what I’m doing now. It’s the next step in life.”


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