Robert Lewis: The quiet WR in WSU Air Raid

COUGAR WIDEOUTS River Cracraft, Gabe Marks and Dom Williams will garner a lot of ink this season, and for good reason. But this year’s breakout receiver could well turn out to be third-year sophomore Robert Lewis at the H.

Robert Lewis made only three starts last season and still managed to accumulate 41 receptions.

And 17 of those catches came in just the last four games, when Luke Falk took over the helm.

What makes the 5-9, 162-pounder dangerous is his burst after getting his mitts on the ball. If defenders don’t close quickly enough, he can turn a short gain into a big one.

Wes Welker at the H was so productive Mike Leach added the H-Stick and H-Corner to the more traditional plays in the Air Raid offense: the Y-Stick and Y-Corner. And the reason why Welker was so productive? He was very adept at getting straight upfield after the catch.

No one is saying Lewis is going to be Wes Welker in 2015. But his plant and go after the catch, his ability to get upfield, should translate into bigger numbers than ’14.

Outside receivers Marks and Williams, and inside receiver Cracraft, are likely to put up bigger numbers than Lewis in '15. But Lewis could still be the determining factor between finishing off a drive with a TD rather than a field goal try or a failed fourth down attempt, the tipping point between winning and losing.

There will be lots of times when opposing defenses will key on the Cougs' more well known receiving trio. Even good pass defenses won’t be able to stop those three on a consistent basis – the Air Raid is designed to find and exploit the open spaces in a defense. Everyone knew the ball was going to Cracraft on various third down calls last year, and he still moved the chains.

But an exceptional defense will have more success against that trio. And that should in turn create some specific opportunities for Lewis.

The guess here is that in his second season at Washington State, he won’t let those opportunities pass by.

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