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ESPN takes notice of Cougar running backs

EVER SINCE MIKE LEACH came to Pullman the media has tended to discount the Cougar running backs in comparison to their Pac-12 brethren. But after collectively crossing the 1,000-yard mark in a 9-4 season, everyone coming back, plus a second-year freshman joining the game day conversation, that seems to be changing.

Make no mistake, it’s more important to Leach and running backs coach Jim Mastro that the Cougar 'backs aim to lead the conference in all-purpose yards as opposed to rushing hashes.  But ground hashes are still the thing that draws attention when it comes to running backs, and ESPN in its Pac-12  position review headed into spring ball has taken notice.

ESPN pegs the Cougs to be in “Good Shape” rather than its customary "We'll See" when it comes to the Cougar running back corps.

“The Cougars return their three main contributors from last season -- Gerard WicksJamal Morrow and Keith Harrington,” writes ESPN.com's Kevin Gemmell.  “They combined for 1,193 yards and five rushing touchdowns as a trio. Not surprisingly, they also combined for seven receiving touchdowns.

“The Cougars only ran the ball 37 percent of the time last season but were more efficient than they’ve been the last few years. That adds a dangerous dynamic to an already explosive passing attack. Wicks is the North-South guy, Morrow (94 receptions in first two seasons) is a great run-receiving option, and Harrington is the most explosive.”

Washington State fans taking notice of last year’s Thursday Night Football reports on CF.C are well aware four Cougar running backs will be competing for turns in the spring.

“Redshirt freshman James Williams will most likely work for carries as well and might be a solid combination of all three guys,” writes Gemmell.

For the full ESPN entry, CLICK HERE.


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