Robert Lewis no longer Cougs’ quiet man

IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN the most crucial – and most forgotten – play of Washington State’s 2015 season. But Robert Lewis and Luke Falk haven’t forgotten about it. They were talking about it just the other day in skelly.

Facing fourth-and-five in the final moments at Rutgers in Week Two, Lewis found the soft spot between the corner and linebacker for 12 yards. If WSU doesn’t move the chains on that play, the game is lost and the Cougs fall to 0-2.

How different might the season have gone if Falk doesn’t connect with Lewis on that one play three time zones away in New Jersey? 

“He just told me with that route, he thinks I run it well -- we were just talking that the other day, said Lewis. "He told me he was looking at me because (of Rutgers' coverage). 

"I think on certain routes, Luke has a lot of confidence in me. And with him having that confidence in me, that makes me more comfortable in making the play."

Lewis and Falk will both be fourth-year juniors this season.

“We were in Thursday Night Football at the same time, so we’ve kinda had a little chemistry together,” said Lewis.

Lewis said he’s 5-9, 170-pounds heading into spring ball (starts March 24). That’s at least 20 pounds more than when he first arrived to WSU. 

His first spring, despite his lack of poundage, he did so well in a blocking drill that Mike Leach stopped practice to use Lewis as an example.

“’He says, Robert, you’re a very good blocker, how much do you weigh? I said 150, because that’s where I was at that time, and he immediately says, ‘Yeah anyway, so here’s this guy who weighs 135… who just made a good block,’ so that was pretty funny,” said Lewis.

We asked Lewis what’s the No. 1  skill a top flight inside receiver in a Mike Leach offense must have to be successful. We were surprised by his answer.

“Listening,” said Lewis.  “If you listen to Coach Leach, you can’t go wrong. He knows a lot. Of course this is his offense but he’s a very, very smart guy so if you just listen to him on certain routes and where he wants you to be, the ball will find you.”

In less than three weeks, Lewis will be out on the field for the Cougs' spring drills -- and for the first time under first-year inside receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard.

“He brings a lot of energy, he’s one of those guys who is going to make you work hard and get everything out of you,” said Lewis.

Lewis was quietly the fourth-leading receiver at WSU this past season, with 43 receptions (tied with Keith Harrington).  This offseason, Lews isa his goals include putting himself into position to make more plays and to try and become more vocal.

“Coach (Shephard) wants me to be a little more vocal,” said Lewis. “I try to lead by example and don’t say too much and try to do the right things. But I’ve talked to Coach Shephard about trying be more vocal.”

Apart from that, Lewis says he’s keeping it simple on what to specifically improve this offseason, and his goals for spring and beyond.

“I just approach it the same - Coach Leach is going to put the best guys out there I just try to do my job every day,” said Lewis. “All of us as a group just try to work hard and compete. Every day.

"I’m trying to polish my routes, turn corners out, and then stay after 7-on-7 to work with some QBs on timing… where the QB wants us to be."

RELATED STORY: Lewis’ catch in Rutgers win was everything

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