Porter/Patmon photos

WSU's Dave Nichol to incoming Coug outside WRs: Get ready

INCOMING TRUE FRESHMAN wideout Grant Porter has the skillset to play inside receiver at Washington State. But you can pencil him in at the X or Z, outside wide receivers coach Dave Nichol said on Bill Moos’ radio show this week. And Nichol didn’t sound as if the Cougs were bringing in Porter or Dezmon Patmon to keep them on the sidelines in Year One.

“They’re going to have every opportunity to play,” Nichol said of Porter (6-2, 185) and Patmon (6-4, 202).  “Dezmon Patmon, I got to know a little bit down there in San Diego (in January) who Coach Grinch recruited. Coach Wilson recruited Porter - I think he’s going to end up starting with us on the outside first.”

Gabe Marks, of course, is a lock at the Z.  And Tavares Martin is the leading candidate at the X and had a good outing in the Crimson and Gray game. Beyond those two, the Cougs have true freshman Isaiah Johnson (who got his feet wet this spring as an early enrollee) and walk on Kaleb Fossum, who played well this spring, particularly early.

But the Cougs generally use an eight-man rotation at their four receiver spots, with four wideouts at the X and Z positions. And that means the door is open for Porter and Patmon.

“We’re a little down on numbers right now,” said Nichol of his outside receivers group (Kyrin Priester was moved to the inside this spring).

Nichol said his main message for Martin this spring was that he’s no longer a freshman with low expectations – he’s now a potential starter being counted on for significant production.

“That’s just kind of what we’ve talked about just daily and how he’s got to handle that and how his approach has to be really on point… he’s a good kid and he’s been working pretty hard,” said Nichol.

Nichol, similar to how former outside WRs coach Graham Harrell, also works with the Cougar quarterbacks having been a QBs coach at East Carolina.

“They’re a really good group of guys -- that sounds so simple but that’s what you want with that group,” said Nichol.  “You know, I think Luke (Falk)’s pretty good (laugh). He can make you right when you’re wrong as coaches sometimes. I think our depth has a chance to be good. They have to continue to work through the summer, (Tyler) Hilinski and (Peyton) Bender.”

Nichol also said he enjoyed his first spring game experience in Spokane.

“I thought it was a neat deal up there in Spokane, and that will be one of my areas in recruiting. I was, I think, the only guy that went up to the press box and was on the headset… I was happy for the most part with the effort of my guys,” said Nichol.

Bill Moos asked Nichol to compare the Cougs’ athleticism overall with other top teams.

“I think it’s right up there, I know that sounds like a boring answer but I’m seeing what you guys are seeing. What’s fun to see is how competitive our practices are, and that’s what you have to have. If kids just know they’re going to be ‘the guy’ and nobody is there pushing them, boy it just doesn’t matter,” said Nichol.

Nichol, who spent five seasons at Arizona (four as an assistant coach) before his three years at East Carolina, said he’s been impressed with his fellow assistant coaches’ recruiting efforts.   “This is easily the best recruiting staff I have ever been on,” said Nichol.

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