Cougar running backs Keith Harrington already making for a good problem this spring, says Jim Mastro

KEITH HARRINGTON headed into spring ball, on paper, faced a tall order in rejoining a stacked running backs trio at Washington State. But Jim Mastro on the radio Monday said that Harrington is looking right at home through the first two days of spring.

It’s hard to draw firm conclusions until the pads go on, Jim Mastro said on Cougar Calls with Bill Moos on Monday. That said, Harrington (pictured above) is off to fast start this spring alongside fellow running backs Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks and James Williams.

“The first two days, you saw the Keith Harrington of old,” said Mastro. “So we’re sitting here now saying, ‘OK now there are four guys who can play probably at any school in this league. So what are we going to do?’ It’s a great problem to have. We’ll go through spring and after spring we’ll sit down, myself and Coach Leach and the offensive staff, and we’ll make a determination on how to move forward.”

Four running backs with experience under their belts, and all pushing one another this spring, is something Mastro seems to be fully enjoying.

“Right now, it’s competition galore -- and that’s how you get better. When you know you can lose your job at the drop of a dime, that’s what made those three guys so good last year. They knew if they had a bad day, a bad practice or a bad game, they were going to get replaced. It sounds harsh but that’s just how it is,” said Mastro.

The trio of Morrow, Wicks and Williams collectively rushed for 1,600-plus yards, along with 1,000-plus receiving yards, scoring 31 touchdowns last year. As good as those numbers were, Mastro said they also left some yards and TDs out on the field.

“All three have a lot to work on this spring. Hopefully those numbers were just a starting point. Hopefully next year we can top ‘em,” said Mastro.

Mastro also was asked about wide receiver, where WSU is replacing Gabe Marks and River Cracraft, both of whom played as true freshmen. The difference from when Mike Leach first arrived, Mastro said, is that now the Cougars have talent that has been developing in the pipeline at WSU.

“Even at receiver, you lose Gabe and River – don’t get me wrong they’re two of the best receivers this school has ever seen. And we think we’ll replace them with kids just as good. We hope that’s the case and that’s because you recruited them, you redshirted them, you’ve developed them. And now they’re ready to play,” said Mastro.

Mastro said per NCAA rules the Cougs will don shoulder pads the next two days before putting on full pads on Day Five. There is also one more helmets-only practice required by the NCAA, which Mastro said the Cougs will utilize the day before the spring game.

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