Mike Leach: Kyle Sweet has his work cut out for him at the Y this spring

PULLMAN — Here’s what makes the Y receiver position battle so compelling this spring: there’s an heir apparent, plus a returning wideout who wasn’t with the program last season, as well as a rising walk on. How are things shaking out so far? We asked Mike Leach and new inside receivers coach Derek Sage.

With the departure of star slot receiver River Cracraft, third-year junior Kyle Sweet (6-0, 192, pictured above with Leach) remains the leading candidate to take over the starting job. Leach, as usual, isn’t making any predictions about a position where WSU has such a deep talent pool, including junior Kyrin Priester (6-1, 195) and sophomore walk on Brandon Arconado (5-11, 181).

“(Sweet) is gonna have to be a pretty consistent player to hold them off, cause all three of them can each do something the other guy can’t,” said Leach.

Leach went on to note that at some receiver positions, including the Y, the term “starter” may not be the most accurate descriptor for the player listed first on the depth chart.

“We rotated quite a bit last year,” said Leach. “We’ll play with eight (receivers in the rotation). We’ll play with two at each position, and depending physically how they hold up and how good they are, somebody may take more reps.”

Sage echoed Leach’s sentiment that it might be common to see the top two guys on the depth chart both getting frequent snaps with the first team.

“The depth chart changes,” said Sage. “I roll these guys throughout practice,” he said, often putting his backups in to play with starting quarterback Luke Falk (6-4, 225).

“(Sweet) has had a strong camp ... I think Kyrin Priester’s played really well,” Sage added.

Sage also singled out fifth-year senior Robert Lewis (5-9, 170) and second-year freshman Renard Bell (5-8, 155) as having good spring sessions at the H inside position.

Meanwhile, what makes Arconado a candidate for turns is that Sage recruited him while at Toledo and clearly likes his potential.

Asked if he was surprised with how well his receivers were performing so far in camp, Sage said, “No, not one bit. These guys are well-coached. The system produces these guys to play hard. They have no other choice but to play hard for Coach Leach. That’s been ingrained in them and that’s been a pleasure to step into . . . I’m very pleased with us so far.

“If you don’t have to coach effort, it makes it a lot more fun and a lot easier to go to work every day. Now you can coach technique . . . It’s been the (most) detailed camp I’ve ever been a part of.”

As far as Sweet spending some extra time with the special teams unit, where he was effectively WSU's starting punter last season, Sage has no problem with that.

“I had a punt team for three years when I was at Wyoming and I rugby punted all the time, so I completely get it,” Sage said, adding that he’s happy with “whatever gives us better field position.”

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