Washington State has officially lost two coaches to Texas schools this week, as inside receivers coach Eric Morris is heading to Texas Tech in a yet to be disclosed position. This is a somewhat legitimate blow in the recruiting arena, as well as a bit of a blow to the daily operations of Mike Leach and his staff. One would think that to always be the case when you lose a coach, but it’s not always as serious, as was the case when Jeff Choate (previously WSU’s LB’s coach) bolted for the opportunity to be a defensive coordinator at UTEP.
Morris’ departure has already effected the class of 2013, as DeMarcus Ayers decommitted yesterday and immediately put Tech in the conversation for his services. He didn’t rule out WSU, but he opened it up and already has 20 offers on the table. Among his statements about the move to Texas Tech by Morris, ESPN quoted Ayers as saying:
That one kind of hurt me. He was the main reason I wanted to be there. He was kinda like my coach and my best friend at the same time.
Morris was largely considered one of WSU’s best recruiters and had a pretty big area, largely covering Arizona, California Inland Empire and Dallas (which covers the majority of the class right now). While he does have help from other coaches in there, he had his hands pretty deep in the commitments of players like WR River Cracraft and DE/Buck Malik Jenkins. He was also likely largely involved with Arizona Brophy Prep’s QB Tyler Bruggman and S Myron Turner out of Desoto, TX. There hasn’t been any movement among those players to this point but it’s conceivable that they will think about reopening their options as well.
As for the daily ops, Morris was as near an offensive coordinator as WSU has, keeping Mike Leach (who runs his own offense) in the loop on gameday from the press box. It’s safe to assume that he was one of Leach’s closest communicators (along with assistant Eric Russell) overall. Obviously it’s already become an issue, so for recruiting reasons, it’s likely that Washington State will move quickly to secure an assistant known as a good recruiter. It will be interesting to see how Leach approaches what I see as 3 options for the 2 available positions:
- Move a current coach to booth and hire each an inside WR coach and LB’s coach (best and most likely option in my opinion)
- Hire a package deal at either inside WR’s or LB’s for the booth (preferably a coach Leach has worked with before, if said coach can be lured or is available)
- Move positions within the staff to accommodate for available assistants at other positions (probably a stretch, but is an outside option, especially for WR’s)
We wish coach Morris the best in his travels to Lubbock, in whatever position he takes. I do however hope that he puts in a really good word for the Cougs to Ayers (wink, wink).