October 27, 2012; Stanford, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Bobby Ratliff (82) catches a pass during the fourth quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. The Cardinal defeated the Cougars 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
I mean in no way to diminish the importance of 18 other coaches on this team, as their influence could be seen as the year progressed last season. Nor do I mean to demean all of the good coaches in the last 10 years and I think we all know there have been some pretty incredible individuals running around the field and catching footballs at record setting clips recently.
They might say that Yost is just another coach in a string of good coaches and that’s fine.
Regardless, it’s my belief that David Yost will combine with Leach to do something that a lot of other good coaching duos just cannot do: Re-instill the passion to be great for team and coach all at once, without personal agenda on the table.
When that happens, kids begin to want to make the “next big play” and it doesn’t matter if it means clearing out space for a teammate, throwing the “spring” block or making the critical first down catch. They begin to see it, to envision it happening. Catches like the one Bobby Ratliff is making in the picture become second nature.
Players begin to carry football’s around campus and into class. They begin to have fun playing the game that they love. And then, they begin to inherit the desire to win, in everything. In the end, this is the difference between a team that hopes to make plays but can’t, and a team that seems to make plays at all the right times, every time.
If you’ll remember back to last season it seemed the Cougars lacked the confidence or toughness to make that play. The receivers were the number one offenders in this category and I do believe when they weren’t making plays, it affected the team.
For example it was most aggravating to watch a wide open receiver drop a touchdown opportunity when WSU really needed somebody to make a play. The defense felt that frustration, lost focus and promptly came out and gave up a game-altering drive for a touchdown in those instances and now you have a team failing for each other instead of fighting for eachother.
It was in no way Eric Morris’ fault, who coached the inside receivers before taking off to Texas Tech over the offseason. Just don’t expect that to be the case in 2013 with Yost leading the group.
Instead, expect the receivers to lead the charge for the entire Cougar team. And not just the inside receivers, because Dennis Simmons, who is himself a players’ coach and intriguing personality, will challenge his outside guys to outperform the inside group daily and there will spark a fierce competition within the entire receiving corps. Embracing this mentality is what dawns greatness. If you’ve forgotten what that is around here, get ready because you may see it coming back this year.
Yost will play a big part in it all.