PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 8: Running back Rickey Galvin #5 of the Washington State Cougars carries the ball over the goal line on a 21 yard pass play in the fourth quarter against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Pasadena, California. UCLA won 28-25. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
So Rickey Galvin is a wide receiver. Well, he's a wide receiver for now. Today or tomorrow or the next day? Who knows. He might be a running back again.
But for now he's running routes and catching passes, which makes sense if you think about it. He'd be doing quite a bit of that anyway as a running back -- after all, Leach's backs are basically receivers that also stay in for pass protection and run the ball once in a while. Only difference is the route combinations Galvin is learning to run and the place he's lined up.
But before we call this change permanent and label Galvin an inside receiver, let's take a step back for a moment to examine the why. Galvin came to WSU as a running back and has always been a running back in college, so the change is significant, even if it does make quite a bit of sense.
When asked whether Galvin has been moved to receiver or is just working out with the position group, Leach had this to say:
"We're looking at him there. He's got really good ball skills and always has -- and cuts really well. And then, we've got several running backs taking off that don't necessarily have the versatility that he has. And the thought is just to figure out a way to get as much talent on the field as we can."
The thought that kept crossing my mind was that Galvin wasn't necessarily going to be a slot receiver, but instead may be getting reps at a different position to both hone his pass catching skills and add an extra element to his game. He knows the running back position, but if he can be moved around and work both out of the backfield and the slot, it adds an extra wrinkle to the gameplan.
And then there's the skillset Galvin possesses. With his speed and elusiveness, he's great in the open-field and in space. His weaknesses, though, center around the punishment that comes with the running back position and his ability to read blocks. Often times he'd take a big hit last year because he zigged when he should've zagged. And his willingness to try and run through defenders led to him getting banged up quite a few times.
Put Galvin in the slot and he's able to shine. Leach's offense is all about space, and putting receivers into space to let them make plays. Quick passes serve almost as running plays, and Leach wants to get the ball into his playmakers hands while exploiting holes in the defense. Galvin can do more of this out of the slot than in the backfield.
But, as Leach said, Galvin working as a receiver at the moment may be because of a variety of factors. It's early in fall camp, and now is the time coaches are experimenting with players, moving guys around to try different positions. It also gives Galvin more reps and a little bit of time to pick up an extra skill that may prove useful down the line, even if he heads back to working primarily as a running back.
So don't etch Galvin in as wide receiver in stone yet. He could stick, or it could be another experiment that's only temporary. But at this point in the process, it doesn't hurt to give him a look and see what he's got.