Mike Leach reportedly hired his Elf to work with the inside receivers. No part of the previous sentence should even make you flinch, especially if you understand how Leach's offense works. The Elf is, of course, Eric Morris, a short but shifty slot man who played for Leach at Texas Tech. Essentially, Morris will be coaching his own position.
Morris is the new guy on the staff and comes to Washington State without any formal assistant coaching experience. But don't take that as Leach hiring a guy who has zero experience at all. Morris spent his last two years as a GA at Houston, where he served as a quality control assistant in 2010 and offensive assistant in 2011.
And who else coaches at Houston and holds ties to Leach? One of his former quarterbacks at Texas Tech, Kliff Kingsbury, is the co-offensive coordinator. Now the connections all start to come together. Morris has spent the past two years working under Kingsbury, who utilizes many of the same principles and theories on the offensive side of the ball.
It's interesting to note how Leach's former players fit into his coaching tree. Kingsbury is a rising star at Houston, utilizing much of what he learned at Tech. Clay McGuire was with Leach at Tech before heading to East Carolina and now, reportedly, joining the staff at Washington State. They learn as players and then apply it when the time comes to transition into coaching.
I expect Morris to follow the same path. Here's a heady wide receiver who's drawn from his experience playing under Leach. In Swing Your Sword, Morris recalls the halftime speech Leach gave the team at the Insight Bowl. The Red Raiders were down big at the half and Leach approached the halftime message in a simple, but analytical way. Texas Tech came back from a 31-point deficit to win. It was the largest comeback in Division 1A bowl history.
So while Morris doesn't have the experience as a college assistant, he has all the makings of a solid addition to Leach's staff. He's the son of a coach, growing up in a coaching household, and seems to be a perfect fit as the inside receiver's coach. What's better than having a slot guy in Leach's system at Texas Tech come to Washington State to coach the position he played?
And if the career paths of the former players Leach has plucked to become his assistants is any indications, Morris could have a bright future in the profession. Keep an eye on him as he works with the new elves at Washington State.