Gabe Marks and Dom Williams are putting up record numbers in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. The pair, who were each named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list this season, are racing towards the top of the Washington State all-time receptions, yards and touchdown lists as they inch toward the end of their college careers.
Little did they know, however, that seven years prior as middle schoolers playing EA Sports' NCAA Football 2008, a college football video game, they would already be learning the ins and outs of the very offense they would soon enough be starring in, as ESPN's Chantel Jennings detailed in yesterday's Pac-12 Blog.
Williams, of course, was already at Washington State when Leach was hired following the 2011 season. Marks, however, had already, in a way, been recruited by Leach before the Cougars' head coach ever stepped foot in his Southern California living room, thanks in large part to Texas Tech's 2008 offense.
You see, Marks and Williams, along with several others receivers on the roster, were each enamored with that Red Raiders offense they saw on TV during the late 2000s, which featured Heisman contenders Graham Harrell — now, rather coincidentally, the man leading their team meetings — and Michael Crabtree.
It was an offensive "machine," as they dubbed it, and so, when flipping through the countless teams throughout the country to play with, Marks and other Cougar receivers always landed on that Texas Tech squad led by the guy that would end up walking into their living room. From there, it didn't take much convincing from Leach to get them to play in an offense they had already become obsessed with as kids.
Texas Tech's 2008 season helped recruit many of Washington State's WRs - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
Once in a while you get a deal where players will think the offense just takes care of everything, all these magic plays just solve everything," Leach said. "But you have to be a fairly tough, mean, gritty person who's willing to invest a lot of hard work to really be effective.
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