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Leach's Air Raid, a video game and WSU receivers

With a little help from a video game, WSU receivers were learning Mike Leach's Air Raid offense long before they were recruited.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Pac-12 bowl projections: Will 10 Pac-12 teams qualify for bowls? - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
A look at where the Pac-12 Conference's teams might end up in the postseason.

Roundtable: Who is the Pac-12's offensive player of the year? - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
The discussion doesn't leave the Pac-12 North when trying to identify the league's best offensive player. It's down to a QB and a pair of RBs.

How WSU quarterback Luke Falk could become the trendy Heisman candidate - The Seattle Times
Washington State coach Mike Leach is passionate about quarterback Luke Falk deserving to get Heisman votes, but a sophomore from Pullman has some built in disadvantages. Here's a scenario where it could just happen.

WSU Cougars WR Gabe Marks a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist - The Seattle Times
Of the three Cougars who were on this year's Belitnikoff Award watch list, only Gabe Marks has advanced to the semifinal round. Plus, more WSU football news and links.

The Seattle Times’ Pac-12 Power Rankings: All hail the No. 24 WSU Cougars - Seattle Sun Times
Last weekend's upset action blew up the Pac-12 power rankings. Who's on top? Why it's the WSU Cougars, of course.

Gabe Marks makes elite list with record-setting performance - The Spokesman Review
For the second consecutive season, a wide receiver on the Washington State football team is a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award.

Jacob Thorpe’s Pac-12 power rankings - The Spokesman Review
The cannibalization of the Pac-12 conference is complete. Stanford and Utah each pick up their second loss on Saturday, knocking them out of the playoff picture.

WSU quarterback Luke Falk is getting Heisman hype. Could he win it? - The Seattle PI
Washington State coach Mike Leach went all in on the "Luke Falk for Heisman" campaign Monday, less than 48 hours after the quarterback led the Cougars on a game-winning drive against UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

Mike Leach Gives No F#%&s, And That's Why Washington State Is Winning - VICE Sports
Washington State patched some major flaws and turned themselves from a Pac-12 laughingstock to a dangerous opponent.

Men's Basketball:

Cougars Host Bengals Friday - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
WSU hosts its second game of the season at 8 p.m. vs. Idaho State.

This week in Pac-12 men's basketball - Pac-12
Through the opening four days of the 2015-16 season, Pac-12 programs compiled a 17-3 record

Women's Basketball:

Basketball Travels to Hawaii for Rainbow Wahine Classic - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
WSU will face the Nevada Wolfpack Friday, Nov. 20, at 6:30 p.m. PT.

Cross Country:

Cougar Cross Country Heads to NCAA Championships - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
WSU men's cross country team travels to Louisville for the NCAA DI Championships this Saturday.


WSU Soccer Places Eight on Pac-12 All-Academic Teams - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Susie White led the Cougars with a first-team selection for the second-straight season.

Men's Golf:

Men’s Golf Adds Two for Next Season - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Nicklaus Chiam and Daniel Kolar have signed NLIs.