To bring better synchronization to the two receiver positions, assistant coaches Dave Nichol and Derek Sage switched responsibilities at the start of fall camp
In three years at Washington State, junior receiver Kyle Sweet has had three different position coaches.
This fall, he got a fourth. But at least this time, the ‘new’ assistant coach was a guy already on the staff.
At the start of fall camp, WSU football coach Mike Leach pulled a switcheroo and asked his two receivers coaches to switch positions. As of this week, Dave Nichol is coaching Sweet and the inside receivers, while Derek Sage is now with the outside receivers.
Sage, who replaced JaMarcus Shephard as inside receivers coach in January, said Leach informed them of the switch right before camp started on Wednesday, but added that the move has been a smooth one.
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“You look at it as a challenge. I look forward to those,” Sage said. “I want to know new people, want to know new guys. Each group is different.”
Leach said he decided on the change because he wanted to cross-train both groups of receivers to give each a better understanding of the other’s responsibilities.
“They were well-coached (in 2016). I think they played hard, but as far as the outside guy understanding why the inside guy does (and vice-versa) I didn’t think that was real well synchronized. So I wanted to improve that,” Leach said.
Also, Nichol and Sage bring different backgrounds and different coaching styles to the table, so Leach wants to give all his receivers the benefit of everything both coaches have to offer.
“I feel like there’s a lot of good information and I’d like to have the combination of both of them rubbing off on all our receivers,” Leach said
Nichol came to WSU from East Carolina, where he spent a year as offensive coordinator. But he got his start in coaching through Leach, playing and then coaching at Texas Tech before moving on to Baylor, Arizona and ECU.
The learning curve is a little steeper for Sage than it is for Nichol.
Until this year, Sage had never worked for Leach. But he’s admired Leach’s work for a long time, and says he always kept up with Air Raid principles.
Sage came to WSU from Toledo, where he spent three seasons as receivers coach. Before that, he was on the same Wyoming coaching staff as WSU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. His first coaching job came at…