By Brady Henderson
Washington State athletic director Bill Moos says he’s met with receiver Marquess Wilson about a possible return to the football team following his one-game suspension.
That, however, depends first on Wilson’s willingness to rejoin the team and ultimately whether coach Mike Leach will even allow it.
Marquess Wilson, WSU’s all-time leading receiver, left the team earlier this week and it’s unclear if he wants to return. (AP)
Wilson, the Cougars’ leading receiver, bolted from what has been described as an intense conditioning session Sunday night, a day after Washington State was blown out by Utah. The team suspended him for Saturday’s game against No. 17 UCLA, but it’s unclear if Wilson wants to continue playing for the Cougars.
Moos said he met with Wilson on Tuesday. Their conversation included what you might call some tough love.
“The discussion, after I gave him a big hug and told him I loved him, was about him and that he’s good but he’s not as good as he could be,” Moos said, “and that this team is lacking leadership and he should have been a leader and walking out of a conditioning practice 20 minutes into it doesn’t give that impression.”
Moos said that Wilson, already the school’s all-time leading receiver as a junior, “doesn’t always practice hard” and that he “may have been coddled a bit in earlier seasons.”
Wilson has been a target of Leach’s criticism this season. He recently lost his starting job, which likely played a role in his decision to walk out on the conditioning session. Moos believes the double teams Wilson has seen from opposing defenses added to his frustration.
“I think the frustration came to a head and he had a little bit of a meltdown,” Moos said.
The one-game suspension, Moos believes, was lenient for such a move.
“Typically, you’d have been kicked off the team,” he said.
Moos told Wilson he’d “go to bat” for him should Wilson decide he wanted to continue playing. Leach, though, has the ultimate say.
“There’s no guarantees because I don’t tell my coaches who to play, who they have to recruit, who they have to hire,” Moos said. “But I would go to bat for him because I think in that great kid there’s leadership qualities and certainly he has a chance to play at the next level.
“But like with everybody, you’ve got to play for the name in front of your jersey, not the name on the back of it.”
Update: Leach told “The Kevin Calabro Show” on Thursday that he has not spoken with Wilson since the receiver was suspended.
Leach was succinct when asked about the possibility of Wilson returning at some point this season, saying only, “I don’t know.”