WSU's Galvin warming up to new role

Two weeks from today, Washington State officially opens the Mike Leach era on national television at his alma mater -- BYU.

Rickey Galvin is pretty sure he'll be on the field. He's just not exactly sure where.

"As of now, I really don't know," Galvin said with a laugh. "But I can say that wherever coach Leach needs me, I'm willing to play there at that position. Whatever it is, I'm willing to do it. Whether that means going in the slot and spreading the defense out or working from the backfield, I'll do it. He knows what he's doing. He knows we have a game soon. So we'll just wait and see."

After being WSU's primary running back last season, where he totaled 602 yards on 114 carries with five touchdowns, Galvin's role is probably changing.

In an effort to squeeze all of the talent out of his 5-8, 176-pound frame while also bolstering an already solid receiving corps, Galvin has been spending time as a slot receiver. It's a completely different approach and mentality to the game. One that Galvin is still getting the hang of.

"I feel like I'm getting there," he said. "It's a lot to learn going to the slot. I was used to catching balls from backfield, now I'm in the flat. Learning to read the defense is completely different. There is a lot more that goes into it."

But Galvin can catch. So that's a start. Last season he hauled in 28 balls for 242 yards and a touchdown. Whatever success Leach has in his first year in Pullman, there's a good chance Galvin will play a big part in it.

And considering the way Galvin's career started, any contribution is a positive. In the first game of the 2010 season, on his first collegiate carry, he gained 2 yards against Oklahoma State. But those yards cost him, because he also broke his arm on the play.

He had been in on some special teams already, and remembers the thrill of hearing his name called on the sidelines to get in.

"It was like a dream," Galvin said. "It all happened so fast, it was crazy. I was nervous because it was going to be my first carry. I got the ball and had to make the decision to cut it up field. I was really off balance. I put my arm down in an awkward position. All of my body weight landed on my arm and it just snapped. I knew something was wrong right away so I just ran to the sideline."

And that's where he'd stay for the remainder of what turned out to be a redshirt season. But he rebounded with solid numbers in 2011. And now he finds himself on the ground floor of a new era for Cougar football.

"Everybody is on the same page in the locker room," he said. We're ready to make a turnaround and not just be a punching bag anymore. It's easy to say these things, but we need to go out and do the work. And I can see the changes in practice. We know what we have to get done and we're working to make those changes."

Change is something he'll have to get used to. But so far, he likes it.

"If I get the ball in space, I feel like I'm gone," he said. "There are a lot of people in the backfield you have to avoid. But when you get the ball [in the flat] and with some space, it's one-on-one because our wide receivers do a great job blocking. When you get that chance, anything can happen."