PULLMAN – Myron Beck may never be Washington State University’s fastest or biggest player.
He may never be a guy who other teams game plan around.
He may never be WSU’s most valuable player … wait, that’s wrong. He already has been.
Beck, a 6-foot, 209-pound junior, earned the Cougars’ defensive MVP award last week against Arizona, not because he excelled at one position but because he was key at two.
Beck’s not the Cougars’ biggest linebacker or their fastest safety, but he does play both, each week answering the call to fill whichever breach appears in WSU’s injury-riddled defense.
“It’s not hard at all,” Beck will tell you, despite all evidence to the contrary.
This week, Beck will play some Will, or weak-side linebacker, and some strong safety, teaming with freshman Jay Matthews to fill the gap left by usual starter Chima Nwachukwu’s sprained ankle.
“It’s a lot harder to do than people think,” said co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball, who also coaches the safeties. “When you are playing Will and safety, they are sort of interchangeable.
“But as far as reads and keys, they are quite a bit different.”
Beck, who attended Seattle’s Ingraham High with receiver Jeffrey Solomon then spent two years at Glendale College in California, finds that aspect of the challenge actually the easiest.
“In our defense, you’ve got to know everything, because you don’t know what’s going to happen on any given day,” he said. “If you know the defense inside out, you can play any position on the field.
“When you watch film and you know the defense, you just take notes on everything during the meetings, so it’s not hard at all.”
Beck, playing mostly at linebacker this season, has 25 tackles and two interceptions – including one he returned 67 yards for a late score in the win over Southern Methodist.
Last year, playing safety early and linebacker late, he finished with 34. But he also missed the final four games with a back injury, which made offseason surgery necessary.
Ticketed to play linebacker this year, Beck tried to put on weight during his rehabilitation.
“I was fresh off (back) surgery, but I tried to get as big as I could,” he said. “I gained 10 extra pounds, so, yeah, I bulked up. Got stronger, got a lot stronger actually.”
Beck also has mental strength, according to Cougars head coach Paul Wulff.
“He’s a very mature guy,” Wulff said. “He’s battled the whole back issue, having back surgery.
“To do what he can do, and he’s still not 100 percent, he’s very, very valuable for us.”
“He’s a great kid,” Ball said. “He’s somebody, if your son ends up being like Myron Beck, you would be pretty proud of him.”