PULLMAN – When is a career day a bad thing?
Colorado sophomore wide receiver Paul Richardson knows the answer to that question.
After hauling in 11 passes for 284 yards – both school records – three weeks ago in a 33-30 overtime nonconference loss to California, Richardson has become the center of attention to opposing defenses.
“It’s a lot of respect,” he told the Boulder Daily Camera this week, “but at the same time I have to be able to be that playmaker and that guy that goes out there and despite whatever the defense has out there, I’ve got to be able to make those plays.”
But he hasn’t recently.
In the two games since his school record, one win and one loss, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder has caught a total of eight passes for 65 yards.
And it’s not just the attention of the opposing defenses.
“I think he’s also had six drops,” said Colorado coach Jon Embree. “That’s part of it too.”
Drops or not, Washington State’s goal in Saturday’s Pac-12 opener for both schools – the first Pac-12 game in Boulder – is to not let Richardson run free.
After all, Embree hasn’t lost faith in his top receiver.
“We’ll continue to try to get him the ball,” Colorado’s first-year coach said.
“You watch him against Cal, he just puts on a show,” WSU defensive coordinator Chris Ball said. “He catches the ball and he can do something with it, that’s what’s scary.”
There’s a lot to fear in a guy who caught 34 passes for 514 yards last season and, despite the two-week drought, is among the nation leaders with 398 yards on 22 catches.
“He’s a lot like Marquess (Wilson), but Marquess is probably more of a vertical threat,” said WSU cornerback Nolan Washington, who goes up against Wilson every day in practice. “But they’re very similar. Richardson’s a little faster so I have to be ready to match his speed and try to be physical with him so he can’t just get a free release off the ball.”
“He’s very talented and fast,” Ball added. “He’s got great speed, great quickness. He presents a problem. You have to know where he’s at.
“He’s got a lot of big-play ability, which is probably the scariest thing.”