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Washington State freshman WR Bell bringing upbeat attitude, production to Cougars

UPDATED: Sun., Sept. 24, 2017, 8 p.m.

Washington State Cougars wide receiver Renard Bell (81) and Nevada Wolf Pack defensive back Dameon Baber (5) battle for a ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Renard Bell (81) and Nevada Wolf Pack defensive back Dameon Baber (5) battle for a ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Mike Leach would surely hear from the NCAA if it ever did happen, but the Washington State coach says he wouldn’t mind sharing a hotel room with freshman receiver Renard Bell the night before a game – if only to pilfer some of Bell’s charisma.

“He never gets in his own way, he’s like one of the most incredible upbeat guys even though he’s kind of quiet,” Leach said after WSU’s 45-7 rout of Nevada Saturday at Martin Stadium. “He’s always kind of cheery, so if you’re in a crummy mood – long story short, I need to hang out with Renard Bell all the time. As a matter fact, next game I think I’m going to room with Renard Bell.”

Again, that’s probably a no-go, but Leach will get plenty of quality time these next few years with Bell, who’s still just a redshirt freshman for the Cougars.

And if the numbers through four games are any indication, the coach can count on getting a whole lot of production, too.

Bell turned four passes into 113 receiving yards Saturday night and the inside receiver has been one of Luke Falk’s best safety valves this season despite debuting as a Pac-12 football player just 22 days ago.

The Los Angeles native has started for WSU at the “H” receiver in all four games. Senior Robert Lewis was supposed to anchor that position for the Cougars, but hasn’t played all season because of a lower-body injury and it’s unlikely he’ll return by the year’s end.

Bell has hardly missed a beat in his place. Saturday was the second time the WSU slot receiver, rather unassuming at 5-foot-8, 162 pounds, has reached the century mark in receiving yards. He also did it against Boise State, catching seven passes for 107 yards.

“He’s an extremely coachable guy,” Leach said. “He does what you tell him to do. … He puts you in a good mood and the thing is, he does exactly what you tell him and steadily has improved and he’s improved a lot between the end of last season.”

Falk, WSU’s senior quarterback, agrees wholeheartedly with Leach. He says he’s uplifted simply by being in the same room as Bell.

As for actually sharing his living quarters with the slot receiver? Falk says he’ll hold off.

“He’s a guy like (running back) Jamal Morrow, they’re never in a bad mood,” he said. “You get around them and the energy they have just feeds off of you. Renard does some questionable stuff that I probably wouldn’t want to room with him, but he’s a great energy guy and fun teammate to be around.”

Questionable stuff, such as?

“His Snapchat dancing and all that stuff,” Falk said. “We’ll keep at that.”

Thankfully, Bell spends as much time dancing through defensive secondaries these days. That’s a jig Falk and the Cougars can certainly put up with.