Meet the new guy: WSU wide receivers coach Nick Edwards

Edwards coached Cooper Kupp in college, worked in NFL

LUKE WESTFALL, Evergreen sports co-editor

This offseason has been filled with turnover for WSU football, with players graduating, coming and going via the transfer portal and coaching changes. But WSU has filled their last open coaching spot with the hiring of Nick Edwards, an experienced coach and accomplished player.

Edwards played wide receiver at Eastern Washington University, earning FCS all-American honors and winning an FCS National Championship. After graduating, he played on multiple NFL team’s practice squads, including the Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. He then turned down an offer from the Canadian Football League to begin his coaching career.

All that playing experience helped him understand what needs to be done for players to accomplish their goals. His experience helped him develop the players he has coached into high-achieving players, Edwards said.

“As a player and playing in the NFL, all that has helped me develop the mentality that I want for my position, help me understand the fundamentals that go into the position so I can be successful,” Edwards said.

Edwards became the wide receivers coach for EWU for three seasons, coaching NFL talents like Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne.

“[Edwards] sees the game better than just about any coach I’ve ever had,” Kupp said in an ESPN article.

Kupp had no stars to his name coming out of high school and has become one of the NFL’s best receivers. The key to finding hidden talents like Kupp is what you do not see in the film, Edwards said.

“The number one thing for me, you know playing the position and being around the position is in-person evaluation. The film can tell you one thing but once you see a player move around in person, that is key,” Edwards said. “Two is the things you can’t see on film or in-person, that is to get to know the individual: how is his mentality, how is his work ethic, how is his character.”

He also was a WR and running backs coach at University of California Golden Bears for three seasons and the offensive coordinator for Cal Poly University for two seasons. Most recently Edwards was an offensive assistant for the Atlanta Falcons where he assisted the offensive coordinator with game-plan duties. 

“The number one thing I got out of it is there’s no key to success, at the end of the day it’s through hard work,” Edwards said. “The way the coordinator was able to process and watch film and process the information and be able to break it down a step further, you know, what’s the best play, why to run it and when to run it. So it’s really just his routine and the way he saw the game.”

Outside of just college success, a coach’s goal at this level is to help players transcend to the professional level. Edwards said that his experience and achievements help his message get through to college athletes.

“Being able to coach two guys, really three guys that were able to play in the NFL and still playing to this day, it just carries more weight as you’re coaching the players and talking to players about certain situations and certain experiences,” Edwards said.

With so many moving pieces, Edwards has plenty on his plate. It’s really just about meeting every player and talking to every player and getting to work, Edwards said.

“There’s a lot of meetings and a lot of one on one dialogues for me to get to know the athlete, so I know how to push him and then giving these guys the tools, you know, through technique and stuff to be successful on Saturdays,” Edwards said.

Edwards said the three things that will help the players the most on Saturdays are confidence, competitiveness and toughness. The team may have a lot to do between now and the season opener, but the expectations are in place.

“Our expectation is to go ahead and you know, put a really good product on the field. So when other teams watch our film, that they see a good product and they see you know a group of guys competing at a high level and you know making plays on Saturday,” Edwards said.

The Cougars have a new offensive coordinator, three wide receivers transferred, two more graduated and four are transferring in along with this year’s recruiting class. All things considered, it is safe to say Edwards’ hiring is highly anticipated to be a potential program changer.