It’s always an interesting time hearing Mike Leach talk about his team. In his Monday presser, he was clearly more pleased and praised his team as a whole. He also praised Casey Locker and Brett Bartolone in their abilities to be tough, but this time he ripped his receiver unit. When asked about the ‘empty corpse syndrome’ that the coach had diagnosed his team with the previous week, he responded:
No, I didn’t feel that we were corpse-like on the sideline against Cal. I thought w played hard, I thought we played with a lot of energy, I really did. You know I thought we played kind of courageously…. We just need to play with each other more.”
He was of course talking about playing more football together because the Cougs are so young, still. But when asked about his receivers, he was looking with a different set of spy glasses:
“We need touchdowns. If you hit a couple guys in the face with the football, you think they’d catch it. Here’s the thing about catching the football that’s always amazed me. It really doesn’t matter how the football’s propelled. Whether it be by a 5th grader or an all-pro quarterback or a machine. The ball is propelled and there’s a ball in the air and either you catch it or you don’t. We typically do in practice and then all the sudden, our fragile little receivers get in the endzone and they get freightened, so then all the sudden they can’t catch the ball. That’s crazy. They just need to learn to be tougher. Fortunately for them you didn’t ask me if our receivers are tough or not. If you had it wouldn’t have been the answer they’d like to hear.”
When asked if they were tough, he responded “Hell no they aren’t tough”. Singling out Brett Bartolone, Leach called him tougher than the rest of the unit and called him ahead of his time as a freshman. When asked about his receivers again, he elaborated.
I mean how do you drop 4 balls? Because if your hands weren’t in the way it’d hit you in the face. I’m talking about the kind of toughness that allows somebody that’s had a football thrown at them not hundreds, but thousands of times in a row, where they had a reasonably high level of success and then all of the sudden in some key situation where it’s thrown at them, and it would hit them in the face if their hands weren’t in the way, then all of the sudden they drop it. That kind of toughness.”
To end it all though, Leach talked about his own bobblehead, saying that his wife probably got a couple to hang over his head if she needed leverage in the future, threatening to take the shotgun to them on the back fence, Billy Martin being his favorite bobblehead and that he probably thinks less about bobbleheads than we might think.
Never short on fun analogies, Mike Leach: