In the aftermath of the Apple Cup we haven’t addressed Mike Leach’s final press conference of the season, in which he described the Cougars’ plan for the future, the interest level in his coaching services and how things are going to be run from now on at Washington State. Clearly, the coach was still in his 24/7 mode, describing that the Cougars will be lifting 4 days a week and that recruiting was 3 weeks earlier than he was ready for (due to WSU missing out on bowl season). Most vehemently though, he discussed his coaching style and said it’s not changing based on whining or players leaving (one can only assume he was talking in retrospect to Marquess Wilson’s situation, though he specifically said he didn’t know the place that the question was referring to):
Some of my best teams had at least 1 player leave that year… My best players have always been harder on themselves than we could ever be… To a certain extent there’s always been a certain amount of whining. If a player doesn’t like football, then maybe he ought to quit. Or go find a team where they don’t coach very hard, where lacksidasical effort is allowed… People don’t join football, they don’t coach football, they don’t watch football to watch people go out there and do things easy and lazy. If they wanted it to be comfortable, it wouldn’t be called football in the first place.”
When asked what they would call it, Leach responded “Not football. A social maybe? Cuddling? They’d call it cuddling!”
It’s very apparent that Washington State will have Leach for a while as he said that there is always dialogue that takes place but he’s very satisfied in staying put and building a competitive program, as opposed to starting and jolting to start somewhere else. Also, interestingly he is very positive on the progress of the offensive line, although he does say that both offensive and defensive lines will be a key focus of recruiting (which has already become evident with some verbal commitments recently). Leach detailed that this is the first place he’s ever been where every offensive snap was handled by 6 linemen this season, quoting 8 as a usual number of bodies available.
No matter what you work to improve. I tell you what was really impressive about him. (Elliot Bosch) never played, never started, was a walk-on. Now he’s on scholarship. He’s really good from the neck up. He got everybody lined up, which was challenging because our lineup changed all the time. He really did a good job holding it together and was voted captain by his teammates a number of times. I thought a gritty, determined effort.”
Well, it’s off to recruiting and the offseason. It seems Leach is happy in the direction of the team, quoting several times how young the team is and saying that it’s all about growing and being competitive. In fact he said they are going to put the players in situations where they’ll be able to compete against each other and the coaches will keep track. Leach finished by pointing out that the Cougars are in a transition period and he’s excited about getting more guys in the program that are excited about competing and that don’t like to lose.