Article Written by Evan Baron
After starting the 2011-2012 year at an impressive 2-0 record, hopes of making a bowl game last season were at a high until the end of the season when the Washington State Cougars finished the year with an overall record of 4-8 (2-7 Pac-12). All hope was lost with this program. When were we going to be competitive in the Pac-12 again? Was this program ever going to get back to the way it was in 2000, 2001, 2002, under Mike Price? Would Martin Stadium ever see another star quarterback pick defenses apart like Bledsoe and Leaf? The best thing that could have happened to Cougar football was the firing of Paul Wulff. Yes he did start to build up the program, but C’mon man a 9-40 record?
Then in November, life was buzzing around the Washington State campus. Mike Leach is hired! Let’s focus on the football coach; leave all the off field issues a side. This is a great hire and the right man to put this program back on the map. Leach went 84-43 at Texas Tech in the tough Big-12 conference. Mike Leach’s specialty is offense. He coached San Francisco 49ers’ Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree. Coaching in the Big-12, Leach knows what it takes to win, when every week you are facing a national title opponent in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, etc. Probably one of his biggest games he won at Tech was in 2008 when he knocked off Colt McCoy and the No. 1 ranked Texas Longhorns.
Coach Leach runs an Air Raid offense (passing first offense). This fits perfectly for quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Sophomore Connor Halliday (27-36, 496 yards, 4 TD’s 0 Interceptions against ASU). Mike Leach is also known for his success for recruiting. So far this year, he has brought some good talent including 4 star recruit, WR Gabriel Marks, who I believe can come into this year and fit in with Leach’s system. With the history of success on offense, this should only lead to Washington State landing top-name recruits on offense over the years. Defense might be an area to worry about, but on offense the Cougars are set.
This is still a young team but a bowl appearance is very possible. We also host UW in this year in November so an Apple Cup can be attainable as well. Coug fans should be happy of where this program is going and it will continue to grow hopefully into a powerhouse in future years to come.