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Coach Leach Is Ready For Spring


Thursday afternoon the Washington State Cougar football program will open up spring practice. Coach Mike Leach positioned himself comfortably behind a microphone a day in advance to field questions from various writers covering the Pac-12.

Just a year ago, there were Bunyanesque expectations from Cougar Nation brought about by the hiring of Coach Leach, arguably one of the best and most innovative college football coaches over the past two decades.

With a deft job of recruiting and hiring a new WSU head football coach by school athletic director Bill Moos, Cougar faithful envisioned BCS bowl games and Pac-12 championships. Moos cautioned optimistic, enthusiastic throngs to be patient. Few listened. Many were disappointed.

That was then. This is now.

Coach Leach may be an unflappable man, but the confidence he exuded during his presser was contagious.

Headed into the first of fifteen sessions, Leach left no doubt about moving WSU football forward.

"“We should get out of the blocks a lot quicker. We have a body of work to learn from”, proffered WSU Coach Mike Leach."

As always seems to be the case when Coach Leach speaks publically, there are numerous gems to be mined from the occasion. For example, he likened what his guys do in the classroom to what they should be focused on to develop as a team of football players.

"“The (team) GPA is the highest in eleven years. If you want to lead the nation and everybody got one grade higher, we’d probably do it. It’s just like that when you go out there and run plays. It’s not like somebody has to be super. It’s like if everybody is a little better and synchronized, if everybody (earned) a grade higher then we might lead the nation.”"

No question Leach has methods to achieve established goals for every student-athlete on his roster, both on and off the field. He boiled the focus of Cougar football players down to a single word. Reliable. “When it comes to improving performance…be more reliable.”

When it comes to justifiable enthusiasm from everyone as the Cougs spring into practice, Coach Leach suggested why his team will step up their performance beyond the history of 2012.

"“The biggest thing is I think we’ll get off to a quicker start. Everybody already knows how to line up and do the drills. I think we can get into the evaluation portion of it quicker. I think we can go further as far as teaching the details.”"

It’s all about changing the course of where Cougar football will head.

Coach Leach struggled last spring with too few Pac-12 caliber players, a team mentality weighed down by years of too many losses and the reality of bringing a new system to an old program.

Sure, Coach Leach talked about who will be starting at quarterback, the hottest topic for most fans. We’ll get to that and other subjects next time…