Recruiting far from complete for Mike Leach

MIKE LEACH, who doesn't expect to be fully settled in at WSU until sometime after the Feb. 1 signing day, has not been standing pat on the recruiting trail. Despite having 19 verbal commitments when he arrived, in what is expected to be a year WSU can take less than a full class of 25, he says the Cougs have to finish well.

Since his arrival, Mike Leach has added 5 new commits, while letting 7 go. He and his staff were hitting the road yesterday as a new contact period began, he said in a Seattle Times chat yesterday.

"Recruiting reception has been fantastic. I fly to L.A. this afternoon to go recruiting. We have a full slate of coaches on the road. So far it's been going well, but we have to finish out well…We're still a little down because we got a late start," said Leach.

Leach mentioned receivers and junior college o-linemen as among the possibilities going forward.

ON THE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR front, it's the hire that goes on and on. A formal announcement on the coaching staff was once expected in the days before Christmas. Then it was said to happen after the New Year. Now it looks like that's again been pushed out.

"I have several names in mind, which I'm not going to reveal. We expected to get that completed by the end of the AFCA Convention. I think that's Jan. 8-12.... I think about the time I mentioned earlier, mid-January. After the coaches' convention," said Leach.

The d-coordinator position under Leach should be an attractive one, with as close to free reign as there can be, it seems.

"I'll be involved with the players, but as far as the scheme and day-to-day running, I'll let the coordinator select a scheme and decide how to execute and practice it.

"I like multiple fronts. I think you have to do something to keep the offense off balance. There are a lot of ways to do that, and some of that is based on the philosphy of the coordinator...No matter what you run, you have to be able to execute it quickly and practice it efficiently. Worst thing that can happen is to be not lined up. You have to be lined up," said Leach.

WIDE SPLITS, UP to 5-6 feet on the offensive line, are coming to WSU in the Leach offense. As will a no-huddle. But some things will stay the same.

"I don't expect a two-quarterback offense. I've never don't it that way. Occaasionally circumstances can require that, but I don't anticipate that. It limits your quarterabacks reps. But it's good to have them both good enough," said Leach.

LEACH HAD A sand pit at Texas Tech, where players did a variety of conditioning drills. And it sounds like it's coming to Pullman.

"Yeah, we'll definitely have a sand pit. It's been very effective for us as far as training, the muscles in the foot and ankle. Creates more explosion and prevents injuries," said Leach.

WHEN Paul Wulff was named coach, he took a moment to explain how much he disliked the color purple, in reference to the cross-state rival. Leach doesn't look to be following suit.

"Honestly, I'm indifferent. It's an exciting rivalry that's existed for years. I'm excited to play them. Can't wait to play them and I think it's going to be an exciting game," he said.

THE OFFENSE LEACH installs will not take long for the players to pick up, he said. Even before fall camp, he expects players to have a solid grasp.

"You can get it in fairly fast. As fast as you can. You're always polishing your skills, always improvement. There's never a set destination. You're always improving. It will look like our offense as we approach the end of spring football," said Leach.

TOWARDS THE END of the chat, Leach perked up when asked an irreverent question. He responded in kind.

"Who wins in a fight.... great while or a grizzley bear? In waist deep water..."

"Let me see," said Leach. "That brings up an interesting point. I read somewhere that a bull has never lost to a lion or a tiger. If it's fresh water, I think grizzly bear. If it's salt water, I'm going to go with a great white. Grizzly could tap that joker on the head pretty good. But those great whites can get 10 yards long. That would be fun to watch. Can you arrange that? We'd all like to check it out. Maybe have it on Ultimate Warrior."

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