NEWSLINE: Lintz rises, door ajar for Kaufusi

MIKE LEACH IN A radio interview with KJR-AM on Monday afternoon said Andrei Lintz is one to keep an eye on, that the door might not be permanently shut on Sekope Kaufusi and that the QB battle may go for awhile, even though Jeff Tuel has been better than advertised.

Mike Leach's offense doesn't really employ tight ends but a big receiver who can make plays? Leach covets those guys regardless of body-type. And Andrei Lintz, listed as a 6-5, 252-pound tight end, impressed Leach in a big way on Day 2. Oh, and by the way, he also likes what he's seen from Kristoff Williams.

"Other guys to keep an eye on, Kristoff Williams and Andrei Lintz. Andrei Lintz had a huge day. Andrei Lintz caught more balls in the last practice than anybody. This guy's a monster, he's like 6-5, 255, something like that. He's smooth, runs well, good hands," said Leach.

Leach didn't say if Lintz and the other Cougar tight ends would be flexed out wide or would line up in the traditional tight end spot -- or both.

"We're going to do all of it...we're going to let the defense figure out whether they need to play a linebacker or safety, that's their problem," said Leach, who noted he liked how Lintz was "violent with his hands" on the second practice of spring.

LEACH LEFT OPEN, slightly, the possibility today that dismissed linebacker Sekope Kaufusi could return.

Leach never mentioned Kaufusi by name in the interview with KJR's Ian Furness and Jason Puckett, but it was clear he was referring to the recently dismissed linebacker.

"I think it's possible (for a return), I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball on would be an extended period of time," said Leach.

Leach said there hasn't been a rash of off-field issues since he's taken over the helm.

"Yeah, I've dismissed three guys...I think a couple of them were bad apples and I think one just made a mistake, and a serious mistake that was well over the line. But there hasn't been this thing where you're panicked every time the phone rings, cause that really hasn't been a huge problem," said Leach.

Kaufusi was dismissed from the program earlier this month after being arrested and cited for two misdemeanors involving marijuana by the Pullman Police Department. Previously, linebacker C.J. Mizell and d-lineman T.J. Poloai were dismissed by Leach.

LEACH HAD PLENTY of praise for Jeff Tuel through two practices, but said he anticipates the quarterback competition between Tuel and Connor Halliday will continue on into fall camp.

"We don't typically name a starter (in spring)," said Leach, adding that one of the two will likely have an edge coming out of spring drills and if he had to name a starter today it would be Tuel.

Leach said how it all may unfold, as it has for him in the past, is a starter is named after roughly the first two weeks of spring ball.

"You want it competitive through the offseason," said Leach.

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