Leach looking for the animal in Lintz

PULLMAN — Andrei Lintz checks in at 6-5, 260 pounds. Your average grizzly bear stands around 10-feet and weighs anywhere between 700-1000 pounds. And Mike Leach wants the former to stop being so nice on the gridiron, and start behaving like the animal.

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Leach has liked very much what he's seen from Lintz this spring, but he still wants to see more viciousness.

The redshirt senior is showing this spring he can be a formidable weapon out in the pattern. He's still listed on the official roster as a tight end but Leach's Air Raid doesn't generally use tight ends and Lintz has been lining up as an inside receiver this spring. Since drills began on March 22, Lintz has been one of Jeff Tuel's most consistent targets and has a receiver's steady hands.

For the past four years including his redshirt season, Lintz has been lined up at tight end and spent the majority of his time blocking rather than catching the ball and sprinting for the end zone. The difference in his receiving numbers has been pronounced this spring. In Saturday's scrimmage alone he had seven catches for 57-yards and a TD.

"He's physical and he's one of those guys that even if the defense covers him there's still a potential factor because of the size and physical differential," Leach said. "The other thing is he's coordinated like a little person and he's quick like a little person but he weighs 260."

BUT LEACH ALSO says Lintz uses his hands as a "little person." Leach wants Lintz to use his hands more to be more violent at the line to try and create separation. And he wants him not to fumble after the catch, as he did twice on Saturday with one being lost to the defense.

"He needs to be like those grizzly bears at Yellowstone Park that start tipping over dumpsters and take garbage out of them at the lodges," Leach quipped. "This next practice we're going to put a dumpster in front of him full of goodies but he's going to have to shred that thing, tip it over, and dig into it to get at them so he gets used to using his hands in a violent fashion."

The thing about Leach, the players are never entirely sure if he's joking. Will there be a dumpster out there Tuesday? Probably not. But if there was, and a great big steak somehow made its way into the dumpster, would Lintz use some violent hands to get at it?

"I mean, I guess I will, but I won't eat it though," Lintz said with a smile. "I'll put some gloves on."

WHILE HIS HANDS haven't been moving in an animalistic manner, Lintz through 12 spring practices has shown he can use them well enough to be a prolific pass catcher. Last year, Lintz had only seven catches for 96 yards and one touchdown. In Leach's Air Raid, and based on the results this spring, 60-70 receptions seems inherently possible in 2012.

"It's definitely exciting any time you can get down the field and catch the ball," Lintz said. "Obviously the last couple years I've been more of a blocker which is fine by me because it got me on the field, but it's more exciting to get some yards for the offense. I'm just a player and I want to make plays."

Tuel and Lintz have clearly developed great chemistry with one another this spring, and Tuel told CF.C the duo has the potential to put up some crooked numbers indeed this season.

"He's just a smart player," Tuel said. "He finds ways to get open and if he's not open, he gets open basically. This offense gives him the freedom to do that and he also continues to fight and buy some time and work for me."

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