Fight-song challenged, but wired up w/ Leach

PULLMAN -- Clay McGuire probably knows as much about Mike Leach as anybody. The new WSU offensive line coach was a player or coach on nine of Leach's 10 bowl teams at Texas Tech. He spent the last two years coaching running backs at East Carolina, and says he's excited to be reunited with his mentor. While they disagree strongly on cowboy boot styles, they're simpatico otherwise.

In fact, they're so well wired on the gridiron that Leach has McGuire coaching the offensive line. That's significant for two reasons. First, McGuire has never coached the OL before. And second, Leach has said that as the offensive coordinator of the team, the most important asset he has is his offensive line coach.

CF.C talked with McGuire after practice this past Thursday for a quick, though wide-ranging, view of life in the Crimson Edition of the Air Raid. The 30-year-old Texas native speaks with a notable drawl and tackles each question head on.

In his book, Coach Leach said he didn't think you had much athletic talent at first and kept you around just to be nice. How have you managed to stick around so long?

McGUIRE: Perseverance. If you allow what people say about you to be then you're never going to be. You gotta believe in yourself and worry about what you can control. I knew I could play there and as long as they gave me a chance I was going to prove them wrong.

Who is going to be the Cougar version of Clay McGuire -- an unsung guy who is going to surprise people on Saturdays?

McGUIRE: A guy who is going to come out of nowhere is going to be (Andrei) Lintz, but he is probably going to get way more snaps then I got. I'll tell ya, two guys that are doing real good for me right now, that really stand out and may come out of nowhere are Elliott Bosch (center) and Zach Johnson (guard).

What about them stands out?

McGUIRE: (Both) are really smart guys, play with great technique and play really hard. They're tough kids and they're very coachable. It's just a pleasure coaching them.

Have you ever gotten into discussions with Leach about whether Sir Francis Drake was a seafaring hero (English version) or a greedy pirate (Spanish version)?

McGUIRE: I'm trying to think where we were at but we were on a road trip somewhere … I think it was my junior year or sophomore year. We were actually in Raleigh playing NC State and we watched Master and Commander with Russell Crowe and (Leach) gave us this speech about Francis Drake and how he lit boats on fire. We'll talk about history every now and then but I don't really try to challenge him on pirates. He knows quite a bit more about pirates then I do.

What is the strangest thing the two of you have debated or discussed in detail?

McGUIRE: If people came to our staff meetings they'd be pretty shocked at some of the things we discuss. We got into an argument the other day about who has been to more rodeos and who is more of a cowboy on staff because (Leach) wears square-toed boots and I wear round-toed boots and we'll just leave it at that.(Editor's note: For the Leach rebuttal, click here.)

Urban Meyer, in a complimentary way, recently called Coach Leach "a certified nut job." Do you agree with that characterization?

McGUIRE: People have their own definitions of things. Some people may say that and some people may say that he is a genius. I think Urban Meyer said it both ways. Coach Leach is out-of-the-box. That's what makes him who he is and that's what makes him different than everybody. There's 120 Division I coaches out there and for the most part a lot of them are the same guy. He's definitely not, and that's what separates him and that's why he's successful.

Do you think the fact that ECU's mascot is a pirate played a role in Leach's decision to hire you at WSU?

McGUIRE: Hopefully it was because I've proven a lot of stuff to him in the past. He's given me every opportunity I've had in college football and I'm very grateful for it. I'm just very excited and was thrilled when he called me and gave me a chance to come back and work with him.

Being relatively new to Pullman, have you taken any time to learn the Cougar fight song yet?

McGUIRE: No, I haven't. I'll tell you what … I don't even know the Texas Tech fight song. That was not a big deal. When I got to East Carolina they sang the fight song in the locker room after every home win and all the kids there knew it. I kinda felt bad, ‘cause hell, at Texas Tech I didn't even know the fight song there, and I was there a long time. I probably need to do that.

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