WSU NOTEBOOK: Leach's star keeps rising

THE HIRING OF offensive guru Mike Leach has attracted unprecedented amounts of offseason media attention to the Washington State football program, and the overwhelming majority of that attention has been positive. That trend continued when's Steve Greenberg handed out his national Spring Football Awards.

In the Sporting News, Greenberg gave the "Instant Impact Award" to Mike Leach, WSU's new head coach.

"Pac-12 coaches should be scared to death by the fact Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel completed his first 15 passes and was 19-for-21 overall in the spring game," Greenberg wrote.

Greenberg gave his "Hold the Phone Award" to the WSU defense.

"Don't assume the Cougars will be terrible on defense," Greenberg wrote.

Greenberg noted the 4 ½ quarterback sacks that backup defensive end-outside linebacker Logan Mayes registered in the spring game. Sacks were awarded for touching the quarterback or coming close enough to likely deliver a solid hit.

THE COUGARS WERE shut out in the NFL draft for the second time in three years, and just the third time since 1994. UCLA was the only other Pac-12 team without a drafted player this year.

Only nine Cougars have been drafted since WSU's string of eight consecutive non-winning seasons began in 2004. No WSU players have been selected higher than the fifth round since 2007.

Eight Cougars were drafted in 1978 alone, including first-rounder Ken Greene. The St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals drafted Greene 19th overall. Since then, eight Cougars have gone in the first round: Jack Thompson, quarterback, Cincinnati, 1979 (third overall); Keith Millard, defensive tackle, Minnesota, 1984 (13th); Timm Rosenbach, quarterback, Phoenix (now Arizona), 1989 (first, supplemental); Steve Broussard, running back, Atlanta, 1990 (20th); Drew Bledsoe, quarterback, New England, 1993 (first); Mark Fields, linebacker, New Orleans, 1995 (13th); Ryan Leaf, quarterback, San Diego, 1998 (second); and Marcus Trufant, cornerback, Seattle, 2003 (11th).

WITH THE VANDALS' Athletic Director saying Idaho will play at WSU next year, and WSU confirming it in a release today, that finalizes the 2013 non-conference schedule for the Cougars -- at Auburn, home vs. BYU, home vs. Idaho.

FORMER COUG O-LINEMAN Andrew Roxas was released before he played in a game with Spokane in the Arena Football League.

The Shock signed and released Roxas, an offensive lineman, last week.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL rosters have included at least one Cougar for decades, but that streak is in jeopardy.

Former major league pitchers Mark Hendrickson and Eddie Bonine were let go in the offseason by Baltimore and Philadelphia, respectively. No ex-Cougars are currently in the majors, and the only WSU product in Class AAA – the top level of the minor leagues – is journeyman Travis Webb (1-0, 5.79). He's a left-handed relief pitcher with Cincinnati's International League affiliate in Louisville.

Adam Conley, who passed up his senior year at WSU to turn pro last summer, is ranked Miami's No. 7 prospect by Conley is 2-0 with a 3.07 ERA after five games (all starts) with Greensboro, N.C., in the Class A South Atlantic League.

Only one of the three other Cougars who turned pro last year are still playing. Cody Bartlett is in extended spring training with Toronto's minor leaguers, but Colorado released Matt Argyropoulos, and Paris Shewey retired after playing in the Houston farm system. Two other minor league veterans out of WSU, injury-plagued pitcher Matt Way and infielder Josh Ashenbrenner, was released in the offseason by Philadelphia and Detroit, respectively.

FORMER WSU HOOPS center Aron Baynes led Greek's top pro basketball league with 8.7 rebounds per game. He finished ninth in scoring at 13.6.

Baynes and current Cougar Brock Motum are candidates for Australia's Summer Olympics team, though Motum finished the WSU season on the bench with a badly sprained ankle.

WSU ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Bill Moos achieved his goal of seeing WSU draw a school-record 10,000-plus for the spring football game – or did he?

Moos didn't actually "see" the big crowd at Spokane's Albi Stadium, but he had a pretty good excuse. Moos, a WSU football standout back in the day, missed the spring game to be inducted into the Olympia High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

There were those in attendance at the spring game, by the way, that believe they were never counted and that to their eyes, the crowd on hand was more than the 10,713, the official attendance figure announced by WSU.

By the way, Moos says the Cougars are not "actively pursuing" a sponsor for naming rights to Martin Stadium, but he remains open to listening to any offers.

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