Leach compares Cougs and his first Tech team

IN ONLY SIX months on the job, Mike Leach has seemingly become the most interviewed coach in Washington State football history. Yet in the mountains of media attention he's attracted, there's one question -- a very straight-forward one, in fact -- that appears to have gone unasked. Until now.

How does his first squad at Washington State compare with his first club at Texas Tech back in 2000?

"It's difficult to say because we're still emerging," Leach told Cougfan.com last week. "Both were young and everywhere you go, you have plenty of work to do. One of the biggest challenges is being able to evaluate and discover what everyone can do.

"But I would say it's similar in terms of talent."

That's not only good news for Cougar fans thirsting for a bowl game for the first time in nearly a decade, but a nod to the rebuilding work accomplished over the last four years.

At Texas Tech, Leach inherited a program from Spike Dykes that had gone to five bowl games in seven years and finished no worse than 6-6 in seven straight seasons.

Sign up now to join the Washington State community.
Free 7-day trial!
Leach's first Tech team continued the trend, going 7-6 and launching the coach's streak of 10-straight winning campaigns in Lubbock.

Talent takes you only so far, though, Leach said in a telephone interview with CF.C.

"They're never going to get to where I want them to be, we always want them to improve more," said Leach. "What we need to do right now is we need to get stronger, really dedicate to the weight room and get faster. We need to grind away in the factory. That's going to be huge. The best way we can improve is to get bigger and stronger.

"With that said, they need to work drills on their own ... You need some self-starter guys there. In the summer there will be teams that won't work as hard as they can or should -- we can't afford to be one of those teams."

TURNING ATTENTION TO THE AIR RAID offense, CF.C asked the first-year coach how his wideouts were coming along with one on the fundamental skills needed to succeed in the Leach air game: catching passes right out of the break.

"I think it's a two-way deal (with receivers and quarterbacks)," said Leach. "We obviously had some late-thrown balls and it goes two ways, the quarterback has to do it too. And the receivers have to expect it and get to the spot. Both did a pretty good job of adjusting and improving (this spring)."

There aren't any specific drills Leach runs to better accomplish that. Rather, he said, the entire practice is built around it.

"There's a progression there. One mistake people can make are to just look for guys that are open. And if you hit him, well that's great, he's the fifth read ... well you can't just go around and hope the fifth guy is going to be open ... you have to attack it right away," said Leach.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT last week, Leach talked about his plans to have Eric Morris be his eyes in the press box on game days, and about the stellar work of offensive line coach Clay McGuire. Click here to read it.

Cougfan Top Stories