10 minutes with Jeff Tuel: Part II

MIKE LEACH IS viewed by most outside the Washington State football program as quite the character. But what about the view from the inside? We asked Cougar quarterback Jeff Tuel – is Mike Leach as big a character as he seems?

There was no hesitation from Tuel.

"Yes, without a doubt," said Tuel. "He's a lot of fun."

But a football coach can't be the funniest guy in the room all the time, either. So what about those times? And what's the biggest change this year since Leach came on board?

"The biggest thing is the attitude change," said Tuel. "He brings immediate confidence to the program and to all of us. He believes he'll win and there's no doubt about it. He wants things done a certain way -- and that's it. He's not going to hold your hand, if you (screw up) you're gone. If you're not going to do things a certain way, then get out."

IF THAT SOUNDS too hard-line, too severe, it isn't, says Tuel. And with Leach as his position coach and offensive coordinator, he says studying under him has been like manna from heaven.

"It's a lot of fun, he's obviously one of the best in the business in coaching quarterbacks," said Tuel. "With Coach Leach, you see things you wouldn't see otherwise. He'll find a guy -- at any time -- and expect you to complete the pass.

"Our practices this spring basically consisted of me throwing. I throw, all practice… it's all throwing, all day, which I think is great."

IT'S BEEN OFT-MENTIONED on Cougfan.com since Leach arrived but in talking to Tuel, it bears repeating. The casual fan might not fully realize something fundamental about Leach's Air Raid..

"How simple it is – it's not a very complex system," said Tuel. "Yes, there are a lot of variations on it, but it's beautiful in how simple it is."

TUEL'S INJURIES limited him last season to appearing in three games (and effectively about 1 1/2 games in playing time.) Any lingering health woes, or any new ones?

"No. I'm 100 percent," said Tuel.

Another guy Tuel said is feeling pretty good is Tuel's roommate, Nolan Washington. The cornerback was also limited by injuries this past season and Tuel, in seeing Washington ramp things up the latter half of the summer, says the CB looks like a new man.

"He was coming back from shoulder surgery, so he didn't go the first half of the summer in skelly. But he has been working on his craft and he's got has a whole new mindset. He's hungry -- and he's making plays I haven't seen him make in the past," said Tuel.


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