Leach: Games need to resemble strong practice

REPLICATION. That is what Washington State coach Mike Leach said he is looking for when it comes to translating practice performance into game production during his Tuesday Pac-12 coaches teleconference.

"We need to duplicate what we do on the practice field," Leach said. "I think that will happen."

Leach said the Cougars (0-1), who host Eastern Washington at noon Saturday (Pac-12 networks), struggled offensively for a variety of reasons during Thursday's 30-6 loss at Brigham Young.

"I didn't think we played with very good tempo," he said. "I think we had a certain amount of performance anxiety. We didn't deal with disappointment well at times. We need to worry about what we can do."

Leach said "performance anxiety" is common for openers. He added that players also are transitioning to a new coaching staff and some were starting for the first time.

"With that said, we're not satisfied with our performance," Leach said. "We're not patting anyone on the back."

His Air Raid offense did not score a touchdown. The last time a Leach team failed to score a touchdown was in Texas Tech's 12-3 loss to TCU on Sept. 16, 2006. Quarterback Jeff Tuel completed 30 of 45 passes for 229 yards, but was intercepted twice. BYU outgained WSU 426-224.

"We missed wide receivers," Leach said. "We squandered opportunities."

Perhaps none was larger than the first drive when WSU faced a third-down situation at BYU's 23-yard line. Tuel was intercepted on that play.

"If we finish that drive it could've been different," Leach said.

But he cautioned against placing too much emphasis on the opener. Without naming anyone, Leach said he saw teams that looked worse than the Cougars during the weekend.

"We played a top-25 caliber team," he said.

Leach also said he was pleased about the transformation his defense made during the second half. BYU only scored six points in the final 30 minutes. Of course, he said he wants to see that unit sustain that performance for an entire game now.

As for coaching his first game since 2009, Leach said he did not reflect on that during the game.

"It keeps you a little busy," he said, laughing.

Leach acknowledged he thought about it beforehand, though.

"I usually walk around the stadium and check things out," he said. "[I thought about it] maybe a little."


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