Leach revisits that 'tent over the circus'

WASHINGTON STATE COACH Mike Leach generally has an interesting way of stating his thoughts. Sometimes that requires clarification. Leach was asked about his "tent over circus" statement, his thoughts on the development of a defensive lineman and, of course, the Pac-12 story of the week – injuries – during Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches conference call.

When Leach refers to putting a tent over the circus, he said he is talking about consistency. He is referring to freshmen who have started this season, including wide receivers Brett Bartolone and Gabe Marks, running back Teondray Caldwell, defensive lineman Xavier Cooper, offensive tackle Gunnar Eklund and safety Taylor Taliulu.

"You see ability, but they've got to get used to other guys around them," Leach said.

While nose tackle Ioane Gauta is not a freshman, he also is among WSU's first-time starters. Gauta has started all three games for the Cougars (3-0), who host Colorado (0-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday (TV: FX). Gauta has 11 tackles, including two for loss.

"He's done a really good job," Leach said. "He's ahead of schedule and has adapted quickly. He's been a very pleasant surprise."

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Gauta is a transfer from Fullerton College in California. Similar to many junior-college transfers, Leach said Gauta had to learn "the intensity that is required" to succeed in the Pac-12 and improve his conditioning.

Gauta was one of the players made available Monday for interviews by Leach. He said that he understands his role is to take on two blockers to free up linebackers to make plays.

Because of that, nose tackles often do not generate impressive statistical lines. Gauta said he does not mind that.

In addition to his selflessness, Leach said Gauta has developed into a leader.

"He's that and he brings enough enthusiasm out there that he kind of ignites the other kids out there," he said.

  • Leach again was asked about Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott mulling the idea of requiring an injury report similar to NFL teams. He said Monday that he believes that would violate HIPPA laws and that information is "personal to players."

    "The reason [some reporters are] interested in injuries is because they're not creative enough to keep their stories interesting," Leach said.

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