PRACTICE: No QB question here, says Leach

PULLMAN -- After a catastrophic meltdown by the offense Saturday evening, some fans believe there should be an open question this week at quarterback. Mike Leach does not. The head ball coach has already named a starter for Saturday when the Cougs take on the California Bears at home.

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When Leach was asked whether he thought redshirt sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday would start again this weekend, Leach showed zero transparencies.

"Yes," Leach said.

Halliday had the worst outing of his career Saturday against Oregon State, completing just nine of his twenty pass attempts for 81 yards. Throw in the three interceptions and it was a nightmare.

Halliday had a tendency to lock-on to one receiver and try to fit it into a small window Saturday, a vice that has thwarted his progress as a quarterback all season. That said, the offensive line allowed neither him nor Jeff Tuel much of anything resembling protection for most of the game.

"Well, what's disappointing is we're one product in practice and another on the field," Leach said. "Our tempo and our body movement, the whole thing. We play constrained."

FOR JUST THE third time in Leach's 11 years as a head coach at the D-I level, his offense failed to score a touchdown. The second time came against BYU just a few weeks ago.

It's obvious this team is having a difficult time translating the Air Raid offense from the practice field to game action. But Leach didn't think Oregon State stymied the Cougs offense – rather, he thought the Cougs relapsed on their poor game-day tendencies.

"Nah, it was us," said Leach, downplaying the causality of the Beavers defense. "It was us, there's no question."

ONE OSU PLAYER who seemed to single-handedly beat the Cougs, cornerback Jordan Poyer, seemed to leave quite an impression on the coaching staff.

"Ugh," said defensive coordinator Mike Breske of the senior playmaker. "Help me out, I mean (he's a) tremendous player."

Breske added he doesn't think the defense will be deflated this week after a strong performance all-for-not.

"It better not be," Breske said. "We're setting the bar high and coaching them up hard this week."

The Cougs (2-4) take on the California Bears (2-4) at 7:30 p.m. this week at Martin Stadium. The first 10,000 fans will receive a Mike Leach bobble head, marking the first bobble head night in Martin Stadium history.

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