Leach gives some perspective on secondary

WASHINGTON STATE ONLY had to defend 19 passes Saturday against erratic Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall. Given that scenario, CF.C asked coach Mike Leach how difficult it was to evaluate the Cougars' secondary during Tuesday morning's Pac-12 teleconference as his team prepares for its conference opener at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at USC (TV: Fox Sports 1).

"I thought we lost containment on the run a few times," Leach said. "But overall, I thought they played decent."

He again was asked about the difference between this year's 31-24 season-opening loss at Auburn compared with last year's 30-6 blowout at Brigham Young. Leach praised WSU's effort against Auburn, but his feelings after BYU were much different.

"I think we were much more invested," said Leach, referring to the Auburn game. "I think it was much more meaningful to them."

Leach said while this year's team is not experienced, it has many more returners than last season when he played 17 freshmen. Only two scholarship freshmen, cornerback Daquawn Brown and wide receiver River Cracraft, saw extensive playing time versus Auburn. He also maintained that quarterback Connor Halliday played well in the opener. Halliday threw three interceptions, but Leach said the first one should be blamed on the wide receiver because the ball "hit him in the chest." Instead of catching it, the ball was deflected and intercepted. "He played pretty good," Leach said of Halliday, who completed 35 of 65 passes for 344 yards. "He just needs to take care of the football better."

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