Leach talks play-calling responsibilities

WASHINGTON STATE COACH Mike Leach long has been regarded for his play-calling ability. But given the demands of his position, Leach was asked if he contemplated giving up those duties after he transitioned from Oklahoma's offensive coordinator to Texas Tech's coach in 2000. That was among a variety of topics he addressed during his Tuesday morning Pac-12 football coaches teleconference.

Leach said he never has consider abdicating his play-calling responsibility, which was among the biggest reasons why he decided to pursue coaching instead of becoming a lawyer.

"I always planned to call the plays," he said. "I might stop someday if I get tired of it, but there's no end in sight."

CF.C asked Leach about the play of the Cougars' linebackers. While Leach praised the play of the defensive line and secondary after consecutive wins against No. 25 USC and Southern Utah, he was silent about the linebacking corps. Leach said that simply was because he was grouping the linebackers in with the defensive line as the "front seven."

"I think they're playing well, especially when we've blitzed," Leach said, whose team plays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Idaho (TV: Pac-12 Networks).

One linebacker who continually is in on plays is junior Cyrus Coen, a former walk-on. Coen had a game-high 10 tackles during Saturday's 48-10 win against SUU.

"I think he actually played better the first two weeks," Leach said. "He's gotten better and better."

Coen was recruited out of Hawaii along with sophomore safety Taylor Taliulu, who had seven tackles versus SUU. Taliulu committed to former coach Paul Wulff, but Leach said his recruitment "was kind of a battle at the end." Taliulu emerged during fall camp when he won the starting position over senior Casey Locker.

"He's one of the guys who has improved the most this season," Leach said.

He also was asked about his team's toughness, which Leach questioned several times a year ago.

"We're improving," he said. "We're still a work in progress. The biggest thing is we have good effort."


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