During Saturday's 52-24 loss against Oregon State, Leach twice elected to go for it on fourth down, (three if you count the botched punt fake.) At the beginning of the second quarter, junior quarterback Connor Halliday found sophomore Dom Williams for a 21-yard completion on fourth-and-8 at the Beavers' 40-yard line. Four plays later, junior running back Marcus Mason scored on a 3-yard run to give the Cougars a 10-3 lead.
In the third quarter, Leach again went for it on fourth-and-2 at OSU's 4. Halliday found senior Vince Mayle in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
"A lot of it is how the game is going," Leach said. "What is your sense on what they're doing on defense?"
He said he also evaluates the game situation and how costly it would be for his team if the conversion is not successful.
"You don't want to be reckless," he said.
Leach was asked about the strategy of Kevin Kelly, who coaches at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark. Kelly has drawn national attention for his refusal to punt. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Kelly said that an opponent only has a 15 percent likelier chance of scoring from 10 yards outside of the end zone than from the 40.
"The material kind of supports what he does," said Leach, adding that he has met Kelly. "[But] I'm not willing to go that far."
WSU (4-3 overall, 2-2 conference) plays at 7 p.m. Saturday at No. 2 Oregon (TV: Fox Sports 1) and Leach was asked about the Cougars' strong play on the road, where they are 2-0 in the Pac-12.
"I think we're improving," he said. "We're just a group that needs to be a little more consistent. I think [our road success] definitely is a positive sign."
Leach was also asked about the USA Today Coaches Poll being counted as one-third toward a team's overall BCS score. That poll has received increased scrutiny in recent years as various media reports have revealed that some coaches have members of their athletic department fill them out. Some coaches reportedly also do not watch opponents outside of the ones their team plays against. Despite that, Leach said the coaches poll still has a place in formulating the playoff picture — for now.
"Yeah, I suppose," he said. "Until there's an extended playoff, it's as good as any."
Leach dissects WSU's fourth-down philosophy
Cougfan Top Stories
Pac-12 school, others coming after WSU commitRUSH/DEFENSIVE END verbal commit B.J. Thompson tells CF.C he had “the time of my life” during his official visit to Washington State this past weekend. But a trio of other schools…
CougfanYesterday at 3:31 PM
WSU recruiting roundupTHE PIECES OF THE puzzle are moving fast as we enter the stretch run to Signing Day on Feb. 1. In fact, they're moving so fast that you need a proverbial score card to keep up.…
CougfanYesterday at 1:25 PM
Is Tacoma Coug OL verbal White wavering?TACOMA's QUAZZEL WHITE, who verbally pledged WSU in November, tells CF.C he had a great time on his official visit this weekend. But with TCU and others now charging hard after the…
CougfanYesterday at 11:24 AM
Will WSU take 2 QBs, is Garbers in mix?A LITTLE OVER two weeks before Signing Day, Washington State continues to look long and hard at taking two quarterbacks this recruiting class. With 4-star QB Connor Neville on…
CougfanYesterday at 10:02 AM
Hawaii DT target talks WSU post-Salave’aTHE BIG QUESTION most Cougar recruiting fans had about Miki Suguturaga’s visit to Washington State this weekend – how do things stand between Suguturaga and Wazzu now that the…
CougfanSunday at 6:32 PM