Has Air Raid been figured out?

WITH FOUR regular-season games left in Mike Leach's second year at Washington State, the statistics beg the question: Has the Air Raid been figured out? According to Pac-12 data, the Cougs rank ninth in the conference in scoring offense, eighth in total offense and 11th in passing efficiency. CF.C asked Mike Leach about why that was...

The Cougars rank sixth among Football Bowl Subdivision programs with 373.1 passing yards per game, but are 82nd in team passing efficiency.

Have defenses become adequately familiar with defending the Air Raid? Are the numbers indicative of a larger issue with the Air Raid offense? Is it something else?

Leach replied by focusing in only on the passing efficiency statistic. He said it wasn't worth the pixels it's displayed on.

"It's a flawed stat and I don't know how many people look at it," said Leach, referring to pass efficiency. "The NFL uses a different system."

Leach said he has asked other college coaches what equation the NCAA uses to compile that statistic. He said most do not know.

Alas, that was all he said on the matter.

(For anyone interested in college football's pass efficiency statistic and computation, and a comparison to the NFL's formula, CLICK HERE.) WSU QUARTERBACK Connor Halliday, a redshirt-junior, attempted 89 passes against Oregon, Cougar running backs had seven combined carries and Halliday had five rushes (4 sacks). But Leach on Tuesday said there are plenty of areas where the Cougs need to improve -- and he cited a defensive secondary that struggled to contain QB Marcus Mariota (23-of-32, 327 yards, 2 TDs) this past Saturday.

"I think we could be better with our eyes in the secondary," Leach said.

That's been an oft-repeated phrase this season - with WSU defensive assistant coaches and Leach continually mentioning the players' eyes are not always where they should be -- both before and during the play.

The Cougars (4-4 overall, 2-3 conference) resume practice Thursday. Leach said WSU's practice schedule will be similar to a normal week. The Cougars normally work out Sunday and take Monday off. So they will practice Thursday and Friday and take Saturday off this week.

After playing eight consecutive weeks without a bye, Leach thinks fatigue has set in recently.

"We've had a tougher situation than any other team I know of," Leach said.

WSU next hosts Arizona State on Thursday, Oct. 31. The Halloween night game will be televised by ESPN at 7:30 p.m. Following that tilt, the Cougs have a second bye week before playing on the road at Arizona on Nov. 16 (TV, time TBD). LEACH SAID THAT he has sent several coaches out to recruit this week before the Cougs pick practice back up on Thursday. CF.C asked Leach how much of a challenge a Thursday night game presents when trying to schedule officials visits.

"I think it's difficult to get recruits in, but it's an exciting time of night to play," Leach said.

  • Kliff Kingsbury, who was Leach's starting quarterback from 2000-02 at Texas Tech, has guided the No. 10 Red Raiders to a 7-0 start. Leach said he and Kingsbury, who is in his first season as Texas Tech's coach after succeeding Tommy Tuberville, text frequently. "He's always been a sharp guy," Leach said. "I knew he would coach and when he did I knew he would do well."

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