A chat with Mike Leach heading into 2014

MIKE LEACH WAS GOOD ENOUGH to take time out during the holidays to talk with Cougfan.com. The interview, published earlier on CF.C, was about his upcoming book on Geronimo. But we also snuck in a few football questions at the end...

Cougfan.com: Final thoughts on the New Mexico Bowl?

Mike Leach: No, not really. We've just got to play better and finish games. Some of it is a maturity thing and it's an opportunity we let get away from us.

But we can learn from it. That's what we're left with, we've gotta learn from it and continue to develop as a team.

Cougfan.com: I've heard you say you'll come home and your wife Sharon will want to talk football -- and that she has a lot of thoughts on the matter. Did she have anything noteworthy to say after the bowl game?

Leach: Nah, nothing special. She watches football all the time. And if she's watching a game, she has thoughts on it.

Cougfan.com: If you could change one NCAA recruiting rule, what would it be?

Leach: Well, they're constantly going to change to keep up with the technology. As technology evolves, those rules have to evolve. They've certainly done a perfect job of it... they've done a reasonable job of it.

I can't really think of any - I'm not a huge fan of the fact they reduced it (the next contact period) by about (10-11 days). But I don't have any recruiting-specific ones besides maybe there needs to be a few more days where you can actually go see the families and see them in person.

The biggest thing is once you recruit them you're responsible for their behavior and everything else ...and also how they perform on the field and a lot of that is about getting to know the kind of person they are, their background, their goals and their level of achievement up this point, both in the classroom and on the field.

I think head coaches should be able to go out on the road during the May Evaluation Period. I always did. I never went the whole time because if you go the whole time, you take a guy off the road. Your position coaches will each have an area and when you go, you're bouncing between areas so you're essentially one guy short. But I used to always go out for kind of a week, 5-8 days, and you kind of hit the highlights. I do think that is something that should be allowed.

Cougfan.com: Without giving away any state secrets, any new tweaks you're already thinking about on either offense or defense next season?

Leach: Nothing incredibly significant. The biggest thing is, because we really have only had one significant offseason. The first one was thrown together in a very hurried-up fashion (after Dec. 2011 hiring). Last year's was real productive. We're predominantly sophomores and freshmen and so we need another great offseason.

I think the main thing, the focus is to get as much work as possible. And of course there was a challenge last year because an awful lot of people didn't know one another. You have the freshmen and then the new freshmen. So I think this one will be even more productive, and it's very important that it is.

Cougfan.com: The holiday recruiting dead period this year extends through Jan. 15 -- when do you plan on having your staff back in the office, back to being full steam ahead?

Leach: We'll coordinate it... because they (college coaches) go to the convention (Jan. 12-15). We'll coordinate it but everyone will hit the road as soon as possible -- we'll have a recruiting weekend (Jan. 17) and then hit the road right after that.

Cougfan.com: Where are you for the holidays, are you still in Pullman, did you go to Key West, somewhere else?

Leach: I've bounced around, seeing family.

Cougfan.com: The last word headed into 2014?

Leach: We're excited to get back to work, we're excited to get started, have a great offseason. And part of it is these guys need to rest up. But then when they come back for next semester, be ready to go.

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