CF.C CORRECTION: We messed up

--CORRECTION-- No, the sound system wasn't very good. But the bottom line is that we erred, and thought we heard something that we didn't. It turns out Mike Leach did NOT predict nine wins for this coming season. What he was actually referring to was that WSU let three games get away in 2013. "Speaking on behalf of the entire team," Leach said, "we feel like we should have (had) nine."

Meanwhile, in remarks to a boisterous crowd of crimson and gray faithful at Friday's A Night With Cougar Football, Leach praised the team effort he is seeing within the organization and his incoming class – and shared opinions on a wide range of topics including the Football Operations Building, Pullman's best restaurants and his disdain for checking bags when he flies.

"The strongest thing we have going on right now is the incredible team effort we have to maintain," he said. "And the biggest thing is to keep the energy going, keep building and stay exciting. Everybody work together."

Entering his third season at Washington State, Leach marveled at its tight-knit community. Among those gathered for the annual event on Seattle's Pier 66 were Jason Gesser, Alex Brink, Brandon Gibson, Mkristo Bruce, Collin Henderson, Brett Carolan and Duke Washington.

"Everything's a team effort," he said. "All you have to do is walk up on that hill every night, and it's a team effort."

On the recruiting front, Leach said his coaching staff is "ridiculously proud of this (newest) class," and added that there are already seven incoming players on campus instead of the usual one or two.

Leach said the players need to establish a habit of not only doing the best they can do, but strive to discover "what is your best," he said.

Asked what the fans can do for him, Leach said to just keep doing what they're doing.

"The whole opportunity to share football with Cougar Nation and its fans across the nation and waving the flag across the country is huge," he said.

He also said that the program needs to keep building to stay competitive.

"We're about to have the best football ops building in the conference – and certainly one of the best in the country – and the next step's the indoor (practice facility).

"We want to be superior."

Leach said his favorite thing about coaching is the people he gets to meet.

"The players, the coaches, the families," he said, "everyone working together."

And meeting them in their own environments can be a real adventure.

"If you're middle class like I was," he joked, "I'm not interested in that.

"If you're fabulously wealthy and have all kinds of stuff I've never seen before and never poked at, that's kind of fun."

But it's the families who live in unassuming homes – or, in one case, a shack on a dirt road in the heart of Florida – who have the best stories, he said.

He shared a few of his favorite tales from the recruiting trail this season, including finding out that wide receiver Barry Ware's dad is the middle of 17 kids – "you ladies who have ever had children, add up 17" – and that every one of them has a college degree.

If Ware starts balking about getting a degree, he added, "I have a feeling I could call up about 16 aunts and uncles and get a lot of that straightened out."

He also spoke fondly of his trip to Maui to visit defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa, who comes from a family of MMA fighters. His younger sister is the top wrestler in Hawaii in her weight class, while an older sister is training for the Olympics in wrestling.

"There were 16 or 18 people (there) and people everywhere, and mom runs the show," he said.

"And the obvious appeal is the guy's name is Hercules."

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