Leach and Aliotti fast friends at media day

NICK ALIOTTI before he retired as Oregon’s d-coordinator famously went off on Mike Leach’s decision last year to put his starters back in late in the game against the Ducks. But on Wednesday, the two seemed like fast friends.

Aliotti, Mike Leach said with a smile on his face, is kind of like Geronimo, citing Aliotti’s tenacity.

“You’re a pain in the butt to stop,” Aliotti grinned at Leach. Aliotti is a new member of the Pac-12 broadcast team this season.

Later, Aliotti said he had talked to Leach and that "it's all good," and chalked it up to a coach "losing his mind" in the heat of competition.

Leach proceeded to give a synopsis of Geronimo’s life and his book, saying he learned some things from Geronimo’s life that were relatable to football such as how everybody can always work harder than they think they can.

Leach did talk some football. He was asked if the Cougs are ready to take the next step in 2014.

“I think we are,” said Leach. “Our last two years we’ve been a team that’s explosive but inconsistent.”

Leach said the Cougs are starting to get guys who have logged enough reps to where they can reach that level of consistency.

Leach didn’t seem overly concerned that WSU will be replacing three starters on the o-line. Yes, they’ll be more inexperienced. But…

“This year we’re going to be bigger and more athletic,” said Leach.

Leach also noted Connor Halliday has his top eight receivers back so they’ve gotten more and more time together under their belts.

Leach said the Cougs game plan around their key players but they also aren’t quite at that level where they have stars who stand above others by a wide margin.

Leach was also asked about replacing Deone Bucannon.

“I’d like to think we have some new guys in the mold of Bucannon,” said Leach, noting that there was a time his first couple season where no one had ever heard of him.

And despite losing Bucannon, Leach said they’re better in one area in the secondary than last season.

“We’re quicker and more athletic in the secondary, but less experienced,” said Leach.

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