Cougs Halliday and Monroe share some nuggets

PLAYER INTERVIEWS AT media day can often be pretty drab with a lot of clichés thrown around. That was decidedly not the case with Cougars Connor Halliday and Darryl Monroe, both of whom instead offered compelling insights.

Halliday said Wednesday on the Pac-12 Networks that the Cougs worked hard this spring on the run game. And Washington State, Halliday said, has “made huge steps” there.

Redshirt-freshman Jamal Morrow, said Halliday, is a head-turner and the Cougars are young but “very talented” up front on the o-line.

“Running the ball a bit more is going to be a big staple of our offense,” said Halliday.

Halliday also said he plans to conduct himself differently on the field and on the sidelines this year.

“I think the biggest thing is (to) keep composure – you can’t play the quarterback position mad and I think I’ve had a little bit of problems with that in the past, getting too mad after an interception or maybe too high after a good touchdown drive,” said Halliday.

Part of the impetus for change came when Halliday was talking to Peyton Manning at the Manning Passing Academy.

“Peyton told me ‘Always get back to zero.’ That’s what Archie always told him,” said Halliday.

Meanwhile, Monroe said it’s “fascinating” having Mike Leach as his head coach.

“You hear Mike Leach and you think big guy, he’s going to come out with a magic show, he’s got all the tricks, he’s going to come up with a great speech,” said Monroe. “And then my first day meeting him he’s like (impression of Leach’s voice) ‘Alright! Um, I’m Mike Leach. This is the plan. Let’s go practice.’

“But he’s a great coach. He’s a genius. I’m really starting to see his plan and the structure.”

Halliday related the story of when the receivers don’t use their hands well enough to match Leach’s expectations.

“We’ve got some receivers who have problems with that,” said Halliday. “So he’ll stop practice.”

From there, said Halliday, Leach launched into how their kids’ kids arms will shrink to the point they have little T-Rex arms.

“He’ll say that to Gabe, Gabe Marks; ‘So the Marks family will go extinct because you won’t use your arms,’” said Halliday.

Asked if he wasn’t getting enough credit for what he’s done on the field, Halliday said it’s a non-starter.

“Maybe that might be true but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Halliday. “I’ve got a great situation… We’ve got a chance to do something special, we’ve got 5-6-7 guys who have a chance to play in the NFL in the next couple years and I want to be a part of that.”

Monroe said the players who didn’t buy-in when Leach arrived, who didn’t understand why Leach had them doing certain things, are all gone now.

“Now, everyone knows why because we have seen what he can do for us,” said Monroe.

Monroe said the veteran front seven is going to take the young secondary under their wing and make it easier for them by getting to the quarterback and shutting down lanes.

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