Leach: Fishing, Pac-12 QBs, it's all the same

MIKE LEACH HAD some interesting things to say on Tuesday. The first had to do with the legacy of the Pac-12 in terms of its quarterback strength. Then he turned his attention to the Cougar defense ...

Ten of the 12 teams in the conference return their starting quarterback from last season, with the exception of Washington and Arizona, meaning that the Pac-12 is filled with established talent.

But Mike Leach chose to downplay that. Instead, he related it to something he enjoys doing during his spare time: fishing.

“It’s like if you go out and catch a fish, that thing gets bigger and bigger the more you remember it,” Leach said. “I think that’s going to happen with these quarterbacks in this conference. I think it’s really a good time in the Pac-12 for that. I think you hit a deal where some of them are going to go on to be in the NFL and do big things, and then of course those ones, their legacy of what they did in college is going to grow even bigger than probably what they actually did.”

Leach said the offensive schemes in the Pac-12 are geared more toward the pass at this moment in time, but that will fade with time. He also said that having so many veteran quarterbacks simultaneously, such as Connor Halliday who is poised to rewrite the WSU record book this year, escalates the hype about the Pac-12 being a quarterbacks’ conference.

The second piece of imagery developed when Leach talked about his involvement with the defense. Leach had called the Cougars’ defense one-dimensional during his press conference on Saturday, and expanded upon that on Tuesday.

“I thought we could have played better. I thought we also could have thrown more stuff at them,” Leach said. “I think we got to a point where we were doing the same thing over and over again.”

Even though Leach’s mind works in sync with the Air Raid offense, he still endeavors to associate with the defensive side of the ball and the coaches there.

“You try to spend as much time with them as you can,” Leach said. “There’s a couple ways to do it. You can wear a nice sweater and have your hands in your pockets, and just shake hands with everybody and cheer-lead. That’s just never been my way. Of course the other is you can contribute where your expertise best fits.”

When the Cougars practice, Leach is able to stay close to the defensive coaches on the sideline, and they are often looking at the same thing. This allows Leach to see developments on the defensive side of the ball, even if he is initially focused on the offense.

The Cougars definitely experienced some defensive woes against Rutgers, but Leach said Tuesday that there is no doubt that those problems are fixable.

Three changes have been made to the depth chart this week. Cornerback Charleston White, safety Darius Lemora and LB Cyrus Coen will all start against Nevada on Friday.

White and Lemora passed up cornerback Tracy Clark and strong safety Teondray Caldwell, respectively. Coen is now healthy enough to start versus Nevada, whereas he was not last week.

Despite the changes to the depth chart, there will not be any changes to the practice format. Leach said that, although defensive coordinator Mike Breske said the team struggled with tempo and tackling against Rutgers, the Cougars will stick to their guns in their preparation each week.

“I think we’ve got the practices right where we want them to be, and it’s worked well for two decades,” Leach said.

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