WSU's Mike Leach: Did he or didn't he?

DID HE or didn’t he? Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez insists Mike Leach did. Leach says he most certainly did not.

Rodriguez related this Leach story Friday morning on the Pac-12 Networks. About 10 years ago at a NIKE event, Rodriguez said he and some other coaches saw someone swimming in the nearby lagoon.

“This guy is getting a workout in so we’re intrigued to see who it is,” an animated Rodriguez said. “Finally, we wait, he’s coming out of the lagoon. It’s Leach, with goggles and a Speedo on. And he had some of that seaweed stuff all over him."

Rodriguez said if he would have had a cell phone with a camera back then, he would “have had something over Mike Leach for the rest of his career.”

“He denies the speedo. Now maybe it was short shorts that got rolled up. But it’s an image I can’t get out of my mind. I have nightmares to this day. They might have been polka dots,” said Rodriguez.

Later on the Pac-12 Networks, Leach set the record straight.

"I did not have a Speedo on, I did have goggles on -- no polka dots, no Speedo," said Leach. "It was a blue pair of NIKE swim trunks. But I did go out and swim a mile… one thing funny is there were a bunch of small fish… obviously something big was chasing them. Good thing it didn’t chase me.

"But yeah, I got a good workout there in Mexico. Rich, of course, didn’t work out. He sat by the pool and ate bon-bons."

In other news:

The Pac-12’s Lydia Murphy-Stephens said every Pac-12 home game will be offered afterwards in the one hour condensed format this season (Football in 60), even if it originally aired on another network.

Every team will appear twice on the Pac-12 Networks this season. (Last year WSU had a whopping seven games aired on the Pac-12 Networks).

The Pac-12 Networks will be in Pullman Aug. 21 to tape interviews as part of their training camp tour.

David Coleman, the Pac-12 vice president of officiating said there will be an emphasis this season on sideline management, “ensuring the game is conducted in a manner is by the rules, people are not running around on the field during dead ball situations and things like that and allowing the officials to work on the wings.” The first infraction is a warning, the second and third are five-yard penalties, additional infractions are 15-yard penalties.

But if an official is obstructed there’s no warning, it’s an automatic 15-yard penalty.

Coleman also said unsportsmanlike conduct will also be a focus. The conference is adding an eighth official (center judge) this season as well. As noted previously, there will also be a spotter looking for players who may be injured, who will call down to the field as necessary to stop action and have the player checked out.

A good number of targeting penalties this past season drew the ire of fans. “If a defenseless player is contacted by an opponent in the head or neck area, with a hand, elbow, shoulder or helmet, that’s a foul. If a player drops his helmet and contacts the opponent with the crown of the helmet, that’s a foul. Those are tough calls to make in real time,” said Coleman.

Offensive targeting, such as when a running back drops his head and makes helmet-to-helmet contact with a defender, has never been called. It will be interesting to see if that changes in 2015. Coleman said there is offensive targeting, and it is subject to a penalty call.

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