Washington State's Mike Leach: Cuba, 4th down, Spurrier and more

WASHINGTON STATE head man Mike Leach during his media day interview on the Pac-12 Networks was asked about his mentality in going for it on fourth down. Leach said it’s a simple decision process.

“We go for it on fourth down if we think we can make it,” said Leach. “The other thing is there are spots on the field where somehow if you fail to make it, which I don’t expect to happen, but if you fail to make it you’re not really in a particularly bad spot… the other thing is try not to lose sight of the fact touchdowns are worth more than field goals and if you make half of them you still come out a point ahead.”

Leach offered some insight into the matchup problems an opponent faces in trying to defend Cougar quarterback Luke Falk.

“One of his biggest strengths is that he doesn’t have a glaring weakness,” said Leach. “Like anybody, he can always improve... He’ll continue to do that, he’s a tireless worker. As far as us as a team, he does a great job of managing the unit. Our team draws from his focus, his composure, his work ethic.

“And of course we have Gabe Marks and Parker Henry, those are two guys that are good examples of giving the team something to draw from as well. We’re starting to get some guys at the top that are doing a really good job of helping young guys acclimate which helps us build as a team.”

Leach said one of the keys to last season defensively under first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was the speed of it all.

“One thing Alex and his staff did a tremendous job of was getting things in quickly,” said Leach. “We had to assemble the whole secondary and I thought he did just a great job of making a clear message, so our team didn’t hesitate. And then the other thing is we did a steadily better job of running to the ball which resulted in a bunch of turnovers… having as many people around the ball as possible, that’s how you get turnovers.”

Leach made it a point to mention last year’s comeback ability.

“I was proud of our guys hanging in there until the end, some of these games we’ve got to get wrapped up a little earlier. But I was certainly proud of our guys because we stuck in all of them and heck, we were 10-point underdogs in six of our victories so I was proud of them for that,” said Leach.

Leach said his summer hasn’t exactly been a relaxing one so far.  A trip to Cuba was his most recent adventure.

“My summer kinda hasn’t started because it’s been kind of a whirlwind of travel and some things like that. We had a fundraiser up in Alaska with some great alums … I have been on the move quite a lot, got back from Cuba recently … it’s a fascinating place, kinda locked in time, just incredible architecture and geography so that was fascinating,” said Leach.

Leach will be headed to Key West for some R&R next. Or at least he’ll try.

“I’ll ride my bike, I’ll exercise, it’s easy to eat well because there’s fish all over … my biggest problem, I would love to say, I need to improve on it but I’m not very good at doing nothing… a lady asked me about Coach Spurrier retiring, what’s he going to do, what advice do I have for him… He’s bad at doing nothing too… maybe I’ll call him and we can work on it together,” said Leach.

RELATED STORY: Falk named to O'Brien Award watch list

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