Mike Leach asked in Tuesday teleconference about Shalom Luani's status for Saturday's season opener vs. EWU

MIKE LEACH IS not yet in midseason form. The head man at Washington State was asked during a Tuesday teleconference about safety Shalom Luani’s availability for Saturday’s opener against Eastern Washington, and he did not immediately provide his stock answer.

“We’ll just wait and see what unfolds,” Leach said of Luani.

But when asked a follow up, whether Luani had been practicing, Leach found his stride.

“He’s been doing exactly what we want him to do,” said Leach. “So we’ll just wait and see at the game.”

Luani was arrested on this past Wednesday for alleged second-degree assault of a WSU student during an incident at a pizza restaurant in Pullman.  Multiple sources told CF.C's Barry Bolton that Luani was "jumped" during the altercation by multiple people, something Leach later confirmed. The sources told CF.C that Luani sustained injuries to his face in the altercation.

Leach was asked if star EWU wideout Cooper Kupp was on his recruiting radar when he first got to Pullman in December of 2011 – a condensed period where Leach and Co. had about two months to put together his first WSU recruiting class.

"We probably should have taken him,” said Leach. “It was early on and everything was a blur. He’s a really good player and he’s had a very (good) career. I don’t recall if we had any conversations, I know we definitely would have liked him to walk on. And of course, not only has he been a great player, he got bigger and faster and all of it. He developed kind of late, really impressive."

Four freshmen are listed as backup o-linemen in the WSU two deeps, including true freshman center Frederick Mauigoa.

“Like everybody, we’re looking for more depth,” said Leach. “Fred is just a real versatile guy, a smart guy… good feet, long arms. He also has the ability to adjust on the move… Pretty early in camp he just kinda went out there and took command of the position.”

Leach said, in looking at last year’s tape, that Eastern is a confident team, explosive, can score quickly on offense and “have a couple pretty good guys on their defensive front who are back.”

How much can a coach determined how a team comes out for season opener, how much is player-driven?

“I think it’s both,” said Leach.  “You just put together good practices and good work, but it can be unpredictable… you try and decipher and stimulate (during the game) too.”

* Leach said Luke Falk is “relentless” when it comes to studying film. “If anything, he studies film too much,” said Leach.

* Leach said he doesn’t plan on addressing last year’s opening loss to Portland State with the team this week, nor does he plan on mentioning WSU hasn’t won a season opener during his tenure. Rather, Leach said the Cougs are focused on the next play, the next game.

* Leach was ambivalent when asked about the national media’s storyline this week about highly ranked teams playing one another in Week One and if it’s good for college football. “I don’t know, everybody is playing somebody so I guess it’s fine… in our conference someone really good is playing someone really good every week once we get into conference,” said Leach.

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