Mike Leach: 'No regrets' on losing Rypien to Boise State, Cougs got a real good one of their own in Tyler Hilinski

WHEN QUARTERBACK BRETT RYPIEN snubbed Washington State for Boise State, Cougar fans wondered how the nephew of CouGreat Mark Rypien got away? And now, WSU and Rypien will face off on Saturday night (7:15 p.m., ESPN 2). Well, if you ask Mike Leach, Rypien is a good quarterback, but the Cougs have a good one themselves. Oh, but he’s not talking about Luke Falk in this case.

It’s Spokane vs. Pullman tomorrow evening as Rypien (Shade Park High) and his Boise State Broncos will host WSU.

Few Cougar recruiting fans have forgotten about 2015 National Signing Day, when Rypien signed with BSU over WSU and many others. This was brought up to Mike Leach during his weekly radio show on Thursday night.

“With Brett, there’s a number of quality quarterbacks each year and of course you offer a number of them and not just one,” Leach said. “We did offer a number of them and he was one of them because he’s a quality quarterback.

“We got Tyler Hilinski and we’re pretty excited about that. No regrets on that trade off. We’ve got a lot of respect for him as a player.”

Hilinski, a second-year sophomore, is the No. 2 QB for the Cougars on the depth chart behind starter Luke Falk. He signed with WSU over Cal and others. Throughout spring ball, Leach was highly complimentary of Hilinski's progress throughout the 15 practices and again in fall camp, where Hilinski began and ended as the No. 2.

RELATEDYoung Rypien knows uncle will be rooting for Cougs 

Hilinski and Rypien weren't the only topics of conversation on Thursday night, though. Leach reiterated that senior safety Shalom Luani will play Saturday vs. Boise State. Luani did not play in the 45-42 loss to Eastern Washington.

Just before the season, Luani was arrested for allegedly assaulting a WSU student outside of the on-campus Domino’s Pizza. Reliable sources, however, have told Cougfan.com there's a broader story.

“The whole thing is blown out of proportion,” Leach said. “Shalom wasn’t perfect, but he was a far cry of guilty of what he was accused of.”

 Here are more notes from last night’s radio show:

• Leach discussed the season-opening loss to Eastern to start out the show and said one thing stood out to him the most while reviewing the game film: “We just tried to do too much,” he said. “We never settled on defense and they did a good job of stressing us and creating matchups. Offensively we did some good things other than when we get behind the chains. The only enemy we faced doing that was ourselves.”

• Leach continued to praise EWU receiver Cooper Kupp, who tore up the Cougar D on Saturday. “He’s good and we thought he was good going into the game too,” Leach said. “He was good in high school, then he grew once he got to college. I think his abilities go beyond his talent. He’s a talented guy, but there’s no question the best football player on the field was Cooper Kupp.” 

• The Cougs were able to flush the loss to Portland State last year and took down Rutgers on the road. Can Wazzu do the same this week at Boise State? “You have to focus on the next play and next game,” Leach said. “Some of our young guys were exposed. We’ve got more young guys on defense than we do on offense and those guys got exposed on big plays, which turned into touchdowns. If we tighten that up, we’ll be in good shape. They’ll be good players and they work extremely hard. We just need them to play under control.”

• One player in particular Leach was happy with from Saturday was receiver Kyle Sweet. “He’s an extremely confident guy and he’s kind of quiet on the field, but off the field not so much. Kyle Sweet is always one of those guys under control and thinks he’s got things handled. He plays with confidence. Sometimes he’s a little cavalier in practice, but his strongest quality is he deals with great pressure. He doesn’t feel pressure,” said Leach.


Cougfan Top Stories