Leach, in his usual mode Thursday night, said he doesn’t like to worry too much about the jerseys and when it comes to getting excited for them, he leaves that up to the players.
However, one couldn’t help but notice the new style the Cougars were rocking in front of a packed house at Martin Stadium Saturday night in the 51-33 victory over Oregon.
But what’d Leach think of them?
“It’s full force here,” Leach said when discussing uniform combos with radio host Matt Chazanow. “The players love it. Despite what I think of it, they’re as excited as they possibly can be and they’re looking forward to what’s going to be in their lockers each week."
And Washington State's athletic director has the final say on the Cougs' uniform combo.
“Objectively speaking, anyone who has seen me or Bill Moos standing together knows that he has a far better fashion sense than I do. He picks out the uniforms and selects the ones he likes. The biggest thing is variety. If you ask me what uniform we’re wearing, I’d have no idea. Heck, I vaguely remember the ones we wore last week,” said Leach.
But there is one particular reason why Leach does remember Saturday’s uniforms. And from our unscientific polling chair, it's universal.
“I remembered those because I had trouble seeing the numbers,” he said. “I was trying to figure out who was who. I went from this number to that number. I couldn’t see it. I’d ask where's the kid with the thick legs or the big ass? Get him in there. Where’s the skinny kid? No, not that skinny kid, the other. I like not dealing with it, but I do like the that the players are excited about it and they’re engaged with it.”
It wasn’t all fashion talk Thursday night, though, as the Cougs are coming off their biggest win of the young season. And what stood out from that Wazzu victory over Oregon? The running game.
“It (run game) started clicking and I thought we did a good job early,” Leach said. “The run started clicking as we hit more darts through the air. I think we hit something like 11 different receivers. We were being productive and that opening things up. We kind of caught them coming and going. As time went on, it got better.
“I thought Jamal (Morrow) was steady and I thought James (Williams) was explosive. He sometimes was in traffic, but the only guy to come out of traffic was James. That was impressive and I thought (Gerard) Wicks got better as the game went on.”
Defensively, WSU struggled at times to contain Ducks’ running back Royce Freeman, but Leach said he was happy with the overall performance.
“Oregon is real fast and explosive,” he said. “I think they’re the best team in the league. We should have scored 14 more points, but one time we got seven when Hercules (Mata'afa) got that safety and we scored after that.
“I think we’re playing together better. We’re being more physical and we’re doing a better job of filtering out extra stuff. Our guys just needed to continue focusing on each individual play. Sometimes it’s tempting to look at the bigger picture, but you’ve got to focus on the individual ones.”
Here are more of my takeaways from Leach’s show:
• Cougar alums Jeremiah Allison and Destiny Vaeao were both at Martin Stadium Saturday for the Oregon game. Leach said he met with both and Vaeao stopped by his office before the game.
• Speaking of Vaeao, who has stepped up for him on the Cougar DL? Everyone, Leach said. “Robert Barber does good stuff. We’ve been moving Hercules around and he’s tough for folks to handle. Daniel Ekuale is built like Desinty and he’s starting to emerge. (Garrett) McBroom is doing good things for us. He’s probably the best at using his hands.”
• Christian McCaffrey will be a focus point, no question, for the WSU D.
“He’s a good player and the most impressive thing with him are all of his dimensions. He can run, catch, kick and punt, which are two different skill sets. He’s good at both. Then of course Stanford is driven by their offensive line and defensive line. Both are very physical and want to lower you down. We want to try and avoid that.
“We’ve got to be gap sound and not get ambushed. We need to try and keep them off balance by getting extra people in there with blitzes and line moves.”