Mike Leach speaks at length on Donald Trump

MIKE LEACH was unequivocal during his Monday presser. But a large portion of his comments had nothing to do with Cougar football. Given Leach’s very public support of Donald Trump, Leach was asked Monday if he still backed the presidential candidate following disclosure Friday of Trump’s comments about forcing himself on women in an uninvited way.

In case you’ve been living in a cave:  On Friday, audio of Trump on a hot mic in 2005 described grabbing women’s genitals and kissing them without their consent.  The Justice Department defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.”

Leach was asked Monday if anything had changed his opinion of Trump. Leach responded with two words.

“Uh no,” Leach said.

Leach went on to say Monday his support of Trump has not affected recruiting.

“Not at all. They walk right by a picture of him that’s hanging in my office. So everybody that we have recruited here has seen the picture. Not all I’m sure are voting for him, but along with a number of other pictures hanging on the wall in my office so like I say – who knows who anybody’s voting for, I’m sure they’re not all voting for Mr. Trump but they all walk past the picture and I also think that they appreciate the fact that I know somebody that’s trying to make a difference regardless if their voting for somebody else,” said Leach.

In response to a follow up on the recruiting angle, Leach seemed to indicate the uproar over Trump's comments was overblown.

“I’ll tell you what’s kind of interesting about it is – when I was in junior high school and high school, you would go to civics class, you’d go to history class – we would condemn countries that burned books. We would condemn Russia for burning books – we would condemn Nazi Germany for burning books – we would condemn Red China for burning books – oppressive societies and things of that nature. Now all of the sudden were in a country where we’re burning books – we’re not just burning books were burning words. So, I think that that needs to be changed, and you know this hyper false sensitivity on virtually everything is very unproductive," said Leach.

Leach said there was no excuse for such behavior. Leach is known for maintaining three cardinal rules on his football teams -- one of which is violence against women -- that result in immediate dismissal from the program.

“There’s no justification for it – and there’s no perfect people out there. But everybody in this room, either consciously or unconsciously, is going to leave this room and at some point today is going to say something to somebody that they necessarily wouldn’t want in the national media. And if it does get out there, of course you have to live with it if anybody cares. Do I think other people have reckless speech? I absolutely think they do. I’ll have reckless speech sometime today, I’m sure of it. And I’m going to bet you will, and sometimes they bring up the target females – females do too. I had a daughter that played softball, was all-district. Did I hear some reckless stuff that probably they don’t want their parents to hear? That they wouldn’t want recorded nationally? Absolutely. So I think the focus needs to be on bad actions, not reckless speech," said Leach.

Leach was also asked about the Whitman County prosecutor's decision to charge Logan Tago with 2nd degree robbery, 4th degree misdemeanor assault stemming from a June incident (Tago was arrested on Sept. 12).

"We’re going to presume people innocent until proven guilty around here," said Leach.

Leach was asked some football questions.  Here are some of the highlights:

* Leach said Erik Powell is a very talented kicker and that he will definitely come out of his slump, but that the Cougs need that to happen sooner rather than later.

* Leach said Luke Falk is definitely distributing the ball more effectively and that it has helped WSU a lot these past three games, all blowouts. He said a big emphasis has been placed on it.

* Leach says teams are double-teaming Gabe Marks occasionally, that it's happening some but not necessarily all the time.

* Leach pointed to the value of everyone on the team working together simultaneously as the biggest lesson the team has learned through the first six weeks (five games) of the season.

* Leach on UCLA's Jim Mora is a defensive guy and the Bruins reflect that -- they are really physical on D.  He said WSU needs to be just as physical right back on Saturday (7:30 pm, ESPN).

* Leach said former Cougar GA Chris Reinert being at UCLA does not factor into the Cougs' game plan or strategy.


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