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Cougar football: Mike Leach's pick as his top WR might surprise, lots of other nuggets from WSU head man Pac-12 call

DURING THE WEEKLY PAC-12 COACHES CALL, Mike Leach answered just about every question posed by media, offering quite a bit of compelling stuff. For starters, he offered a fascinating response when asked who his top receiver was -- and it was someone not named Gabe Marks or River Cracraft. ASU coach Todd Graham offered his biggest takeaway from Wazzu's win last Saturday and OSU coach Gary Anderson looked ahead to his team hosting Washington State this weekend.

Mike Leach talked about the progress of sophomore outside receiver Tavares Martin (pictured above) and had this to say about the young man from Belle Glade, Florida.

"About two games in (this season), he really started playing well. He’s kind of rangy and fast. He’s just getting better and better -- and I think he might be our best receiver right now. He’s not playing to (his) full potential yet because we haven’t gotten him more balls."

What stood out about Martin during his recruitment?

"He was kind of a national guy. He was fast but he’s gotten taller since he’s been here. He’s got real big hands."

Leach talked about one of his three-headed monster running backs, Gerard Wicks, who is having a big season with 10 touchdowns in the first seven games, good for second in the Pac-12.

"Wicks is kind of a power guy so we tend to put him in on the short yardage stuff, somewhere between the red zone and the end zone. We’ve found ourselves inside the five quite a bit, so he’s a guy we have punch it in."

When asked about key matchups with Oregon State, WSU's head man turned plain vanilla.

"I think we just have to play our best and worry about ourselves. I really don’t comment on other teams because I might get publicly reprimanded or fined. I really don’t have anything to say about them. Like anybody, you just do the best you can with what you have."

But Leach was open to giving a little background on why third-year sophomore Keith Harrington hasn't seen the field this season.

"A lot of it has to do with just the fact we’ve got the other three (running) backs. We messed around with him at inside receiver and now we’ve got him back at running back. He just plays better there. I think he never completely got the hang of inside receiver and he’s a better running back."

His response to a question about the possibility of redshirting Harrington this season was curious given that the young running back is listed on the WSU roster as a third-year sophomore.

"We might redshirt him. He’s still on the team and doing good things."

Before signing off on the call, Leach offered a brief look from a head coach's standpoint at what challenges are posed by late games to begin preparation for the following week.

"Really not a lot. I tend to go in later (on Sunday) anyway. I try to make sure I have the film watched on the plane coming back…or before I go to bed. You don’t get to bed until around 6am or so, sleep till noon then go do it."

After his team went down to defeat at the hands of Wazzu last Saturday in Tempe, ASU coach Todd Graham shared his biggest takeaway on the Cougs. Alas, it contained no cow- or bull-themed profanity.

"I think their big difference is defense. Their guys are playing hard on defense. In years past, they haven’t had that. They do a lot of movement defensively. I like what they’re doing, how they’re moving their front."

Oregon State head coach Gary Anderson used a broad brush to paint a picture of the key matchups when his team hosts WSU in Corvallis this coming Saturday (7:45 pm, ESPN 2).

"For us, if we just say, ‘What’s the Beavs' most important matchup?’ -- we need to play as a football team, as much as it will be the same next week and the next week. The offense, the defense and the special teams have to work together. There’s a ton of individual matchups in this game. You have a very aggressive defense that moves around a lot. That causes issues. That’s why they’ve played well. They’ve got a ton of TFL’s. They’re going to get after you. You’ve got to take your chances and when you get one you’ve got to make it hit.

"You’re playing an offense that’s very potent. They’re going to get theirs at times. You have to  able to understand that and you have to line up and play again. You have to find ways to get out of drives and find a way to make them kick field goals when the get in the red zone. Don’t worry about what took place, worry about the next play."

Anderson was much more detailed in his portrait of senior WR Victor Bolden.

"The one thing about Victor is that he’s going to come out every single day and compete and battle and lead his team regardless of the outcome. He’s a fierce competitor. To this point I think he’s done some great things when he’s given the opportunity. At times it’s been hard for him to get those opportunities. He takes advantage of most of them when he gets them. He’s been very dynamic in the kickoff return game. When we get an opportunity to return and we set it up the right way for him, he’ll make special things happen.

"In the throw game, he’s been pretty much the ‘go to’ guy for us. We’re going to lean on him a lot of the times to be able to make plays for us. He’s a tremendous young man, a tremendous leader and a very, very important part of our offense this year, no question."

RELATED: The Early Glimpse: WSU vs Oregon State


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