Building Towards Success
The Washington State Cougars football team will have yet another uphill battle in 2013. Picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12 North Division, many may find insult from the initial Pac-12 Media projections, as the Cougars find themselves behind the Colorado Buffaloes.
Especially after a season where WSU showed they have some fight in them, it may seem ridiculous, at least to some, that the Cougars find themselves behind a Colorado team who is still a few years away from even being considered potentially relevant.
But, as all Washington State fans should take away from the Oregon Ducks‘ miraculous basketball season this past year, anything can happen in the Pac-12. And with a load of talent on offense, coupled with Mike Leach’s air-attack, the Cougars could pull off some big upsets in 2013.
Here’s a recap of what went down when Mike Leach and Deone Bucannon took the stand for the Cougars at the 2013 Pac-12 Media Day.
As always, head coach Mike Leach was upfront and honest about everything. Not really making an opening statement (all he said to reporters, at first, was “any questions?”, Leach spent the first part of his interview talking about the new targeting rules in college football.
Largely opposed to the new rule (which was brought criticism of Jadeveon Clowney’s hit lat year), Leach vocalized his discontent, citing the facts that football is meant to be physical and it will be tough for refs to distinguish between a clean hit and an “illegal” hit.
“If I get these guys across the room and I have them run full speed at each other and I ask you in a split second to tell me which one lowered their head first, I bet you can’t do it,” said Leach of the rule.
Aside from talking about the new rule, Leach also discussed the book he was working on and provided further insight into the way he runs his football program. When questioned about his highly publicized outburst last year where he called his players zombies and corpses, Leach owned up to his statement and made sure everybody knew where his players’ attitudes came from.
“…if somebody is a zombie or corpse, I’m the head zombie or corpse.”
After seeing Leach as a somewhat immature coach from time to time, it was good to hear him own up and take account for the way his players play. He did also make sure to note that his squad was looking more excited and motivated early on this year, a promising sign for many Washington State fans.
Though he did have good insight into the way his program is being run right now, perhaps the biggest news Leach revealed today was that of the quarterback competition currently brewing in Pullman. While the season is still just over a month away, Leach did mention that, had the season started today, Connor Halliday would be the starter.
“If we were to play in a couple months, I don’t know,” said Leach when asked who would be WSU’s quarterback. “but today, Connor Halliday would be the quarterback.”
Citing Halliday’s impressive spring, it does seem as though Halliday has the upper hand in the quarterback competition, hopefully pointing to the fact that he is looking like a much more well-rounded player this time as well.
Bucannon didn’t talk as much as Leach, but did reiterate the way he felt about the new targeting rule.
“Like Coach Leach said, it’s definitely a rule that’s going to be hard to abide by, going full speed,” said Bucannon. “But at the same time, you know, whatever helps other players for player safety.”
Taking a little bit more level approach to the matter than his coach, it is good to see a key figure on WSU taking responsibility and setting an example for the rest of his program.
Overall, the “vibe” surrounding the Cougars today was that of a program that is still building but could be ready to surprise a lot of people in the Pac-12. Picked to finish last in their division, don’t be surprised if WSU gets some early momentum going against Auburn before playing well in conference play.