Leach wraps up spring
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Washington State head coach Mike Leach took some time on Thursday
afternoon to field questions about the spring, the summer ahead and
what he thinks of his team heading into the summer before fall camp.
Q: College coaches can now require
their players to participate in up
to eight hours per week of summer activities. How will you enforce that?
Leach: We're out on the road recruiting. We'll meet on that when they
get back. There's really no apportioning that goes into it
because, I mean, in the offseason you're going to run and lift
primarily and then they'll run and life, and then of course that allows
us to kind of circulate through the weight room a little bit.
We'll make sure things are going well for our student-athletes, so
there will be that. And then maybe a little meeting time as we get, you
know, to keep people focused on drills and doing things precisely.
Anything you've heard from others guys and clever ideas they have on
how they're doing that stuff, I'd be interested in, so let me know what
you hear out there.
Q: What about when the incoming
freshmen get on campus? Will you
spend some of that time with them as a group or will they get
incorporated right away?
Leach: Both. We'll do both but I think it's a good map because then as
the freshman come in they're not just marooned, you know.
Q: Do you have an idea when they're
going to come in or do they trickle
in throughout the summer?
Leach: Typically they come in as a group and go to summer school.
Most of them it's the second summer [session] because we get a lot of
California guys and so they get out about mid-June. They'll come in the
last week of June.
Q: What's the depth you guys have
built up? Do you think there's less
of an expectation that those guys will come in and play right away or
do you see you guys redshirting them more than you have in the past?
Leach: I don't have a preconceived notion. We'll see what they got and
see where they start out. The biggest thing is to equip them with
as much knowledge and things that they can so they can go out there and
as they rep, build on their skillset. From there, develop them
more quickly because they kind of know a little bit more about what
they're doing as they were. You never know. We've got plenty of
holes to fill, everybody does. The guys in the two-deeps don't usually
Q: For this recruiting period, is it
more recruiting or evaluation?
Leach: Well we can't talk to players unless they call us. It's a
combination of evaluation - it's mainly evaluation. Of course you
touch base with the coach and sift through the players they have and
who's coming up, which is important at a lot of schools as guy transfer
around. The best one's are where you get to watch them practice.
Q: Is most of the work you guys do in
the offseason in these kind of
workouts with Connor Halliday and other team leaders? Because they've
been in the system for three years now, do you think they're going to
be putting in the best work they have this offseason?
Leach: I think it will be better. I think it will be the best since
I've been here. Connor did a good job last year leading that effort,
but now we're an entire unit and more people are on the same page so I
think it will be more productive.
Q: Do you select the captains that put
those workouts on or is it up to
them to rise to that challenge?
Leach: We keep in touch with team leaders and established guys at the
position and then obviously we need to rely on them to lead the others
Q: You mentioned this offseason has
been better than others in the
past. How does this spring compare to the other spring practices you've
Leach: It's better. This is better than we've had since we've been
here. Part of it is our work ethic is higher and the enthusiasm of
everyone. If anyone is going to improve, they have to be
committed to work hard and have great effort and find ways to do a
little extra. We have a more committed group, so it goes hand in
hand. If you're doing the best you can and pushing yourself,
you're going to improve quicker. If you fail to do that, your
talent says whatever it is but it's probably not going to improve by
the margin it is if you're really working hard and pushing for your
best every play.
Q: It seemed like Luke Falk was one of
the most impressive players this
spring from an expectation point. Is he moving up into that No. 2
quarterback position or is that still up in the air?
Leach: We just split the reps. I thought Luke did a good job and I
thought Tyler [Bruggman] did a good job. I think they now both
need to have a great offseason and we'll do more of the same as we
start out camp.
Q: Who else has impressed you this
Leach: A bunch of the young offensive lineman. They're bigger and
more athletic even though they're young. I think Sam Flor did some good
things, I think Riley Sorenson did some good things, Cole Madison did
some good things, Cody O'Connell did some good things, Jamal Morrow did
some good things. Theron West has really developed over the
couple years he's been in here. Vince Mayle I thought played
better and River Cracraft continues to improve. Drew Loftus has
improved. Young guys I thought did well was Robert Lewis, who
played well and is definitely better than he has been. Calvin
Green, as he started to lift off, showed a lot of speed and
toughness. On defense, those guys that have been here that we
redshirted did a good job - [Daniel] Ekuale, Emmitt Su'a-Kalio and then
Robert Barber. The linebackers, Jeremiah Allison was doing some
good things out there. I think Beau Glover would be one of the
biggest surprises of the spring. He's a walk-on who played really hard
and really precise with high effort. I think Daquawn [Brown] has
improved and Marcellus Pippins did some good things and Tracy Clark is
playing as good now as he has been.
Q: Speaking of Calvin Green, what kind
of advantage do the
early-enrollees have coming into the program early?
Leach: I think it helps. If they come in ready to play and get a
lot of reps, which a lot of them did, then it puts them in a position
where they can continue to develop their skills over the next offseason
we get into after finals, so they can put their best foot forward in
Q: More clarification on the
eight-hour rule during the summer…
Leach: When we get off the road, we're going to have compliance come in
and talk to us about it so they can iron it out specifically.
Basically, you're allowed to be around them a limited amount of time if
the ball is not in the air - if ball is not involved. Whether it
is encouraging academics or outlining things you need them to do, I
think it's a positive deal.
The strength coach rules, where
they're allowed time outside the eight
hours, is still in place.
Instead of one guy having to stay in contact with 125 guys, now
position coaches can be around them providing they don't put pads on
and do a direct pass drill or something like that.
Q: Obviosuly the physical part of the
guys' conditioning in the summer
is important. Is there a lot of improvements that need to be made out
there like hits?
Leach: Without question. One of the most important times of the
year and that's a critical improvement to get the most out of your
summer work. That's one of the most important roles of spring is
to equip everyone with their assignment and technique with as much
precision as you can so they can use that period of time to improve
further. So you teach them as much as you can in spring so when
they go out there on their own they know what to work on, they know
what is necessary to improve on and they can be as productive as they
can. That's one of the single most important roles of spring football
to arm them with as much as you possible as they go into the offseason.
Q: Can you talk a little more about
safety Beau Golver?
Leach: Well he came here as a walk-on and played hard. He's
lifted hard and run hard so he's stronger and faster than he has been.
He's always been a great student of the game so as far as his reaction
to plays unfolding, he's exceeded a lot of things because he's able to
sort out how it's going to unfold in quick and precise fashion.
He made a lot of plays this spring.
He was playing back there beside [Taylor] Taliulu. Those spots
are a little interchangeable and Talilulu has played back there quite a
bit so he's familiar with directing traffic, so they're similar to a
Q: The running back situation appears
to be competitive. Do you foresee
a bunch of guys playing there or is one guy expected to take the reigns?
Leach: I think two will play significantly. I don't know how it's
going to unfold as we get into camp. If we were to play today, it
would be Theron West and Jamal Morrow.
Q: How do you feel about your young
offensive line heading into the
Leach: I think they've improved tremendously. The two most
improved groups, I thought, were the offensive line and the
secondary. We're bigger on the offensive line than we have been,
we're more athletic on the offensive line than we have been, we're
deeper on the offensive line than we have been and we're younger on the
offensive line than we have been.
Q: Any word on who has the leg up on
the center position?
Leach: I felt like, when we left spring, Sam Flor was a little ahead of
Riley Sorenson. Riley has some versatility and stuff, but it's
really, really close. Most of spring they went back and
forth. Their reps were even and I think that will be the case as
we get to camp and we'll sort it from there.
Q: Was the decision to go back to
Lewiston primarily based to the good
experience you guys had down there last year?
Leach: Yeah, that had a lot to do with it. It's just a great
place for good concentrated work and allows our team to be together in
one spot. Also, it helped with the housing logistics while we're
in camp. I think we'll be down there just a little longer.
When we went down there last year I thought it was going to work out
really good. It thought it was going to be really positive and it
was even better than I expected.
Q: Do you personally have any exotic
trips lined up this summer?
Leach: Yeah, I wish. Exotic trip number one is going to be in
Atlanta where my oldest daughter is going to have my first
grandchild. There will be a little bit of time with the rest of
the family and Sharon. Exotic trip number two is to Tulsa where
my second daughter is getting married.
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