On stage ... Washington State
July, 24, 2012
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Some notes from Washington State head coach Mike Leach, quarterback Jeff Tuel and DE Travis Long:
- Leach on the eight-game versus nine-game conference schedule: "I don’t think the dust has settled. Scene has been so volatile. I think everyone having the same number would be ideal. The more congruent you can make it the better, especially if at the end you are declaring a champion."
- Tuel on his health: “I’m 100 percent healthy.”
- Leach on quarterbacks: “I want our quarterback to be accurate and make good decisions. The single most important thing a quarterback does is make his players better. He pulls the trigger and distributes the football. The better he does that the better the offense will be.”
- Leach says the culture at Pullman and Lubbock both have a unique identity. Pullman is clearly a college town … One thing similar to Lubbock is once people get to Pullman, they love it. There is an electricity that exists there. The key is getting recruits there.
- Leach on the hype: “I think you just do the best you can … worry about what you can control. We worry about our ability to improve and how hard we work and our ability to focus.”
- Leach said receiver Marquess Wilson is explosive, has long arms and has lot of range. He’ll get to the overthrown balls and likes going in traffic. Reminds Leach of a pinball machine because he works his way through the obstacles. He’s steadily improving.
- Long on the transition to Leach: Transition was easy. They explained the philosophies and the players latched on.
- Tuel says that it's been an easy transition to Leach. He made it known you are here to play football and you are free to leave. He made an example of a few guys and showed he’s not playing around.
- Tuel on the offense: “It was surprisingly easy to get a grasp. Learning the playbook wasn’t the hard part … exciting and I know the history the quarterbacks of the past have had in this system.”
- Leach on which coach would be a good hunting and fishing partner: After going through a list, Leach finally picked Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
- Long on a better defense: He said they want to bring more pressure and force more turnovers “that’s something that will really help our defense.”
- Tuel says his confidence level is up and that he can learn from all kinds of situations. He says he’s a smarter player and that he’s more prepared this year than in previous years.
- Leach says he doesn’t care what other conferences think about the Pac-12. He said the conference will get good exposure from the new network, but there is “no level where I care” about what other conferences think about the Pac-12.
- Leach says at Texas Tech he had one of the highest graduation rates of any public institutions and takes a lot of pride in that. He says that academics are something you can compete in and that the team can also take pride in. When a class believes in that, then graduation rates go up.