Cougars try to shake off bad body language

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
11:00
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Clearly, Thursday's start to Mike Leach's career at Washington State didn't go as he had planned. But maybe more frustrating for Leach was the nationally televised sulking session some of his players put on in the wake of WSU's 30-6 loss to BYU.

"We spent more time putting on little frustration demonstrations than we did playing football," Leach said. "That's a problem.

[+] EnlargeMike Leach
Jake Roth/US PresswireMike Leach and Washington State will try to give their fans hope for the future in 2013.
"You only get so many reps out there on the football field in your entire life and you better make the most of them. If you're going go out there and practice all week long, and you're going to work on reps in practice and then you have game reps, you better do something other than pout on the sideline. That's something we as coaches need to address and we as coaches failed to get across to them last week."

So the message is this: Pout and you're out.

"I won't hesitate to send some guy to the locker room if he's just sitting on the sideline pouting," Leach said. "We're not going to have that if things don't go our way ... we're not going to do that."

The Cougars will look to rebound from their downer of a debut when they host Eastern Washington on Saturday. And though the Eagles are an FCS team from the Big Sky Conference, they are coming off a 20-3 win over Idaho. It was their first win over an FBS team since 2003 -- which coincidently was also Idaho.

Washington State got back to work last Friday and the vibe was that it was an up-tempo practice and the team has a good pulse.

"If you expect us to sit and mope for the whole week, you're wrong," said quarterback Jeff Tuel, who was 30-of-45 for 229 yards and two interceptions against BYU. "That's not going to happen here anymore. Those times are over ... it does no good just to sit here and dwell on things in the past. We need to correct things and move on from it.

"If you watched the game, you'll see guys' body language is pretty bad. Some guys are better at it than others. But we definitely had more than our share of guys with long faces on the sideline. That's something that Coach Leach is definitely aiming to fix in a hurry."

Tuel -- as you'd expect from a veteran quarterback -- owned up to the mistakes he made in failing to lead the Cougars into the end zone. He also shook off questions that missing much of last year, or the fact that WSU is learning a new offensive system, had an impact on his performance.

"We shot ourselves in the foot a bunch, whether it was interceptions or holding calls ... the bottom line is we had a chance to put it in the end zone and we didn't," Tuel said. "... We need to clean some things up and speed some things up. It starts with myself. I need to play better and get through my reads quicker and really disperse the ball. When guys aren't open I need to find my backs and just put the ball in play. I'm not going to sit up here and make excuses. But when guys are covered down the field, you got to hit your check downs. That's something I need to continue to get better at and know where those guys are at in this offense."

Leach, who was complimentary of his defenses' performance in the second half of the BYU loss, said don't expect any changes from what he and his coaching staff wants to do.

"We need to play better -- we're not going to change anything," Leach said. "We need to change our attitude. We need to change the way we go out and play from one play to the next and play fast. There aren't going to be a ton of changes out here other than an emphasis on effort and focus."

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