Washington State football head coach Mike Leach held his weekly press conference on Monday. Coming off a bye week, the focus is on Oregon.
Washington State football coach Mike Leach held his usual Monday morning press conference. Saturday’s game with the Oregon Ducks is essentially for first place in the PAC-12 North. For some reason, there weren’t very many game-related questions from the media this week. Here are some of the things we learned.
ESPN College Gameday is more important to everyone else
The beginning of this week’s press conference was all about ESPN College Gameday coming to Pullman, Washington, and WSU. Four of the first five questions were about GameDay and the excitement of it. Leach to his credit handled it well, saying all the right things.
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He acknowledged that it was a big deal for the students, fans, and to the community. Leach continued by saying it was a great way to showcase the university and he’s sure that after this visit, ESPN would be back in much less time than it took for them to make this first appearance.
When a reporter asked him if having GameDay was good for recruiting, I yelled at my computer “of course it is.” Mike Leach and I are of the same opinion on this one, but he was much more low key about it.
Eh on Justin Herbert
Leach was asked a couple of questions related to Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert. His comments, as well as his tone, make it sound like the coach isn’t very impressed with Oregon’s QB who many are expecting to be selected at the top of the 2019 NFL Draft.
When asked about the Oregon offense changing due to their many coaching changes, Leach said UO slowed their tempo and doesn’t run the quarterback as much, he’s more of a thrower. A follow-up question came about watching Herbert on film.
One of the things I’ve noticed with Mike Leach is if he’s interested in something he’ll let you know and you can hear it. On this, he was very matter of fact in his answer saying that Herbert does a good job leading the team and can throw, but that Oregon is a running team or at least a “balanced” team in play selection.
Another question was asked about Herbert’s place among the great PAC-12 quarterbacks Leach has seen since he came to WSU, and also as a top draft pick. Again Leach didn’t give much of an endorsement.
"“I think he’s a good quarterback. Where belongs in the top of this conference, there have been a lot of really good ones in this conference so that’s a fairly crowded field.”"
As far as the draft goes, Leach doesn’t regard the pro quarterback evaluation process very highly. The takeaway for me on this topic was that Leach had a few opportunities to sing Herbert’s praises and chose not to.
All stats are not equal
This was kind of tangent for Leach because the question was about whether or not he thought that quarterback sacks should against rushing yards. The coach thinks those yards should be in the passing game because a sack is related to an error by the offensive line or quarterback. Counting a sack against rushing yards doesn’t help anyone evaluate how good the running game is.
Leach was then asked if he knew why the sack yards were credited the way they are. The answer was classic Leach. “Because they’re crazy,” he said, “and they have been for a long time.”
This was followed up by something many college football fans have thought about.
"“It’s like the quarterback efficiency rating. Over my career, it’s been explained to me about three times and I briefly, briefly understand it and then after that, it doesn’t make any sense. Its useless…virtually and completely and utterly useless. I don’t know one coach that pays any attention whatsoever to it.”"
He feels the same way about pass efficiency defense. When asked if there are stats he uses Leach said completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio, and total yards.
The half-hour ended with Leach telling the media about some of the pranks he pulled in high school and college, in response to this weeks fan question.