FROM PULLMAN -- With news getting leaner by the day -- though we do have some -- we're going to have a little fun this morning by passing along Mike Leach's five best quotes of the spring. Read on for the list, as well as some links.
First, the news. We had a short item in the newspaper this morning about WSU's football game against UNLV this season being moved, for television purposes, to a Friday. In Las Vegas. Modify your travel plans accordingly. ... WSU gets a brief mention in our college baseball notebook, which focuses on Whitworth's ascension to the Northwest Conference championship. ... It seems that it's news any time Leach's name comes up in a Peter Berg interview, and it did again yesterday. Though to me, the best part is Berg's, um, colorful description of Craig James. ... A couple days old, but a former WSU walk-on has been named head basketball coach at Clark College in Vancouver. ... And another former WSU walk-on -- and alum of the finest public high school in Longview -- has signed to play basketball at Western Washington. ... An oft-injured former Cougar was the No. 3 overall pick in yesterday's CFL draft.
Around the Pac-12 ... Washington announced its plans to play a handful of basketball games overseas this summer. ... Stanford lost its athletic director to the Big 12. So who might they hire to replace him? ... Don't expect an announcement on UCLA's quarterback situation any time soon. The Bruins' spring game could go a long way toward determining who starts this season. ... Remembering Junior Seau's USC tenure. ... Might the Pac-12 return to its old, winning ways in men's basketball next season? ... Colorado is trying to keep its outgoing transfer numbers down. ... Utah completed its basketball recruiting class on Thursday. ... A good rundown of the various goings-on in Oregon. ... It's a big weekend for Oregon and Arizona on the baseball diamond.
Now, for our collection of Leach quotes ...
5. Carl Winston stands out because ...
After practice on April 10, Leach was asked to assess the play of his running backs -- one of which is easier to distinguish than the others:
"All four of them, from behind they’re difficult to tell apart. One of them’s got thicker legs. Winston’s got thicker legs. Now, if they face me, I can’t -- if they do a backwards lineup, I can pick Winston out."
4. Battle of the Pac-12 mascots
During an interview with Jim Moore and Kevin Calabro on 710 ESPN in Seattle, Leach was asked who would win a battle of the Pac-12 mascots. His answer? Well, the Cougars, obviously. But he thought Colorado's Buffaloes might pose some problems: (H/T to CougCenter for the transcription.)
"Do you want to fight a buffalo? I don't know, those buffalo are big. You know, buffalo are significantly bigger than elk. I grew up near Yellowstone so I've been near buffalo. Buffalo are huge. And then the other thing I've always gotten a kick out of: When you play Colorado, there's those buffalo dragging those six handler around. Those handlers aren't dragging the buffalo. The buffalo's dragging him."
3. Hot pants and mini skirts
On Sports Radio KJR with Jason Puckett and Ian Furness, Leach gave this unprompted beauty toward the tail end of the interview:
"One night we were just trying to get familiar with the town, so my wife and I had gone to a movie. So we drive downtown and I'm just curious where my team and charges are hanging out. There's nothing downtown. Downtown's dead. So we drive up College Hill. As we're going up College Hill, shoot, there's mini skirts and hot pants everywhere. So I ask her, 'What's the temperature?' I go, 'It's gotta be pretty warm out there, huh?' Thirty-seven degrees! Thirty-seven degrees! I don't know what's in the water and exactly how tough these people are. Certainly they didn't need jackets to be necessary at 37 degrees."
2. The realest cowboy
Leach was told after practice on April 19 that offensive line coach Clay McGuire fancied himself a bigger cowboy than Leach. The head coach objected:
“Now coach McGuire, in his Howdy Doody sort of way, thinks that real cowboys wear these pointy looking shoes, and me and others tried to educate him on that. So he thinks since he comes from a town that’s a dry patch with one stoplight he’s got some expertise on it, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.”
1. Connor Halliday or Harry Potter?
By now, this one requires little introduction. Asked about the health of sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday, Leach offered the following:
"Any stuff on that is so closely guarded. I don’t know if you saw Harry Potter, but in the basement of this building, it’s guarded by serpents and wild dogs and things like that, and you can go try to find the secret to that, but chances of survival – always a risk. Heck, it took until movie five before he got it done himself, and he had magic powers. Anyway, he’s doing just fine and we’re excited about him.”
All for now.