FROM PULLMAN -- Mike Leach didn't want to discuss Marquess Wilson on Saturday night, but he termed his team's effort one of the best he's seen as a coach despite UCLA winning 46-38. We have a transcript of Leach's comments below, so read on.
"I thought we played hard the entire game. I thought offense, defense and the majority of special teams. I thought we played hard the entire game, really hard. This is the hardest I’ve seen this team play, harder than really most teams I’ve coached on any individual effort. If you subtract – which UCLA earned those too – but if you subtract the four blocked kicks, I mean, it is what it is, you know? I thought the effort was tremendous. I don’t think there was a point in the game where we didn’t have great effort."
(What happened on the blocked kicks?) "I’d have to see on film. One they slanted in, we got overpowered. One it was a bad snap, one we ran past the guy without touching him and one I’m not sure."
(On the quarterbacks) "At some point they’re going tohang together and at some point somebody’s going to take this thing and hang onto it."
(On the controversial week) "It wasn’t controversial to me. There was a certain amount of things the media embellished but it certainly wasn’t controversial. As a kid you grow up, they say tell the truth, tell the truth and now all of a sudden that’s controversial."
(On having better effort after a bad effort against Utah) "We had good effort all week. I thought we took what we did in practice, transferred it to the field for the most part. There are some plays we’d like to have over again. Couldn’t be prouder of the effort."
(On what made Connor Halliday successful this time) "When he first went in he tried to make too much happen. The halftime thing, what was it … all right, 7 of 18, so he was 7 of 18 the first half, trying to make too much happen, pushing stuff downfield, trying to make super plays. The second half he stayed within himself rather than try to make too much happen, did things that provided good value. Just kind of consistently moved the sticks. He played a much better second half. And part of it, in fairness to him, he hadn’t been out there much. He didn’t get the majority of the reps in practice and I think settled in, speed ot he game settled down a little bit for him and he became productive."
(On Dominique Williams and Bobby Ratliff) "Both have steadily emerged and they’re both definitely getting better."
(On the Marquess Wilson statement) "I’m not going to talk about anybody that’s not here, you know. I coach the guys that are here. I don’t have anything to say about anybody that’s not here."
(Do you deny abuse?) "Absolutely. Next question. And if you expect to ask another one, you won’t keep walking down that path."
(What was your message to the team at halftime?) "Really it was the same as the first half: play hard, just be excited to play, have great effort. Be the best individual player you can be and if we do it together, then we’ll be the best team that we can be. I really thought they did that both halves."
(Your name has come up in some coaching searches, have you been contacted?) "I haven’t been contacted, I’m not aware of anything on that."
(Is it fair to say you'll definitely be here next year?) "Yes."
(Did you spend any less amount of time on special teams this week?) "Same amount of time. It’s kind of befuddling really. None of them were the same guy. Four different guys. Or maybe five. But anyway, like I say I’ve gone full seasons without getting four kicks blocked. We got four today. So we’ll have to look at the fi;m, but they were four different people four different times. Then the other thing is, really special teams units when you consider the returns and things like that, kickoff coverage, we did a pretty good job. It’s not even really special teams as a whole because we did some really good stuff in the return game and in coverage."