FROM PULLMAN — Here's a partial transcript of Mike Leach's postgame comments. With such a tight deadline, we weren't able to listen to all of his press conference, but here's what we heard.
(On how the team responded in the second half) “I thought they responded pretty good. We did some good things in the first half. I thought we got better this week. Nobody’s pleased with the result but I thought we got better. I thought we played very hard. I thought that we, as far as winning individual battles, I thought we really tried to do that. I thought we won a lot of them. I think then we kind of played keep away on key situations. We’d be one or two guys short and they’d pass it around. And it wouldn’t be the same couple guys. It’d be somebody would drop a ball or there’d be a penalty or there’d be a bad throw. We squandered the first quarter. I thought on all sides of the ball we just let them off the hook in key situations. I was proud of the effort, I was proud of how hard we played, I was proud of how excited we were to be out there on the field and battle. We don’t need to be satisfied with coming close. We slice it so thin that we don’t leave ourselves any margin of error and some of that’s consistency in key situations. But as far as opportunities we left meat scraps all over the table. We had opportunities to win that game, there’s no question about it. I think the biggest thing is just playing together consistently. In key situations, everybody thinks ‘well so and so, somebody rises in these key situations.’ That’s part of it but in our case we need to relax and just make another play. Most guys that are really good in key situations have the ability to play the same in key situations. They have the ability to consistently play the same, not tighten up, not try to make too much happen, and we do a little of both. We try to make too much happen or we’ll tighten up or something will work out and then we’ll get wide-eyed, ‘oh wow, we’re here,’ and then we’ll squander chances. I thought we played really hard. Didn’t think we played together as good as we could have.”
(Is Connor still the starting quarterback?) “We’re going to evaluate that. We have a week to evaluate that. I thought Jeff played really well.”
(On Tuel's performancec) “He didn’t try to make too much happen. First of all he was ready to go right away. Second of all he did a pretty good job of taking what their defense presented and when he was in, we marched the ball pretty consistently. Of course our mishaps would be things like penalties we couldn’t overcome. There were some dropped balls, things like that. I thought he played a pretty smart game. I thought he moved the offense well. When he got his opportunity there wasn’t any of this knock off the rust, hesitation. I thought he went out there, came out played really polished right off the top and I thought he got better as the game went on, too. Of course then we’re against the clock so the things were hurried a little more so of course that narrows the dimension of what you can do offensively. I thought he did a really good job handling the team. I thought he played well.”
(On the running game) “Took a little step forward. The biggest thing is we’re a young enough group, we’re learning to be physical and when we play bigger and stronger opponents we have trouble moving them around consistently. With that said with the running game I thought we did some good things but on a lot of those we’d be one guy short. We’re doing a lot of one-guy-short stuff.”
(Did Cal's running game help them control things offensively?) “That’s ridiculously exaggerated and I know you guys like to embrace that. Cal’s ability to run the ball really had nothing to do with it. Cal’s ability to move the ball had a great deal to do with it. Their quarterback was tough on a few broken plays where he got loose and so he kept drives going. I think they have a lot of perimeter speed so that makes it tough on anybody. As a team they’re starting to come together. You saw that last week and I think it was more of the same this week. At times we did a really good job defensively containing them and there’d be key situations and we’d let them off the hook and we’d let them have some explosives. Just a little ways away from preventing an explosive and we’ve just got to be better with that.”
(On Isiah Myers' game) “When Isiah Myers is tuned in he really plays well. And I think occasionally he hits lapses and if he hits a lapse he goes dormant for a while. We’ve got to get to where he doesn’t have lapses, to where if he has a bad play the next one’s a good one. I did think he did some good things today and I think was our most explosive receiver out there today.”