FROM PULLMAN — There is no greater indication that a new season of college football is upon us than the 2013 debut of the Pac-12 coaches teleconference. The first one is in the books. Here are some notes from Mike Leach's segment.
– Leach was asked about a game between Kentucky and Alabama in 1997, when Leach was the Wildcats' offensive coordinator and Ellis Johnson, now Auburn's defensive coordinator, held the same position for the Crimson Tide.
The latter part was news to Leach.
“Ellis was at Alabama that year? Son of a gun. I didn’t know that,” Leach said. “That’s good to know.”
Anyway, Leach recalled the game vividly, because it was the first time Kentucky had beaten Alabama in 75 years. The Wildcats outlasted the Tide 40-34 in overtime.
“It was a heck of a game back and forth,” Leach said. “I felt like we should have won it in regulation. Moved the ball awfully well.”
As for Johnson's defenses, Leach said: “One thing, his guys play really hard, have always played hard. The other thing is they don’t throw a ton of stuff at you. They’ve got their philosophy, they’re going to execute it. Just play hard. They’ve always been good at takeaways as well.”
– On Nick Marshall, Auburn's JUCO transfer quarterback, and his passing ability: “I think he obviously can do it. He did it in JC and they were impressed with him there. He’s a real athletic guy, which is exactly why he’s had the opportunity to play two major positions … Hopefully he doesn’t get it all figured out before we get to town.”
– On the weather in Auburn: “We kind of embrace the fact it’s been significantly hotter here the last couple weeks than it has been down there.”
Saturday's forecast in Auburn is for a high of 86 degrees with isolated thunderstorms in the area.
– On WSU's offensive line, Leach said he thinks the group will benefit from experience gained last season.
As inexperienced as we are, we’re significantly more experienced,” Leach said.
– Leach was asked how the team is preparing to face Marshall, and whether they watched his Garden City fi;m or anything else.
Leach said they've “studied that, then also coach (Gus) Malzahn’s got a body of work with what he likes to do with his quarterback. Of course you respect the abiltiites of all those guys.”
More on Marshall: “The thing is, he’s a really good quarterback, but we’re going to play against a lot of quarterbacks this year, so we need to get used to that.”