Thanks to the folks at ASAP Sports, we have a full transcription of WSU's time at the podium today.
Q. Good morning, Coach, you've been vocal in your criticism over the new targeting rule. Can you give us the specifics on what exactly is chapping your hide? And to follow that up, if you were in charge of creating a rule that limits or deters head trauma, what would be the criteria for you in establishing the rule and what would the penalty be?
COACH LEACH: “I'm not the only one against this rule, rules in order to be effective have to be enforceable and you've got to be able to see it. If I get these guys across the room and I have them run full speed at each other and I ask you in a split second to tell me which one lowered their head first, I betcha you can't do it.
“So I think that is a huge problem. The other thing is, you know, in one of the plays that's getting criticized, is the Clowney hit. That is why they have football and it's why football was invented and it's one of the greatest American games there is. Everything that can be done to prevent head trauma and prevent student‑athletes, that needs to be done and it goes along with technology, along with teaching people to tackle properly, and things like that.
“If somebody is running at you and you're going to button up to take the hit and then it becomes a guessing game of who loader their head first, which, you know, we're back to the Halo Rule where you can't sort it out and you can't discern it. I think that's a gigantic issue.”
Q. Coach, we have a fan question from you on Twitter. He asks, Coach, we know you've been busy writing a book, but he wants to know what you've been reading this summer.
COACH LEACH: “Honestly, mostly I'm reading that book we're writing. Books are funny things. They're satisfying, ultimately; but then, you know, there is a point where it gets tedious and you get tired of the same stuff over and over. Books almost go a little beyond even the confines of, say, a marriage. You write a book, that's there forever. There is no divorcing a book, you know? I'm preaching to the choir here, you guys all know more about this than I did. You go through the sentence, should we put the first part last, the last part first, shall we say is precise? Was this clear?
“So I did a lot of that. The research is the most exciting part, discovering, you know, what Geronimo did, the existence of the Cherokee with a Apaches and their skills in surviving and some of the incredible accomplishments that they had, the fiber of their culture, their spiritualism, their family relationships, so that part of fulfilling. I would love to say that there's three great books that everybody should read. We sent the Geronimo book for first edit a week ago, Buddy Levy, I'm working with Buddy on it who is on history decoded a brilliant research author and all that. We're excited about it. So when the Geronimo book comes out, you know, everybody needs to buy a copy and you ought to buy a couple of extra in case you lose the first one. It's exciting and we're looking forward to it.”
Q. Coach, last year you had a pretty well publicized issue, what you called empty corpses and zombies last season, what are you doing to ensure that everybody is buying into your system so you don't get a zombie apocalypse this year?
COACH LEACH: “It's funny, this day and age people ask questions but they don't always want honest answers. In the midst of that, I mean, you know, if somebody is a zombie or corps, I'm the head zombie or corps. Anything with regard to a team effort or coaching, if you don't like the way your players are playing, that's about how well you're coaching, you know?
“But we have had a great off‑season. It started in January, worked incredibly hard. These two specimens that I have beside me, Elliott Bosch, Deone Bucannon, that's what I pretend to see when I look in the mirror, when I shave so they're in incredible shape and we couldn't be more excited to see what they can do out there on the field.”
Q. Deone, how will you go about approaching tackling in light of the new targeting rule?
DEONE BUCANNON: “Like Coach Leach said, it's definitely a rule that's going to be hard to abide by, going full speed, but at the same time, you know, whatever helps the other players for player safety. So if that's what the rule is, then I'm going to try as a player to the best of my ability to abide by those and to be as safe as possible for the other player and myself. I'm going to be more aware on the field and make proper adjustments like I should.”
COACH LEACH: “If we were to play today? If we were play in a couple months, I don't know, but today, Connor Halliday would be the quarterback. Had a great spring, did a great job, what I've been impressed is as a leader he takes the team on his shoulders and he's one of the guys I think brings people together.
“The most significant role that a quarterback plays is enhancing the skills of the other players around him. You know, I mean each team you go out there with has an arsenal of weapons and his ability to utilize most effectively those tools in a sharp, crisp, timely manner is huge as far as maximizing offensive effort and I think he's done a lot of good things and I'm excited to see where he's at because he's worked hard this off‑season and Austin Apodaca behind him, freshman, had a huge spring. He hadn't even thrown balls to the wands until spring football and I thought did a great job, both of them smart guys that pick things up quickly. ”