FROM PULLMAN -- Mike Leach said on today's Pac-12 coaches call that Jeff Tuel's application for a fifth year of eligibility has been approved by the conference. Now, it's up to the NCAA. So what does that mean for his chances? It's hard to say just yet. But today's news isn't a bad sign. Read on.
I asked Leach some more about Tuel after practice today. He still seems pretty confident that it'll work out, saying, "If they don’t approve his they need to do away with the rule. He falls right in it. It’s not like he’s on the edge."
When I asked if Tuel playing against Oregon State last year in the second half of the season would complicate things, Leach said he didn't think so, because, he said, Tuel had a recurring injury, which apparently is something taken into consideration in these cases.
... Leach seemed relatively pleased with practice overall, despite showing some frustration with the offense at times. But that unit picked things up during team session against the No. 1 defense, and played pretty well during goal-line situations, too. ... Isiah Myers and Teondray Caldwell are still missing from practice, though Gabe Marks, who left Saturday's game with an injury, was able to practice fully. So was Leon Brooks, who missed Saturday's game with a right foot/ankle injury. Gino Simone, who was seen limping during the Stanford game, had some sort of wrap on his ankle and was limited.
... The team gathered for a sort of rock-em sock-em robot competition at the end of practice, using glove-like pad contraptions to smack each other around and try to knock the other off balance.
Here's more of what Leach had to say ...
(On Utah's defense) "I think they are a good defense. They’ve given up some big plays. I think overall down in and down out, they’re pretty big. They’ve just given up some explosives. They play hard, they run to the ball good, all those things."
(On running against Utah) "Them and Stanford are kind of the class of the league on that. Their thing is they play with one safety a lot and try to outnumber you. You just try to find a crease there."
(On Utah playing better at home) "Haven’t evaluated it that way. Obviously it’s a great place to play, they’ve expanded that setting, it's a beautiful setting, really an exciting place to play so we’re excited to go up there and play."
(On the offense's performance in practice) "Kind of back and forth. The first part of skel I didn’t think was anything better then we got better, team I thought we were pretty good all the way through. The first part of 1-on-1 was a little slow. I thought the o-line did pretty good on inside and 1-on-1 then when we got to the goal line with 1-on-1 we looked pretty good."
(On Utah's quarterbacks) "I think they’re all talented. They’re all going to be good it’s just once they get the reps and all that stuff. I think they’re still trying to iron it out, make things automatic. Not too unlike us. They've had a mixture of guys, though."
(On facing a freshman quarterback) "You just try to cloud his decisions and hope he makes slow ones but first of all, he’s ahead of the average, run of the mill freshman, no question about it. And he's getting better all the time."