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Mondays with Mike

From Pullman --The Cougars had their weekly Monday press conference today, and there were a couple gems from head coahc Mike Leach. Follow the jump to head the WSU's head coach's thoughts on the Cal game, his offensive line, and dog breeds.

(Final thoughts on the Cal game?)

I thought we left a lot of plays and opportunities on the table. I thought it was good that we got in a rhtym I thought we played together well, we distributed the ball well. The biggest thing was we're a team that played real hard, we're a team that is explosive. We need to be a little more consistent but we were explosive and we did playhard. I tend to guage not on how many we got but how many opportunities you had andhow effective you were within that.

(How are the H receivers?)

It's fine, there's some competition at that position. We'd like a little more production at that position than we're getting. I did think Rickey [Galvin] had a good game; I think it was Ricky's best game all year.  But we need to get two deep, we'll look at a couple faces there see what we can generate.

(How did Matt Goetz do in his start?)

It was pretty good, I think that combination played together well. Goetz I think did a good job pass protecting. The biggest thing is if we can get consistent practices out of him that he can continue to play well I think he can continue to hold onto the position. There's going to continue to be competition at the position. He started last week, I don't know that he'll start this week.

(Did the Air Raid run well?)

I think it's important to have distribution. I though Connor did a good job getting it to the backs. I like the fact that we didn't' run that much but they had quite a few touches. I did think it went pretty good as far as, there was some balance to how many touches by position. So I thought that was all the bright spots of the game.

(You're getting a lot of production out of the Z receiver)

I think part of it is Kristoff's older and powerful and has really taken offand that's helped the position. They're explosive and they complement each other well. Dominique Williams has been playing really well. We have players that are emerging and somewhere down the road one of them may end up being an inside receiver at some point. I think our Y's are kind of emerging, the H has been a little more frustrating. The thing is you try to have some combination of the best eight out there and part of our Z thing is, it's taken off but with Gabe and Kristoff you have a big guy and a smaller niftier guy so if you can get combinations of that it can  be tough on folks.

(Vince Mayle seems to be coming on)

He's done a really good job blocking, made some big plays and he made some big errors.  But I think he's getting better and he really wants the football. I think he's improved and seemed to be a lot better this week in practice. But he's big and strong, probably bigger and stronger than he realizes. When he gets out of being a finesse player and just is forceful and aggressive I think he'll get better and better.
(Halliday) I might put him in there if I wanted to see him get pounded. I've thought about it, maybe at the end of the year.

(Did the team improve)

I feel like we've got to improve this week and win one game a week. We've got to prepare the best we can to win one against Oregon St. It's kind of a repetitious process. I felt we improved, we played together reasonably well,  explosive. I thought we needed to be more consistent, we weren't a real consistent team.

(Connor struggled against OSU last year)

I think it had more to do with Connor's development than Oregon St. Oregon State's a good team, they play real hard. They've got a good defensive front, there's no real tricks about it. I think it had more to do with Connor. Well going into Oregon St. he never really started or played very much. So the fact that he's started and played whatever it is I think six full games, it's definitely helped him and he's way ahead of where he was last year.

(Connor hurt first drive)

I think he was fine, I don't think he was in any pain. There's always a bit of drama out there, I wasn't distressed in any way and I'm sure he wasn't either.

(Is this the response you expected after Stanford)

We just let Stanford get away from us. Stanford's a great football team, we go in [17-3] at the half or whatever it was. The beginning of the third quarter I think we went three-and-out first but shortly after that we get a pass intercepted for a touchdown and then they stop us and score. Stuff was just reeling after that so it was a little inflated, which we allowed to happen. We just had to play better and it was one of those games that exploded on us.

(Nice to see the running backs involved in the passing game?) I don't care where they get their touches but we've got three of them playing pretty well, all three improving. All three have a long ways to go but Mason, Laufasa and Caldwell. I think they're playing better and I think we're playing a little better up front.

(Student Question: Any advice on getting a dog)

Don't get one until you're older. I had great experiences with dogs but I grew up in the country where you could let them run. One time we were pheasant hunting and my friend accidentally shot his brother's dog. It was a really cold day and there was a lot of snow and we were walking up on the pheasants. When you hunt pheasants you get really close and they'll startle you like crazy because they're lifting off in front of you, your'e right on top of them there's all this rustling in the snow and they take off.

The pheasant takes off and the dog jumps to try and grab the pheasant out of the air. About then my buddy shot and killed the dog because the dog was in the line of fire of the pheasant.

First of all, they're hard to lose. When I was a kid I lost a couple dogs and that was a big blow. One of them got run over by a car. My advice is to wait until you get established somewhere, wait until you have a job. But if you get a dog now make sure you have someobdy really enthusiastic hanging around to take care of the dog. My daughter's got a dog, and I don't think that was the wisest college decision on her part because she's monkeying with that dog all the time.

(What if the dog marks their property)

First of all we've got to distinguish the difference between a dog and a guinea pig. These people carring around dogs that resemble guinea pigs, I can't see it, don't understand it never have never will. My thought is if you have one of those little bitty dogs like that, get a guinea pig and stick it in a box instead of your dog.

(Favorite breed?) The best dog I ever had was a terrier, like a mixed dog that we got from the pound. By far the best dog I ever had, not a breed that I necessarily would have selected but we got it from the pound. As a kid everywhere I would go on my bike it followed. And I mean miles, because like I said we lived ... like 10 miles. That dog was in great shape and real warrior.

We always had black labs and probably one of the best breeds. I think temperament they're good, they're really smart dogs. In our case pheasant hunting and duck hunting entered into it a little bit. One of the most impressive things -- it'd be really cold, and we'd be on teh Shoshonee river. And of course it's moving so it didn't freeze just because it got to freezing, it'd be like 10 degrees or something. You'd shoot a duck and that duck would land in the middle of the river. And you might've winged the duck and the dog would rush out into the freezing river and go hand-to-hand combat with the duck. And it would literally be a war in the middle of the river, because they're just going to war battling each other. And finally the dog would take the duck and bring it to your feet, which I thought was a pretty impressive feat. Labs are hard to beat, we always had black labs but I don't think it matters what color. I think labs are hard to beat. I like beagles, like the fact that they make a lot of noise, take off the neighbors, but they don't age well. But they don't age well. The older they get they get fat bodies and little heads. 

Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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