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Tuesday, September 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Monday press conference: Mike Leach

Today's was not your typical Monday press conference at Washington State. Coach Mike Leach talked about the win at Utah and the challenge presented by Saturday's game against California, but he also gave quotes like this:

"I'm not really good with technology. All this button pushing and whatnot. I mean, you can just imagine based on what's happened in the last 15 years. Conversations won't happen 10 years from now. There aren't going to be people to talk to, it's going to be this (mimics pushing buttons). 'Do you want to go out on a date with me?' 'I don't know, what do you look like?' 'Well I look kind of like this.' 'OK, what are your interests?' 'Well, what do you think my interests are? Looking into this thing and typing into this just like yours are.' 'Yeah, no kidding, that's what everybody's doing.' 'Well, where do you want to go?' 'Well, what  difference does it make? Because all we're going to be doing is looking into machines anyways.' Well, that's true and in the end it's going to be tough to perpetuate the species. There's no question about that. So we're all going to look in this box and eventually be extinct. That's how it ends."

More highlights from Leach's press conference are available after the jump.

...

(Is there a better teaching example of the "don't look at the scoreboard" philosophy than a 21 point comeback?)

I think the last game was a pretty good one. We just had to focus on, rather than disappointment, each individual play and keep stacking them up. Stack up plays and be patient enough until you get back in it and win it.

(Is it game players can look back on in the future when they face adversity?)

I think it probably reinforces that, I think it's helpful in that fashion.

 (Are you more confident in the defense after they held Utah for so long?)

I felt like they really only gave up seven points because, I don't recall the drives exactly but I think they were set up by turnovers and they had pretty good field position when those things started. I thought our defense played pretty well, played pretty hard and it just needs to reinforce to them that if they play fast, play hard together they can be pretty good.

(How different is California's 'Bear Raid' than WSU's Air Raid offense?)

Quite a bit different, I think it's different. They do some of that double tight stuff that we've messed with over the years. They'll do some quick game, a screen on this side a quick game on the other side but you know, they've got really good receivers and a good quarterback so they do a good job.

(When Cal coach Sonny Dykes was your assistant at Texas Tech was he trying to get you to implement some of that stuff?)

Dana (Holgerson) was kind of always more of the voice of that  and then of course I still ran the offense but nah, he just sort of coached his guys, coached the receivers and did a good job of that.

(What do you recall of Cal quarterback Jared Goff from last year?)

Yeah, he was really good. Good, resilient, throws the ball really well. The ball comes off his hand fast. I think he's really good and I also think he's a pretty mature guy for where he's at as far as his classification.

(What's your relationship like with Sonny?)

I see him a couple times a year and we always talk. We've known each other for a long time, it goes clear back to when he was my GA at the University of Kentucky so I've known him for a long time. You've got all the coaching things, the Pac-12 meetings so I'll see him there always.

(What made you realize that a fire and brimstone speech wasn't the best tactic when you gathered the team after the first timeout?)

We just had to reset our focus, not play out of control just focus on one play at a time and just do that. Sometimes when you get in a situation like that where bad things have happened to you, you try to overcorrect and get it all back in one play, which causes you to squander additional plays and I thought it was important to not do that

(Were the young guys, such as Frankie Luvu, who are just starting to play not ready earlier in the season?)

He's strong and explosive. I think we should have had him out there earlier but the sooner the better.

(How important was it to continue the trajectory of improvement from the Oregon game and avoid taking a step back?)

It's always important to steadily improve your skills. That's why you practice, that's why you do the whole thing. You can constantly be building and improving, it's always been interesting me and I get questions like this every year. And I will every other week for the rest of the season. It will be something to the affect of 'well, you're playing this team and they're really good so are you guys gonna practice extra hard this week?' Well, if we're doing our job how can we practice extra hard? If we're out there playing as hard as we can every day there isn't no 'extra hard' we're already as hard as we can be. Then there's the notion that, you know this, ah, you know that practice is just a JC softball league or something like that, you know yuk yuk, ha ha, on now that we've got somebody that's tough let's practice hard. No, it's a series of steady improvement, you discover what you can do you build from that, improve on that, your timing and your level of play and intensity increases and if you successfully do that time upon time upon time you'll be a better player. As everybody does it individually you'll be a better team and as people start to lose their focus on something like that you have to regenerate it and if somebody doesn't buy into that you get rid of them. It's about as simple as that.

(When you called the timeout was the team's effort where you wanted it to be?)

I'll be honest, I think the Utah defense at that time – I felt like the Utah defense was playing harder than us. And so I think we had to refocus there, I think our defense was playing well, I thought our defense was playing pretty well other than the explosive play and  we didn't want to lose that focus there, and really on all three sides of the ball. It wasn't really a lack of effort. I mean, it wasn't a clean performance by any stretch, sort of excited and sloppy but I think everybody from the beginning was excited to win, committed to win and playing the best they could.

(What's the benefit to having both Jamal Morrow and Wicks on the field at the same time rather than a receiver?)

Well I think you have two quality running backs there and the running backs are kind of the best athletes on the field. Then, the other thing, the defense has to make a choice whether they're going to fill up, whether they're going to put everybody inside the front there to defend the run or whether they're going to defend the pass. You just try to identify what they do and figure out where you have the best advantage to play. Sometimes you run it, sometimes you throw it, sometimes it's in between and sometimes it's a variety but it does give them some problems lining up if those backs are successful and especially if both of them are doing pretty good.

(Did you show Robert Lewis' block on the Mayle touchdown to the team?)

That's one of the greatest effort clips of the season. Robert Lewis, threw the pass to Vince Mayle, Robert Lewis ran his route then reversed course and then he decleated the defensive back that probably would have made the tackle. (The play would) probably be for a big gain, but (the defensive back) probably would have made the tackle. Robert Lewis blew him up and Vince scored. It was a great play from the neck up by Robert Lewis and just a great effort clip.

(Leach was asked about River Cracraft and what a difference the mental game makes to wide receivers.)

It's funny, you know guys who can focus on doing what they can do are the guys that have the most success early. And you see it at all levels and you see it at different positions.

Like one example, and I always use receivers as an example because there's the isolated skill of catching a ball. I get guys from a high school and they've got great hands, never drop a ball. You watch them in practice, just very skilled with their hands, never drop a ball, never drop a ball, never drop a ball. And then you get them in college and oh they'll drop balls for a year in a half. Now how the hell can they drop a ball? All there is – it doesn't matter if the ball is thrown by an All-Pro or a machine or a junior high kid. There's a ball flies through the air, there it is, either you catch it or you don't. But all of a sudden, just by virtue of going to college they can't catch a ball for a year and a half and then they'll settle in and they'll have a great career. And I've had guys start like that and become All-Americans. They'll have a great career and then they'll go to the NFL, and they'll get to the NFL, and there was nobody in college that had any better hands than they did. They'll go to the NFL and all of a sudden they can't catch. Well, how's that possible they can't catch? Well, clearly it's mental. Guys that let stuff run around in their head. "Oh my gosh I'm in college. Oh my gosh these guys are bigger. Oh my gosh they're better. Where do I get a haircut? What's the best hamburger place here? Oh, I've got English class well mom's not making me go so how do I get there. Oh, this girl in English is really hot but I'm sure she hates me." It just goes on, and on, and on. But those that are able to seal it out, like River Cracraft evidently, have a chance to go out there and do it like they could in high school and build on that. That's what's key. But there are some great, great players out there who go through the long windup and adjustment.

(Who will play the main character in the Mike Leach biopic?)

I always say John Cusack and I've never met him or know him. I like all his movies but I've been told that he looks a little like me and maybe mannerisms are similar. Also I liked him in the baseball movie –what was it – Eight Man Out

(Do you have a stereo to serenade someone with?)

I'm not really good with technology. All this button pushing and whatnot. I mean, you can just imagine based on what's happened in the last 15 years. Conversations won't happen 10 years from now. There aren't going to be people to talk to, it's going to be this (mimics pushing buttons). 'Do you want to go out on a date with me?' 'I don't know, what do you look like?' 'Well I look kind of like this.' 'OK, what are your interests?' 'Well, what do you think my interests are? Looking into this thing and typing into this just like yours are.' 'Yeah, no kidding, that's what everybody's doing.' 'Well, where do you want to go?' 'Well, what  difference does it make? Because all we're going to be doing is looking into machines anyways.' Well, that's true and in the end it's going to be tough to perpetuate the species. There's no question about that. So we're all going to look in this box and eventually be extinct. That's how it ends.




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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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