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Highlights from Mike Leach’s 710 Seattle interview

Mike Leach was in Seattle yesterday for the final "A Night with Cougar Football" but first dropped by for a visit with 710 ESPN Seattle Danny Dave and Moore.

We've got highlights from the interview below and you can listen to the whole thing here.

Leach said that these days he's watching a lot of video of high school film as the WSU coaches try to pare down the thousands of prospects on their radar to a manageable recruiting list.

Dave Wyman – a former Stanford and NFL linebacker – asked Leach about the advances in video technology that make it possible to simply press a button and call up a recruit's film, rather than cut tape reels together and Leach acknowledged, while he "barely touched the 16 mm phase where you touch shiny side to shiny side," the current system is "one of the best things ever."

Then he told a story about being in Arizona trolling for film back in his days as an assistant at Kentucky.

Leach said he was in Scottsdale, Arizona and only had two days to get tape from a bunch of schools but he met with a coach who told him, "I just got fired; here's all the film and if you get your own tapes you can record the whole conference."

While waiting around Leach wandered over to the school's art department and met the department head, who told him if he came back later he'd love to show him what the students were working on.

"I go back there and go into the thing looking for him and right in the middle of the floor is a nude model," Leach said. "And I've got the Kentucky shirt and I'm the last guy to walk in and it's like a warehouse and there's a whole circle around the model either drawing or painting."

Unsure of how to proceed, Leach decided to "walk around to their paintings and drawings and would nod my head like I was a real connoisseur of art."

Leach was asked about social media and says he tweets occasionally although he also has people do it for him. He has SnapChat on his phone that he essentially only uses to receive short videos of his infant granddaughter.

The hosts then changed the subject to the NFL draft, specifically what makes evaluating quarterbacks so difficult.

"I think there's a lot of things that make it tough," Leach said. "It's the most poorly-evaluated position and everybody's starting QB isn't a first rounder but everyone picks them in the first round."

He added that the rate at which coaches are hired and fired in the NFL makes it so that teams don't always want the same traits as the guy they just drafted and pointed out that quarterbacks often come from smaller schools while running backs generally come from powerhouses as evidence that quarterbacks are harder to evaluate.

"The quarterback's ultimate job is to make the people around him better," Leach said. "If you're accurate and can throw 45 yards or better and you can develop those skills at a lot of different places."

He added, "All teams have defensive ends that can throw the thing a mile and they'd love to play quarterback."

The hosts asked about the personality of quarterbacks and what sort of things he asks recruits to determine if they have the right mental makeup.

"I want to get a feel for them and you want a guy that has a little charisma that you feel like your players and the rest of your team will draw from," Leach said. "What their coaches and classmates think of them."

He also said he doesn't like bad GPAs because if recruits have bad grades they "might be dumb but the biggest thing is they're lazy—if you've got a bad GPA, you're lazy."

Leach said the most important trait for a quarterback was confidence.

Moore asked Leach about Connor Halliday's draft prospects.

"I think (he will do) really well, I think he'll get drafted," Leach said. "He's got the best arm of anybody coming out. Throws it better, throws it more accurately, comes off his hand quicker. It's unfortunate he got injured but if you're going to get injured a clean ankle break is about as good as you can hope for."

In fact, Leach said that Halliday told him that the ankle that was broken feels stronger than the other one since he had a rod inserted.

"Isn't this sort of like breast implants," Leach says he asked Halliday. "Why didn't you get them both done?"

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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