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PULLMAN – Mike Leach didn’t wait until practice to make significant changes to Washington State’s special teams, dismissing coordinator Eric Russell two days after the Cougars gave up two kickoff returns for touchdowns and missed a potential winning 19-yard field goal in WSU’s 60-59 loss to California on Saturday. “We made a change at special teams, and while I think a great deal of coach Russell, but we wanted to split the special teams up among the assistants and the way he’s most effective is with him running the whole thing,” Leach said. “He’s a great coach. Yeah, I decided to make a change at special teams.”
Mike Leach announced at his Monday press conference that he has dismissed special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Eric Russell. The dismissal comes on the heals of Saturday's 60-59 loss to California in which WSU gave up back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns.
PULLMAN – Tales of how he broke into this profession aside, Eric Russell stops and circles back to the message coach Mike Leach tries to drill into his players each week. “For us, it can’t be a walk down memory lane or anything,” Russell said after Washington State finished practice on Tuesday. “It’s got to be another faceless opponent.”
AUBURN, Ala. – It’s different down here. Not just in Alabama, where college football is nearly synonymous with church for some fans. But in all geographical locations associated with the Southeastern Conference, which has established itself during the last decade as college football’s premier league in nearly every way.
It’s different down here. Not just in Alabama, where college football is nearly synonymous with church for some fans.
This is the eighth and final positional review of WSU’s 2013 football team. Today: Special teams. PULLMAN – Satisfaction is not a part of Eric Russell’s vocabulary, nor is it an acceptable state of mind for the Washington State special-teams coordinator.
PULLMAN – Austin Apodaca might have the upper hand in this competition. But you never know. Mike Bowlin is right there, too.
PULLMAN – So loquacious is Mike Leach that he’s sure to have a clever way to describe the game of freshman receiver Robert Lewis, a slight, super-quick athlete who’s been working into Washington State’s receiver rotation through the team’s first five practices this spring. But Lewis’ most important asset is so simple that Leach spits it out as if reciting a fact he’s known his whole life.
So loquacious is Mike Leach that he’s sure to have a clever way to describe the game of freshman receiver Robert Lewis, a slight, super-quick athlete who’s been working into Washington State’s receiver rotation through the team’s first five practices this spring.
The dark stripes of black paint gracing the cheeks of Mike Breske and Eric Russell were evidence enough that there’s just something different about this week.
PULLMAN – First, understand something: Eric Russell thinks very highly of Andrew Furney. Washington State’s junior kicker has done what’s been asked of him from Day 1, says Russell, the Cougars’ special-teams coordinator, so it’s no surprise that Furney was voted by his teammates to be one of five team captains when WSU opens its season at Brigham Young on Thursday.
This is the seventh of eight position previews of Washington State’s 2012 football team. Today: special teams. Tuesday: quarterbacks.
PULLMAN – It’s hard not to notice Mike Bowlin. That seems an odd statement, since Bowlin is a kicker, and kickers tend not to get noticed until they miss a chip-shot field goal in the waning seconds of a close game on national television.