Cougars begin final preparations for Auburn

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Washington State didn't practice on Monday, but will go through practice and conduct weekly interviews today.

When press conference day has arrived, you know the season is close. As is customary, WSU will hold player and Mike Leach press conferences this afternoon. The team will also hit the practice field for the fist time this week. WSU will practice today and tomorrow before heading to Auburn on Thursday.

I haven't found which players will be available to press today, but if I was going to venture a guess I'd say Connor Halliday and Darryl Monroe with Elliott Bosch another possibility. Halliday is an obvious choice as he will likely become the next WSU quarterback to start a season opener.

That list, by the way, is long. Since 2003 WSU only Alex Brink has started at quarterback in consecutive season openers. When Halliday takes the first snap against the Tigers he will be the eighth different Week 1 starting quarterback from WSU during that span. Here's a look at the list:

Connor Halliday (2013), Jeff Tuel (2012), Marshall Lobbestael (2011), Tuel (2010), Kevin Lopina (2009), Gary Rogers (2008), Alex Brink (2007), Brink (2006), Brink (2005), Josh Swogger (2004), Matt Kegel (2003).

That, of course, assumes Halliday will start. Maybe Leach will make that official during his press conference today.

Football:

A few previews and some high praise for the Cougar coaching staff from Football Scoop.

*****

Washington St. at Auburn - Spokesman.com - Aug. 27, 2013
What it means for WSU: This tough road test is in stark contrast to the Cougars’ 2012 season opener at Brigham Young.

Halliday seeks mastery of coach's mystery | The Columbian
Opposing defenses have spent years trying to figure out how to stop Mike Leach's high-octane, hurry-up, pass-happy offense. In most cases, those defenses have experienced little success and considerable frustration.

Mike Leach: Washington State 'not that far off' from good season | al.com
Mike Leach believes Washington State is inching closer to a breakthrough season. The coach starts his second season with the Cougars with a 6 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Auburn. Washington State is 16-point underdog entering the opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but Leach has a reason to believe the Cougars will improve upon their 3-9 record from a year ago.

Scouting Report: 5 players to watch on Washington State's offense | al.com
Mike Leach's Air Raid offense is familiar to college football fans from his days at Texas Tech, and the Cougars' head coach has his players in their second year in the system after overhauling it upon his arrival last year. The question is whether or not Washington State can take a giant step forward after struggling in Leach's scheme in his first season in Pullman, Wash.

Washington State’s Nolan Washington hoping for strong finish with Cougars | Cougar Football | The Seattle Times
PULLMAN – It was going to be the recruiting class that signaled a rebirth at Washington State for prospects in the Puget Sound area. An incursion that would make the University of Washington sit up and take notice.

The Top Ten - 10 staffs that will impress you this season
1. Washington State - The season-ending win over Washington was a great symbolic start to Mike Leach's turnaround project at Wazzu, and a staff with Leach, Mastro, Yost, McGuire, Breske, Russell, etc... can't stay down for long. With one season under their belt, and a roster that is beginning to look right, we expect more wins this season including a shocker or two.

Mike Leach on the radio:

Leach made two radio appearances on Monday. One to talk Jeff Tuel and another to talk WSU on Yahoo! Sports Radio.

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Mike Leach: Changing The Cougar Culture | Yahoo Sports Radio
Washington State football head coach Mike Leach joined Travis Rodgers to talk about what he expects from the Cougars in his second year at the helm.

Bills QB Jeff Tuel's college Head Coach Mike Leach on SiriusXM's NFL Radio.

Bills QB Jeff Tuel's college Head Coach Mike Leach on Late Hits with Alex Marvez & Gil Brandt talking about the quarterback.

Auburn:

Ellis Johnson: Auburn's secondary starters are strong, but depth issues a concern against Washington State | al.com
For all intents and purposes, Auburn's front-line secondary has at least one advantage heading into Saturday's matchup against Mike Leach's Air Raid offense.

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