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Mike Leach, Washington State, And An Identity To Rally Around

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You're probably curious about Mike Leach, the system he runs and what it may look like at Washington State. It's an exciting prospect: With Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday showing plenty of promise at quarterback and Marquess Wilson leading a capable corps of wide receivers, the ingredients for an explosive, high-powered offense are already in place. Leach is walking into somewhat of a playland, and should be able to do plenty of exciting things from the start.

This isn't about Mike Leach and his offense though. Sure, I'm incredibly curious about Leach's Air Raid attack, but something else trumps his football prowess. Much of the buzz has centered around Leach in the last 24 hours, and rightfully so. Washington State fans are excited about what he brings to the table, what he can do for the football program and how he will impact the product on the field.

But there's another aspect to Leach that makes him a great fit for Pullman. Leach the person, the man behind the football mind, is just as intriguing, if not more, than what we all hope he'll help the football team accomplish. He's a character, and a guy Washington State fans can rally around. We'll enjoy the product he puts on the field -- I have no doubt about that -- but we may just enjoy Leach himself more.

Leach is a rallying point, and from all I've gathered he'll fit right in at Washington State. He's one of us at heart -- somewhat of a misfit who marches to the beat of his own drum, but also embraces it. He has identity -- you know the pirate persona and all that comes along with it by now -- and that identity infects those around him. Ask Texas Tech, who fell in love with Leach the person, Leach the football coach, and what he brought to Lubbock.

Washington State offers a fresh start for Leach in many ways, coming after two years of sitting on the sideline. He retreated to Key West, where he's spent his time far enough out of the limelight, but close enough to stay on the minds of many. In Pullman, he'll still be away from the bright lights and big city, but it would seem to fit right in with his personality. He's just close enough, but also far enough away.

By now, you've seen a lot about Leach being a favorite of bloggers and those who keep a keen eye on college football from somewhat off the beaten path. In many ways, he's one of us, with the us being bloggers and those who do things a bit differently. He's not a conventional coach, nor does he subscribe to conventional wisdom in any way. He's different, but different isn't a bad thing; in fact, it's great for a man set to dock his ship in Pullman and wave his pirate flag at Washington State.

We're Cougars: A close-knit family of fans and alumni who march to the beat of our own drum. We stop strangers and proudly say "Go Cougs," just as Leach, by all accounts, chats up anyone he comes into contact with about every subject under the sun. We bond over a symbol, a phrase and colors, and share the experience that comes along with being a Coug.

The framework is already in place at Washington State, and not just on the field. Where Texas Tech rallied around the pirate flag and Leach's principles, Washington State needs just to add an eye-patch, a skull and crossbones, and maybe a touch of black. We're a proud bunch. We do things our own way.

And Mike Leach is one of us.