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Leach speaks out on Power 5 autonomy and Seattle Game on Day 7

The Cougar football team held a shortened practice on Day 7 of fall camp. Mike Leach spent a few extra minutes with the media and spoke out about several topics, including his view of the Power 5 and the Seattle Game.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

From Lewiston -- The WSU football team was back in helmets and shoulder pads for Day 7 of fall camp in Lewiston. It was by far the coolest day in Lewiston yet with temperatures in the mid-80s and a nice breeze.  The practice was shortened by an hour to give players a bit of a break after six days of full length practices.

"The consideration is that do you want a practice that's fast or crisp where your getting full speed or do you want one where they're going to drag at some point?" said Leach when asked why he chose to cut practice short.

With the shortened practice, the offense for both the ones and twos started in the middle of the field rather than deep in the defensive side's territory. The offense really stood out scoring on several plays. Dom Williams had a pair of really nice touchdown catches. Rickey Galvin also scored two touchdowns, one with the ones and the other with the twos. The catch he made with the ones was particularly impressive as he hauled in an over the shoulder pass on a corner route. Coming back the other way, Jamal Morrow had a big run with the twos and John Thompson caught a touchdown pass from Luke Falk.

The biggest story of the day was Leach spending a few extra minutes with reporters answering a broad range of questions from preparing for Rutgers to Power 5 football scheduling. Here is a a summary of what he had to say:

Bender - Leach was asked how Peyton Bender is faring thus far in camp. Bender is yet to practice with the ones or twos as he is getting his feet under him and learning the offense. Still, Leach says Bender is a quick learner:

"He is doing good and has picked up the offense quicker than expected because he was able to be productive really the first day. But he's still working to get it where it's automatic," said Leach

Leach is also impressed with Bender's arm.

"The ball comes off his hand real well and he's a real accurate guy," said Leach on Bender's throwing.

Bender's progress will be important to follow as the season progresses. When Connor Halliday graduates after this season, Bender will likely find himself going head-to-head next season with Luke Falk for the starting quarterback job.

Rutgers prep -- Leach says that preparation for the Rutgers game will likely start the "week before the first week." He also said that the team really didn't spend anytime looking at Rutgers on film over the summer. Fall camp is more for training and evaluation. The extra time the Cougs have to look ahead towards Rutgers doesn't matter much. The team will treat them as any other opponent.

"We'll develop our skills and work on the looks we're going to see for a variety of teams all season," said Leach.

Seattle game -- The Cougs will play Rutgers in what has been an almost annual Seattle Game in the season opener on August 28th. Moos says that the status of the Seattle Game is currently under evaluation with no future home games scheduled in Seattle for the foreseeable future. Leach appreciates the value of playing in front of the Seattle fan base, but says that Martin Stadium is a more preferable place to play.

"Players and coaches like playing at home. Martin Stadium is a heckuva a place and we have done that up. That's a great environment. That's our environment. So I guess that's probably our favorite," answered Leach when asked his preference.

Autonomy -- Leach was not short on words when asked what he thought about the recent vote towards power conference autonomy:

"The NCAA has evolved to the point where it's difficult to meet the needs of all the people that they're asked to meet the needs of. You have anything from DIII and all the different divisions and women's sports. And then the magnitude of Division I football and the ability to match and address all those needs out of one office is pretty tough. For quite some time we have been asking a lot of the NCAA. It's a pretty difficult thing to fulfill. Obviously, there needs to be a governing body, and there has to be accountability, there has to be rules, there has to be if you break the rules this going to happen. They'll have to set that up. I think if it's done right it's like most political things that involve committees, you need to keep an eye on it. If it's done right I think it can be really well-tailored to football. Just kind of make it clear-cut and less bureaucratic for the whole sport."

Power 5 only -- Washington head coach Chris Petersen sparked off some recent controversy when he said that teams in the Power 5 conferences should only play each other. A lot of coaches in the Power 5 would agree with Petersen. However, considering that Petersen has been a major benefactor from the current arrangement as the former coach of Boise State, some people took exception to his opinion. Leach thinks that the verdict is still out as to whether or not this takes place. However, it is not necessarily something that he favors.

"I think that when it comes to playing, there is room to play other folks. I don't have a problem with the variety of playing other people," said Leach when asked if he agrees with Petersen.

Athlete compensation -- Leach was also asked how he thinks student-athletes should be treated:

"I'd like to see players get more. Certainly the cost of attendance, but I think all the schools have to be the same. If we let this evolve into a bidding war, everybody will regret that. The other thing is that we can't lose sight of that fact they are student-athletes. The day that we lose sight of the fact that they're student athletes is the day that when you break your leg, you need to have a pre-med student take care of it, because he probably won't charge as much as an actual doctor."

Saturday -- WSU Athletic Communications sent out an email informing the media that Saturday's practice will be a scrimmage consisting of roughly 50 plays and we'll begin at approximately 3:15 pm. If you are in the area, I'd encourage you to come and take a look at the team right now. They're working their tails off to build something special for us to get excited about this fall. The actual practice starts at 2:30 if you want to arrive early. The high temperature is predicted to only get up to about 87, according the Weather Channel, so it will be pretty seasonable weather. There is also some shade around the bleacher area.

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