This roller coaster of a Cougar football season has many fans (myself included) feeling cautiously optimistic about the upcoming matchup with Stanford this weekend, and on Thursday, Mike Leach shared some thoughts on what might have turned the season around.
The WSU head coach joined host John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle. They talked about Saturday’s game and the team’s development in the last month. One thing that he seems to be more pleased with is the team’s toughness. It was just three weeks ago, after the Boise St game, when Leach eviscerated the team for how hard it was playing.
"Our team has gone from being pathetically not physical to pretty physical the last two weeks," Leach said to Clayton.
It does seem like there’s room for improvement in that regard, and Leach isn’t impressed with every player.
"We’ve got a few guys still who think toughness is an angry expression and blustery outbursts."
Any way you slice it, the Cougs have improved as the season has gone along, and getting tougher has probably contributed. We all saw the Cougs maul Oregon in the trenches last week, something they didn’t do against Eastern in week one. On that note, check out this breakdown of the offensive line’s performance against the Ducks (h/t ptowncoug30). It’s written by a saddened Oregon fan, making it all the more enjoyable.
Is it time to buy back in on this football team? Have they found their edge, their toughness? Or was last week a mirage, that will fade as the Cougs continue into conference play?
I say to hell with it, this team is legit and the Oregon game proved that. By percentile performance, a stat you can find on Football Study Hall’s advanced stat profiles, WSU has already played near elite levels twice this year. The Cougs’ scores of 89% and 88% against Boise St and Oregon are higher than any they achieved last year, according to the metric. I’ve talked myself back into this team, and will surely regret it within 48 hours. Cougs by two touchdowns.
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