Our annual "lets hear the crazy crap Mike Leach has to say because this is the one day most media members can get him to do it" is here with the Pac-12 Media Day. Leach hit the podium at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles around 11:30 this morning and was obviously dehydrated.
This water bottle has been up here through four press conferences as decoration. Leach just started drinking it. pic.twitter.com/YFyOe5zwSV— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) July 14, 2016
As usual, Leach's time with the media wasn't spent peppering him with actual questions about his football team because, despite Leach's sometimes obvious distain for media questions, he gives answers every single member of said media wants to hear. Like ...
Mike Leach was asked if he's seen any hordes of you Pokemon Go zombies walking around Pullman. pic.twitter.com/bL2YwPmRzK— Aaron Falk (@aaronfalk) July 14, 2016
Noticeably absent from media day is junior quarterback Luke Falk but Leach's practice is to usually bring seniors to these events anyhow. With the inclusion of Gabe Marks, we knew we were going to get some good sound bites about Falk anyhow.
Gabe Marks: "I call (Luke Falk) the 'Messiah of the Palouse' and also 'The CEO of Washington State football,' because he runs the show."— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) July 14, 2016
More Marks on Falk: "Leach gets a lot of credit and he should, because he's Mike Leach, but Luke is the reason why this started working."— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) July 14, 2016
Marks is usually effusive in his praise of his quarterback so it's not surprising to see him give the record-breaker an awful lot of credit for the turn around this team has experienced.
What of the potential for Luke Falk to show up in New York this December for a trophy presentation involving a bronze dude trying to stiff arm someone? His coach wouldn't say no!
Mike Leach on Luke Falk for Heisman: "I'm in favor of it."— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) July 14, 2016
SOMEONE GET A NEW BANNER FOR THE DUSTY GRAIN ELEVATOR READY!
Wrapping up their time on stage, we come back to the "ask Mike Leach open ended questions, get long, funny answers" portion of our program:
After their time on stage, Leach, Marks and Henry headed outside for their TV time with the Pac-12 Network. Leach was first up on the stage with Mike Yam, Curtis Conway, and Yogi Roth, where we actually got some questions about his football team and their performance last year, including why Leach seems to be firmly in the #NeverPunt camp.
"The simple answer is we go for it on 4th down if we think we can make it," Leach said. "I do think you need to have confidence in your ability to convert fourth downs. The other thing is there’s spots on the field where if you somehow fail to make it, I don’t expect that to happen, but you’re not really in a bad spot. Try not to lose sight of the fact that touchdowns are worth more than field goals and if you make half of them you still come out a point ahead."
Leach would go on to praise his starting quarterback for what he means to this football team, especially to the offense.
"The biggest thing as far as (Falk) personally is just steady improvement," said Leach. "One of his biggest strengths is he doesn’t have a glaring weakness. Like anybody, he can always improve in everything and he’ll continue to do that, he’s a tireless worker. He does a great job of managing the unit, our team draws from him, draws from his focus, his composure and his work ethic."
Next up were the student athletes Leach brought with him to the sunny Southland, including Henry, who recently earned a scholarship while he mother fights multiple sclerosis. The senior says he draws much of his inspiration from her and his father.
"I’ve just tried to work hard ever since I’ve gotten to WSU, something that’s been instilled in me since a young age," Henry said. "My parents from day one, get up at the crack of dawn every day and they work their butts off. If I didn’t do the same, I’d feel like I’m letting them down."
Finally, Gabe Marks picked up the microphone and there's never a dull moment when he does. Marks, unexpectedly to me anyway because of his talent, announced right after the Sun Bowl he'd be coming back for his senior season. Marks, at the time, said he wanted to finished what he started and get to a Rose Bowl, a point he reiterated again.
"I wasn’t done with what I thought I needed to do," Marks said. "The NFL is gunna be there. There’s no need to rush into the hard life of the business when you can get a chance to play college football with your friends one more time and try to win some games."
Training camp is just a few weeks away, y'all. Get ready.