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How has Washington State fared following bye weeks under Mike Leach?

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The Cougs haven’t had their week off this late in the season recently

Colorado v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

The Cougs will enter the Apple Cup this year with an extra week of rest and preparation courtesy of their late season bye. Whether or not seven extra days will be beneficial to WSU is not clear however.

Since Mike Leach arrived in Pullman in 2012 his teams have played six times with extended rest and have a record of 2-4. The last time the Cougs came off a bye, against Oregon in 2016, they cruised to a 51-33 home victory over the Ducks.

That game broke a two game post bye week losing streak. In 2015, WSU lost a close one in Berkeley to Cal, and in 2014 they fell to Arizona at home after having an extra week off.

The Cougs were given two bye weeks in 2013 and played a Thursday night game against Arizona State in the middle of that stretch. They lost to the Sun Devils on Halloween that year but two weeks later redeemed themselves with a win over Arizona. Perhaps “rust” isn’t that big of a factor after all.

Overall, there is little evidence to suggest that the Cougs have played above their usual abilities when they’ve come off a bye week under Mike Leach, but the sample size is awfully small.

Theo Lawson of the Spokesman Review asked Leach for his thoughts on bye weeks Thursday, in an interview after practice. The head coach said he prefers them two thirds of the way through the season.

Defensive Line Coach Jeff Phelps gave more insight in his time with the media. Phelps said he was worried about playing 11 straight weeks when he first saw the schedule but is happy with how the team handled the work load.

“The bye week, where it’s placed for us is great because it gives a little extra time to prepare for a great team,” Phelps said.

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