Good morning. It may be the middle of February, and there may not be anything going on until spring practice starts, but Cougar Football was prevalent throughout the airwaves this week. New Defensive Coordinator Tracy Claeys appeared on KJR, Mike Leach appeared with guest host/Oregonian columnist John Canzano on the Dan Patrick Show, and the guys at 247 sports touched on the Cougs in a discussion about which college football teams to “buy or sell.”
We’ll start with Leach’s appearance with Canzano. I don’t tend to be particularly interested in Leach’s interviews, mostly because they’re largely boilerplate, and many times outright nonsensical (like a couple years ago when he said over and over that WSU won six games as double-digit underdogs in 2015, which wasn’t close to true). Canzano’s interviews are the exception, though, as the two seem to have a great rapport and Leach tends to give better football-related nuggets than he does with anyone else.
Among the topics discussed:
- Leach tends to let the staff take a vacation shortly after signing day. It was probably easier to do that this year since every body seemingly left on their own. For his part, Leach is in Utah.
- Canzano asked about Leach’s response to Tyler Hilinski’s suicide, and Leach believes that the best thing to do is make as much counseling available as possible, and to have several team-related activities in order to bring everybody together. Claeys touched on that as well in his interview.
- When asked about the large amount of assistant turnover, he said he was excited that his guys got to take a step up, but hiring new coaches is always a nuisance. I agree, especially when you have to hire so many.
- They then talked about whether or not it helped that Leach didn’t play football at a high level, and how that shaped his coaching. Leach said the toughest part for guys in his position was getting a foot in the door, because ex-players tend to make more contacts on the way up, enabling them an easier path toward entry-level positions.
- On the other hand, Leach believes it is a positive that, having not grown up in the game, he didn’t feel burdened to coach “by the book” and was more able to think counterintuitively and question why things should be done in certain ways.
- They got back to football at the end, following a left turn into whether aliens exist and if the sun is actually cold. Leach believes that each conference should play the same amount of conference games, and the conferences should decide together to either hold conference title games or do away with them. I agree (and think every conference should play nine games).
- He appears to have come off his nonsensical idea that college football should hold a 64-team playoff, but says it should be at least 16 teams. We vehemently disagree there, as I am perfectly fine with four, and don’t want any playoff to include more than six teams.
The Tracy Claeys interview with Ian Furness also contained a few interesting nuggets. Claeys said that he actually contacted Mike Leach first. I get the feeling that Claeys reached out to a lot of coaches, as he was looking to get back into coaching after his exit from Minnesota. He was also almost certainly aware that Leach would have an opening since Alex Grinch’s eventual exit was one of the worst-kept secrets of the bowl season. Claeys was also pretty frank on how they shut down the WSU offense in the Holiday Bowl.
Finally, the guys at 247 Sports had a “buy or sell”-themed podcast, in which they spanned the college football nation to discuss which teams they are bullish on for 2018, and which teams they think will take a step back. They are very high on both Washington and Stanford, which means somebody in the Pac-12 North needs to fall back. Welp. The WSU-related portion begins at the 36:00 mark, and their reasoning is pretty solid.
BFT on Dan Patrick Show: Mike Leach by John Canzano BFT Podcast | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Stream BFT on Dan Patrick Show: Mike Leach
The Ian Furness Show | iHeartRadio
Stream the The Ian Furness Show episode, Tracy Claeys - How Mike Leach and WSU recruitied him, the aggression he's seen from the defense, and how he'll change the defense, free & on demand on iHeartRadio.
247Sports College Football Podcast | Listen via Stitcher Radio On Demand
With National Signing Day and the coaching carousel behind us, Barton Simmons and Chip Patterson are playing buy or sell with your favorite college football programs.
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Leach has done a superb job of hiring in recent years. That skill is being severely tested this offseason.
The Cougs had their one-game winning streak - hey, when you’re as terrible as they are, I consider one game to be a streak - snapped on Saturday in a 77-70 loss to Utah. But at least they covered!
First-half drought costs Washington State in 77-70 loss to Utah | The Spokesman-Review
Malachi Flynn scored 20 points, Robert Franks chipped in 18, but the other nine Cougars combined to score just 32 in a 77-70 loss to the Utes in front of 2,924 at Beasley Coliseum.
The baseball team has scored a total of four runs in its first two games. The opponent hasn’t had nearly as tough a time getting runners home, scoring 16. Not good, Bob!
Cougars Drop Contest to Nebraska at Husker Classic - Washington State University
Washington State dropped an 8-3 contest to the University of the Nebraska at the Husker Classic at Tempe Diablo Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Best beer I had this week: Valentine’s Day is a stupid holiday that was almost certainly contrived to bilk people out of money to line the pockets of greeting card and teddy bear producers. Despite that, I had a (sort of) Valentine’s Day-themed beer on Wednesday that was pretty darn good, in Dogfish Head’s Romantic Chemistry. Great for any occasion!
Europeans are embracing American craft beer
A few American craft brewers have cracked the export code. Brooklyn Brewery is among the largest craft beer exporters.
The White Darkness: A Journey Across Antarctica | The New Yorker
David Grann writes about Henry Worsley’s solitary trek, which became a singular of character.