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Mike Leach open to ‘Hard Knocks’ style show, but hoping to avoid ‘Lance Ito Syndrome’

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Because everyone can relate to a reference about a famous judge from 1995

NCAA FOOTBALL: JUL 14 Pac-12 Media Day Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the college football world was buzzing after news that HBO was considering Washington State for a college football edition of ‘Hard Knocks.’ According to a report, the Cougs, along with Arizona State, Alabama and Penn State, were in discussion with the network to be the focus of a behind the scenes documentary series.

The news was welcome for Cougar fans looking for complete access to their favorite team, but it seemed out of place for a coach like Mike Leach. While the coach has always been an open book off the field, he hasn’t exactly wanted to dive in deep on football topics and specific gameplans. Famously, media is not allowed to talk about any injuries suffered by the team and, this season, media has not been able to live tweet and send pictures during the team’s scrimmage.

After practice on Tuesday, the media asked Leach what he thought about the possibility of welcoming cameras into his team’s locker room. The head coach seemed pretty open to it... As long as it doesn’t distract the team.

“Anything that distracts the team. If you really do something like that effectively they’re invisible,” Leach told the media. “Otherwise I think people get Lance Ito syndrome and start playing to the cameras, so they need to play one play at a time.”

For anyone out there that may not get that reference, Lance Ito was the judge presiding over the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995. He was criticized for using the national spotlight to gain notoriety for himself.

Looking past the dated reference, it’s great news that Leach is open to hosting the production crew, if that turns out to be the case. Of course, it’s not a done deal quite yet. “We’re talking to them, but we haven’t nailed anything down yet,” Leach said.

If it happens, the show could help the Cougs on their quest to become a national brand... And probably wouldn’t be terrible TV either.

Cougars believe HBO “Hard Knocks” visit could bring recognition, distractions to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State and its notoriously polarizing coach, Mike Leach, could be the subjects of a new HBO program modeled around the network’s popular “Hard Knocks” documentary series.

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