The attention of Cougar fans has shifted to bowl game possibilities, but Mike Leach and the players are still focused on the next game at hand ... at least that's what they are saying.
WSU held its weekly press conferences on Monday and the common theme was not treating Saturday's game against Utah as the Super Bowl and instead taking it one week at a time and one play at a time. The next play mentality starts at the top. When asked about what a bowl game would mean for the program, Leach said some variation of focusing on the next play five times (via Jacob Thorpe).
It would mean that we did a very good job on the very next play and then on the play after that, and the play after that, and the play after that until pretty soon it adds up to a game's worth of plays and we were successful, that's what it would mean. And then based on how we improved we would have the opportunity to be a little bit better team the very next play after that.
Here's the rest of what Leach and the players had to say.
Pac-12 Conference football Power Rankings: Week 12 - ESPN
8. Washington State: After upsetting Arizona -- on the road, no less -- the Cougars only need to beat Utah or Washington to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2003.
Smiley face: We'd gush more about Orgeron's leadership at USC, but there at least needs to be a hat tip to Washington State and coach Mike Leach going to Tucson and grabbing a much-needed victory with some late-game heroics from QB Connor Halliday. His 25-yard TD pass to Isiah Myers for the tiebreaking touchdown with 2:15 to play gave the Cougars a 24-17 win, keeping their bowl hopes alive.
Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday didn’t have the best numbers this week. And he wasn’t mistake-free. But he was clutch when it counted. With his performance in Washington State’s 24-17 road win over Arizona, the Cougars are on the verge of postseason play for the first time in more than a decade.
Utah (4-6, 1-6) at Washington State (5-5, 3-4), 3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network: Utah leads the series with Washington State 7-5 and is 4-1 in Pullman, including an overtime victory the last time they met in the Palouse in 2011.
Mike Leach and the Cougars had their weekly Monday press conference today. The videos are below but here's a transcription of Leach's comments:
Washington State athletic director Bill Moos made it clear he wants to keep football coach Mike Leach around for the long haul, extending the coach’s contract through the 2018 season.
To listen to the Washington State football players and coaches you’d think they’d never heard of a bowl game, and would reject any invitation to postseason play. Whenever the topic comes up the subject is quickly changed to the team’s focus on their next practice or contest.
Washington State will close out its home slate hosting Utah Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.