Today I think its important that we all take a step back and look at our current coaches behavior and how it is being perceived outside our crimson bubble of unquestioned Mike Leach worship and adulation. The consensus? Not necessarily in favor of our new coach:
Look, I don’t like Marques Wilson walking out on his teammates, and I am not advocating a return to Paul Wulff, so lets just put that aside. I am, however, very concerned that our coach is going out of his way to make Ed Cunningham look like a genius. That doesn’t mean I don’t support the team, or I have a loser mentality, it just means that I am actually paying attention. The current situation this team finds itself in, suffering embarrassing losses, having physical confrontations in the locker room, and star players quitting the team, may just be the necessary growing pain we have to endure to achieve eventual success. We’re just ripping off the bandaid, as it were. But there are very legitimate concerns about our coaches ability to deal with the current failures in a way that does not compound them and make things worse.
From the public shaming of specific players, to the antagonistic confrontations with a press that is not even close to hostile (yet), our coach is making an ass of himself and our fanbase is mostly cheering him on. More and more I am starting to realize that when some people refer to our coach as “TSO”, it isn’t necessarily a term of endearment.
This is like watching rats eats their young... Don't you all realize that ALL OF THIS is the result of Longball leaving Pullman? I mean, the cosmos is now I completely out of whack. What's more, the three worst WSU sports losses in the last year were ALL IN UTAH (Hoops @ Utes + BYU + Utah football) and Longball was at each game. Come home to P-Town, LB. the fate of Cougar Nation depends on it.
I've sat here for about 30 minutes typing, then deleting, then typing again... I can't seem to put together coherent paragraphs, so I'm just going to go with random thoughts. And don't kill me Longball...
To me, Wulff and Leach are just different coaches. Both in good and bad ways. Guys play hard for Wulff because they generally like the guy and don't want to disappoint him. Guys play hard for Leach because they fear the repercussions if they fail. I know for me personally, I typically play better for a coach like Leach. But that may be different with each individual. So I can respect what he's doing right now...
There is player attrition with every coaching change. Players left the Palouse when Wulff took over. They weren't as big of names, like MQW, Mizell or Kaufusi, but guys left.
I think Wulff's guys were used to being coached by Wulff and aren't used to Leach's style and haven't handled it well. Example: Leach came in, and saw what MQW could become, so he pushed him. Hard. Harder than anyone has ever pushed him. And MQW folded. And I don't necessarily blame him. Its just such a shock to his system. I still wouldn't put past a return either...
Like I said, rambling... unfortunately, we are in the midst of another rebuild, but this one won't take as long. We have some talent, way more so than when Wulff took over. Leach just needs time to get rid of guys that don't want to play for him, and then fill those spots with guys that do. And then they need to redshirt, grow, and become better football players. Guys need 5 years to play 4. ESPECIALLY OL.
Lastly, if we get rid of Leach, get ready for another rebuild. The problem with the Cougs is we don't have any consistency. 4 coaches in 10 years. How are 18-22 year olds supposed to learn systems when they have to learn another one every 2-3 years? We need Leach, and we need him for a long time.
Without being privy to insider information, it's hard to know whose side to take. I know Wulff's kids were extremely loyal, and the majority probably felt his staff deserved anoher year. Of course, that wasn't going to happen so we moved on, but it's understandable why they might be resistant to change. On the other hand, Leach has certain expectations of his players, and clearly they aren't meeting them right now, and there is obvious friction between the mentalities of the old and new regime. We all knew Leach is an unusual coach; an aberration from the norm. This endeared many Tech fans to him, but greatly annoyed many others who wanted a more traditonal coach. Unsurprsingly he has told the media exactly what he thinks of the effort level he's getting from his players. While debateable whether it should be spoken publicly to the media, it certainly is nice to know that we are watching the same team; at times we have played like zombies, and there's no doubt that the Utah game was a zombie convention.
But, me personally, I tend to side with Leach. I had no issue with him having the linemen answer questions; I was genuinely interested to see what they had to say, considering they never get asked questions, and their performance is usually the bellweather for whether a team wins or loses (QB's, RB's, and LB's cannot do their job without decent line play). Plus, it's no more embarassing than the QB being dragged out to answer why he threw 3 or 4 interceptions. I just don't see what the big deal is.
In regards to Wilson, his lack of consistent effort was most obvious to me on bubble screens, where he did not make serious efforts to block---which is crucial to the success of the play. As early as the UNLV game it was obvious he needed a serious attitude adjustment; evidently he couldn't handle it, so he quit. I'd rather have a coach that doesn't let things slide, than one who is holds players to different standards based on their talent level. I sure wish it worked out, but it didn't, and I'm not sure if there's anyone to conclusively point the finger at.
The fact that Leach's methods are being questioned is sad to me. Numerous writers cited "questionable methods" are you F---ing kidding me? Since when is holding someone accountable a questionable method? The point that these journalists are missing is that these players SHOULD BE embarrassed! This is the same team that almost upset Stanford 7 days earlier. This is the same mentality that everybody should get a trophy, you know, just for playing.
C'mon Cougs, raise the bar. I know we haven't had a winning team in a while, but the collection of players we have now are losers and quitters, plain and simple. And quitting like this (or not showing up, really) is not isolated to this year as Sean pointed out, these losers did the same thing last year at Cal. Different coach, same type of thing two years in a row.
The fact that Cougar fans and the people that write about the cougs are blaming Leach just shows how dire things really are. But the problem is not Leach. The best thing about him is that he won't tolerate a losing attitude. Trust me, we are better off without guys like Wilson and all the others that have fallen by the wayside. At least Leach has the balls to get rid of the guys that won't give 100% instead of keeping them around because they can help him win this year. This year might be ugly, but better to get all of the ugly out of the way, so we can build this thing the right way. Leach is doing EXACTLY what he was brought here to do. Clean up the mess that Doba left behind, and bring the Cougars back to national prominance. I still believe he's the man for the job.
If these players can't handle getting called out when their effort is lacking, or because they have a physically demanding practice then get the fuck out.
@marktchamp This is exactly the kind of moronic comments I expect. Here we go! So when the hell did anyone say players shouldn't be held accountable? Calling them names to the press and making a spectacle of parading them out to answer questions (something their own coach complains about having to do) then giving a press conference where he basically insults the reporters and their completely valid questions. This is what we are talking about. Its fan for an internet badass like yourself to pop off about the kids being losers and quitters, but it is completely unprofessional for the coach to be saying these things. Just doing the math real quick, looks to me like Marques Wilson has done a whole helluva lot more for the Cougs than coach leach and for way less money.
I swear this coach could come out and take a dump on a podium and our fans would fall all over themselves to take turns smelling it. All the while the whole rest of the college football world shakes their heads at us in disbelief.
So I'm a moron because I don't agree with you? OK...and I'm pretty sure I don't fancy myself a internet badass, overreact much?
So the fact that he called his players zombies bothers you? Despite the fact that it is true (well, that they play like zombies at least)? I would take exception to Leach's comments (and agree with you) if he were off base, but I don't think his comments were off base.
Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think the easy thing to do is blame the coach. It's hard to fathom that a signifcant portion of the players that suit up every weekend don't have what it takes to get it done. But IMO the evidence is overwhelming. There are players like Long who are outstanding players and teammates. At one point we had a defense full of them. That's what made us great. I would be worried if players like Long weren't supporting Leach, BUT LONG AGREES WITH LEACH!
I think it says a lot about our society and how far "PC"ness has come when you call a coach unprofessional for being honest.
I don't really understand your point about Wilson and what he has done for "us". Do you mean win apple cups or bowl games? And it's aburd to compare a coach who's been here less than a year and a WR. It'll be interesting to see if you feel the same way in ten years.
@Longball @marktchamp Longball, I agree that, at times, Leach has been a little out of hand with some comments. However, he has always been speaking the truth. I've found myself throughout the season asking myself why Leach doesn't take more responsibility for the loses, but in the end, Leach's record speaks for itself. He builds a winning program. If the guys under Leach put out 100%, 100% of the time, we would be seeing better results. We've seen the attitude of this team for the past several years: they don't have the killer-winner mentality it takes to be title contenders. They are only motivated when they are up on the score board or in dire situations. Notice how only in the last minute of the Utah game, just before getting shut out, we seemed to magically and effortlessly string plays together to get into the end zone? Why couldn't they play with that intensity and urgency the other 59 minutes? We know they can do it, we saw so JUST A WEEK AGO. We see it in spurts every week! But a lot of the guys on this just either don't have the talent or the ability to keep that competitive fire burning, and Leach is trying to filter those guys out. It happens that Marquess Wilson decided he didn't want to be one of those guys.
@marktchamp Your comment is moronic because it brings up all kinds of stuff I have never argued. You said "Since when is holding someone accountable a questionable method?"
Yeesh, where to I begin? How about with "holding someone accountable" isn't a method. I am in favor of holding people accountable, for what its worth. Publicly calling them out and holding an embarassing press conference is the method, and that is what I am against.
As far as Leach having "the balls to get rid of guys who don't give 100%", what planet are you on? Wilson quit, man. Leach was playing him a TON, so either he wasn't dogging it too much, or if he was, he was getting quite a bit of slack for it since he still was our leading receiver. Why is this so hard to understand? I know this is a sports blog and not the Halls of Reason, but this is really getting rediculous.
So yeah, your comment was moronic.
@LucasNurmi My point is that you said "the majority of the players who suit up every weekend clearly do not have the mental or physical make-up that it takes to compete at this level." I disagree in that I think there are more good eggs than bad ones in this 100+ player batch.
@Soze Ok, so take 2008 out the equation, and you have 9-37. Take 2008 and 2009 off and you have 8-26 (0.235). Not good football.
@LucasNurmi Most of these players aren't 11-47. The majority of the guys have played 2 seasons, max. Unless you are talking about Toomer... but I know you don't want to talk about Toomer.
@marktchamp Fact of the matter is the majority of the players who suit up every weekend clearly do not have the mental or physical make-up that it takes to compete at this level. If 11-47 since the start of 2008 doesn't drive that point home, what does?
@marktchamp I have no problem with Leach calling out the players lack of effort as a team and making them work their asses off afterwards. It is the calling them out to the media and making them sit there and answer questions he should be answering as he is the guy being paid to do it. Long and Tuel definitely are the guys handling it the best, but I would be really curious to see what they have to say once they are done playing for him. I doubt we ever see it, but I would love to know Travis Long's real thoughts on this staff. I really don't understand how our fans can call these players names either and just throw them under the bus. They are kids who chose to be Cougs just like I did and I will always root for them for that reason, even if they aren't the most talented. I don't really understand how people don't question what the coach does because he won games somewhere else. To me, that is irrelevant, I only care what he does for my school, and right now he hasn't done anything positive. I think he just needs to shut his pie hole and start coaching.
@marktchamp How can the team go from being a couple plays away of being in serious contention for a bowl game to bunch of loser that lack a winning mentality and need to be driven out of the program? We were on the verge of turning the corner last season and played Utah down to the wire in a game that we got completely hosed by the refs at the end. Fast-forward 1 season, and we are getting blown out by 40+ points at Utah? Something just doesn't add up here.
Leach is going to get his time to turn his own mess around, but com'mon, so far the guy has come off as nothing more than an overpaid prick. All I can say is that I hope we are competitive this weekend against UCLA (but not optimistic) and I wish Travis Long would have knocked the teeth out of the coach that was berating him/the players. Sounds like he is sick of the unprofessional ways of this staff and nearly lost it. Can't blame the guy.
Right there with you Longball. Some of his decisions are very questionable and I am amazed so many people just follow along on blind faith from his past success. Until I see some kind of improvement, I am going to remain skeptical of these decisions and if his actions really are improving the program. Having read "Swing Your Sword", Leach himself says different players take different types of motivation/discipline. I think he needs to go back and read that himself as this bashing of all the players just doesn't seem to work for them all. We'll see how they respond as a team on Saturday. As for the HBO documentary, on a TV ratings standpoint, I think it would have been pure gold, just not pretty for Coug fans.
@Selahcoug We definitely would have stolen some viewers from Jersey Shore or other reality shit shows.
Another one, Art Theil:
I am a Mike Leach supporter, but there are things I disagree with.: the injury policy, closing practices, and his dealing with the media. Leach isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Leach's confrontational, brow-beating approach to the media is dangerous. They are just trying to do their jobs, by asking questions. The fans deserve information about the team; after all they have invested time, money, and interest. Our fans are like the shareholders in a company. The LAST thing WSU needs, with a pathetic 11-47 record over nearly 5 years now, is to create hostility or disinterest from either the fans or media. Or should I say, any more disinterest from the fans.
== Moos yesterday said he is concerned that our fans have become numb to losing. Really? How else can a WSU fan deal with it?
@bpcoug54 This is comical. The fans "deserve" nothing.
wow. I couldn't disagree more. I would like more discussion about why the fans "deserve" nothing in return for their investment of time, money, emotional connection, buying stuff at the Bookie, on and on. If that's the case then the administration shouldn't demand that if the fans want a winning team they need to pony up with more tickets, more donations, and buy luxury boxes. The fans deserve an administration committed at the very least to "competitive" football, which in my book means a .500 record at a minimum. We haven't been competitive with any team in the Pac12, except OSU, if you look at historical records. The fans also don't deserve to be browbeaten about why they leave at halftime. That's a personal choice. Maybe if we had a team that played like they cared, fans would stay.
@bpcoug54 We are getting a little off track here... we as fans deserve a winning program. We don't deserve info about injury reports, practice reports, and other behind the locker room wall things. If we get it, great. But we aren't entitled to it, just because we buy sweatshirts at the Bookie.
@Longball I too travel to games, support CAF and have season tickets... and I don't think I am entitled to injury reports. I support the Cougs because there is more to the university than just the football program. And I want to support that.