Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles

Mike Leach jaunted off to his vacation home in Key West, Fla., last weekend, shortly after his Washington State football team suffered a 42-17 loss in the Holiday Bowl against Michigan State.

It was the first time he's been back since Hurricane Irma blasted the Florida Keys in September. His house survived without much trouble, unlike the house next door, which got smashed by a fallen tree.

As he surveyed the damage in the neighborhood, college football's most unconventional mind reflected on this and other recent topics that have made the news recently, including his controversial secrecy about player injuries and that video of him cooling down his coffee.

Leach spoke about them by phone with USA TODAY Sports, pausing only momentarily to order dinner at a local eatery — a Key Limeade to drink and a grilled fish sandwich “with cocktail sauce instead of tartar sauce.”

Injury secrecy

Washington State's star quarterback, Luke Falk, played most of the season with a broken bone in his non-throwing wrist and couldn't play in the Holiday Bowl because it hadn't healed enough from recent surgery. But none of that was known outside the Cougars program until after the season. It was kept secret by Leach, whose policy is to never talk about player injuries.

Other coaches are more open about player injuries, knowing there's interest from fans, ticket buyers and viewers about which players aren't able to play and why not. By contrast, Leach hates talking about them and doesn't want injury stories in the news media to gain traction for his team as an excuse to play less than its best.

“I don't want to empower poor and inept and lazy journalists with story material,” Leach said. “They just want to talk about scores and injuries. What comes out of these stories is, 'So and so is injured. So his team has all these excuses to lose, because the whole thing is riding on X-number of injured players. So therefore they can't win.'

“I don't want that mentality floating around our team in any way shape, form or fashion,” Leach said. “Then, the other thing is, whatever weaknesses or vulnerabilities that we have as a team, I can't possibly fathom why I would have any interest in revealing that to my opponent.”

The coffee video

He's seen the video of himself that went viral last week — the one that captures him intently cooling down his coffee at the pre-game press conference. While MSU coach Mark Dantonio is speaking at the podium, Leach is seated next to him blowing on his hot drink.

But he doesn't get why that was such a big media sensation.

Mike Leach cooling off his hot coffee while Mark Dantonio answers a question during the Holiday Bowl press conference is the best Mike Leach moment ever. pic.twitter.com/jN6QyuUhDS

— Sam Adams (@SWXSamAdams) December 27, 2017

“Next time we have a press conference, I would be more than happy to go up there, get a hot cup of coffee and cool it off for them,” he said. “That's a courtesy I'm willing to provide, and I'd be happy to do that. But the fact they found me blowing on my coffee more fascinating than the questions that they ask I find kind of telling.”

Losing Falk and next year

In August, Leach entered his sixth season at WSU believing this was his best team ever at WSU. The Cougars finished 9-4 with a third straight bowl appearance. But they lose Falk, the team's starter for most of the past three years.

“I think we can be better,” Leach said, noting his returning players at receiver and other positions.

The heir apparent at quarterback is rising junior Tyler Hilinksi, who started in Falk's place in the Holiday Bowl and completed 39 of his 50 passes for 272 yards.

“I think he's really good,” Leach said. “I think he's got great potential, and I'm excited to see how he plays with 100% of the reps.”

This year's team started with six straight wins and ended with two straight losses.

“I don't think our team or coaches are completely happy with it. However, the thing that I think we've got to recognize is we exceeded nearly everybody's expectations except our own and by a significant margin."

End-of-year blues

After being revived by Leach, the WSU football program is now getting pushed by growing expectations. For example, Leach has a combined record of 2-8 in bowl games and Apple Cup games against Washington. Asked what to do about that, Leach replied, “A starting point would be to play a lot worse teams.”

His point is that those are among his toughest foes all year. And before Leach arrived, the Cougars hadn't been to a bowl game since 2003.

“We've gone to (three) straight bowls. We'll go to a bowl again next year, and we'll do it for a longer period of time than has ever been done in the history of the school. I don't know how you can attempt to diminish what we've accomplished with something like that.”

That Tennessee thing

Leach recently agreed to a five-year, $20 million contract extension at WSU after being a candidate for the open job at Tennessee. He declined to expound on what happened with Tennessee.

“I really can't. Most of it is water under the bridge now.”

Pac-12 Conference weakness

The Pac-12 was 1-8 in bowl games this season and has won only one College Football Playoff game since the Playoff started four years ago.

“I think our conference has beaten each other up,” Leach said. “I also think the bottom of our conference is tougher (than others).”

The hurricane

The Leaches got lucky with Hurricane Irma. As he walked the neighborhood recently, he saw all kinds of damage. “Wow. That whole house is crumpled. It looks like something out of Dr. Seuss.”

His house was mostly spared. The fishtail palms that provided him some privacy blew down, but that's about it. “They're sort of a junky plant in a way. There are things I don't like about them, but they really covered the back deck.”

It was still good to be back for a while before he hits the recruiting trail soon. The fish specials at the nearby restaurant are an added treat.

“Wahoo is my favorite fish now,” he said. “They didn't have wahoo. It'll be mahi mahi. Their fries are homemade here. It's all real good.”

Source : http://www.king5.com/article/sports/college/ncaaf/cougars/mike-leach-talks-injury-secrecy-coffee-cooling-and-pac-12-struggles/281-505311013

Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles


Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles

Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles


Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles

Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles

Source:Daily Mail

Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles

Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles


Mike Leach Talks Injury Secrecy, Coffee Cooling And Pac 12 Struggles