Posted October 09, 2012 on AP on Fox
(Eds: Adds details, quotes. With AP Photos.) By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press At the midpoint of Washington State's first season under coach Mike Leach, the Cougars remain a work in progress. Washington State (2-4, 0-3 Pac-12) has problems all around, and so far has mostly failed to produce in the Air Raid offense that Leach made famous at Texas Tech. The Cougars have twice been held without touchdowns, barely escaped FCS opponent Eastern Washington, and lost to Pac-12 doormat Colorado. Talk of qualifying for a bowl game, prevalent after Leach was hired, is now muted. ''We've improved as a team, but we've had a lot of missed opportunities,'' Leach said. ''If we were a more mature, mentally tougher team, we could have capitalized on them.'' ''Right now we are a team that if we face any adversity, we get discouraged,'' Leach said. As a result, many veteran players have been dropped from the starting lineup in favor of younger players, he said. Leach has described some of the team's seniors as having an ''empty corpse'' quality when it comes to leadership. The season got off to an inauspicious start with a 30-6 loss at BYU. The Cougars posted narrow wins over Eastern Washington and UNLV, then suffered a fourth quarter collapse that allowed Colorado to overcome a nearly three touchdown deficit and win 35-34. They lost to No. 2 Oregon 51-26, and put in a sterling defensive effort in a 19-6 loss at No. 10 Oregon State. Linebacker Darryl Monroe said the team is hungry for its first Pac-12 win. ''Any win is what we need,'' he said. ''It's what any team needs.'' To get there, the Cougars need to play a complete game, with offense, defense and special teams all performing well, he said. ''We've just got to keep grinding throughout the season,'' Monroe said. ''No game is a gimme.'' The Cougars have six games left, starting this Saturday when they host California (2-4, 1-2). Can they win four of those six to reach their first bowl game since 2003? ''I think it's very realistic,'' said quarterback Connor Halliday. Halliday's optimism aside, the better question might be whether the Cougars can achieve a record as good as the 4-8 that got former coach Paul Wulff fired after last season. Problems include inconsistent play at quarterback and receiver, a non-existent running game and a defense that is surrendering 30 points and 455 yards per game. Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel began the season as the starter, but has been displaced by sophomore Halliday. Neither has been able to consistently move an offense averaging just 21 points per game. Both quarterbacks saw playing time against Oregon State, and Leach has said Halliday will start against Cal. ''He's been playing the best,'' Leach said. Halliday has thrown for 1,284 yards and nine touchdowns, but has also been intercepted nine times. More troubling is the lack of a running game. The Cougars average just 41 yards rushing per game behind a committee that includes Teondray Caldwell, Carl Winston and Leon Brooks. ''It means we are not able to move their front around,'' Leach said of the lack of a running game. ''We have got to get better up front.'' Star receiver Marquess Wilson has 34 catches for 553 yards and five touchdowns, which are good numbers. But Leach has been on him to do more, and is more likely to praise the efforts of Isiah Myers (29 catches, 272 yards) and Gabe Marks (24 catches, 379 yards). Senior receiver Gino Simone, who has earned more playing time recently with strong play, said he is optimistic about the second half of the season. One major step would be to qualify for a bowl game, he said. ''That's huge,'' he said. ''We want to get the program back to where it is in bowl games every year.''

Mike Leach call his players "zombie-like" with "an empty corpse quality"

Things have not been going as planned for first-year Washington State head football coach Mike Leach. The Cougars are a dismal 2-4 in 2012. At this point you would think The Pirate King would start going into one of those incomparable rants that have made him both beloved and reviled at the same time. Well, you'd be correct. Leach went off on his team, and compared some of them...

Leach: Some Cougs have 'empty-corpse quality'

THE BIGGEST TALKING POINT for Washington State coach Mike Leach recently has been his team's lack of leadership. Leach continued to discuss those issues and the Cougars' quarterback and offensive line situations during his Monday afternoon teleconference. WSU hosts California at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (TV: Pac-12 Networks).

Leach says offense requires patience

FROM NFL FILM to Oregon, Washington State coach Mike Leach was asked a hodgepodge of questions during his Pac-12 coaches teleconference Tuesday morning as the Cougars prepare to face California at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium (TV: Pac-12 Networks).

A closer look at Cougar O

PULLMAN – When Washington State athletic director Bill Moos hired his new football coach last winter, Moos stressed that Mike Leach was brought aboard not just to win games, but to attract fans with his prolific offense. Midway through Leach’s first season, ticket sales, booster numbers and financial donations have all improved dramatically from a year ago. Wins and offense? Not so much.

Cougs may shrink offensive playbook vs. Cal

SPOKANE -- If you’re going to run Mike Leach’s offense, you have to pull the trigger. And that, Washington State running backs coach Jim Mastro told Monday’s gathering at the weekly Cougar Club Luncheon, is where the unit is struggling.

The Early Glimpse: Cougs vs. Bears

ABOUT 10 MONTHS ago, Cougar Nation was abuzz when Bill Moos introduced Mike Leach as Washington State football coach. The man came to Pullman with a reputation as a passing game genius, someone the Big 12 spent 10 years chasing without much success.

PRACTICE: Cougs start Cal week on off note

PULLMAN -- Washington State took to the practice field Tuesday afternoon amid some boisterous music intended to provide some extra energy. Unfortunately for the Cougar players, Mike Leach was not satisfied with the effort, noting that both offense and defense were bland in execution far too often.

Football Friday on a Thursday, Week 7 of 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a very special edition of Football Friday on a Thursday. It is “very special” because we have a guest picker who is going to kick things off for us this week. Joining us on his whirlwind tour of the internet after getting a little front page time on for calling our seniors a bunch of empty corpses, please welcome head coach Mike...

Monday Links: QB's, Blog Polls and Podcasts

Happy Monday Cougs, as we roll into another week.  The team was back at practice last night, albeit a light one, but there is some QB news to get to.  Let's go..... So the drama of who will be behind center this week?  Yeah, not much drama really.  Per Christian Caple, it appears that they will stick with the status quo? Asked if Halliday will continue to take starter...

Not Meshing

  Hello Followers.  Hope you had a great weekend. As for me, well, after punching the clock for several hours this morning, I had the opportunity to hop on the old treadmill and take in the 60 minute rewind of our 19-6 loss this past Saturday to the Beavs. For that, and a whole lot less, read on. ++++ Followers, in my brief post on Saturday, I lauded the defense and cursed...
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