Mike Leach thinks Washington State is bowl-ready
Expectations were higher than they've been in a half decade, but the Cougars fell far short of the postseason. Despite starting the year 2-1, they dropped eight in a row, finishing 3-9 and in last place of the Pac-12 North Standings.
"I think last year's the worst we'll ever be," Leach said to CY Interview. "Of course, we started 17 freshmen, which is unheard of. I'm certainly looking forward to this next season. We're looking forward to this year."
Now that many of these underclassmen have had a full offseason to prepare under Leach's famous pass-happy offensive system, the idea is that Wazzu will receive more efficiency from its quarterbacks.
Washington State was the Pac-12's No. 1 passing team, averaging 330.4 yards per game (No. 9 overall). However, it took them over 50 pass attempts per game to reach that statistic, while both Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday combined for a 1.1-to-1.0 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
"I think [the passing game] is vastly improved from last year," Leach said. "I think the commitment of our players is significantly higher. A lot of that has to do with the key older ones and the enthusiasm of the young ones that immediately came to work. ... Of course our strength staff, they do a tremendous job. Not only have we improved, but we look better."
WSU returns seven starters on offense, including Halliday—who continues to be the projected starter under center. Last season was the first in which Leach didn't make a bowl game, and the Cougars haven't had a berth since 2003.
The consensus in Pullman is that both will change in 2013.
"I've been to bowl games nonstop until last year," said Leach. "So I'm pretty conditioned to expect it. I thought we would last year, but we were close enough and in enough games we could've last year if we just finished the deal, but I do think we will this year."
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