Highlights from Mike Leach's appearance at Pac-12 Media Day on Thursday in Hollywood.
Washington State coach Mike Leach held court at Pac-12 Media Day on Thursday morning in Hollywood, and as usual he took the opportunity to pontificate on matters other than football.
Namely: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
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“I don’t like hot dogs. I didn’t like hot dogs when I was a kid. And I think some of that started when I was a real young kid,” Leach said. “I’d have bologna sandwich after bologna sandwich, and anything that remotely resembled bologna I ate it. … Everyone says go to the ball game and eat a hot dog. Not me. So no, it’s not a sandwich. I’m not into hot dogs. No disrespect to people who like hot dogs. They can have mine. It gives more to them.”
Hmm. Maybe Leach would like a donut instead?
Naturally, by about lunch time on Thursday, “Mike Leach” was trending on Twitter as this discussion about Leach’s distaste for hot dogs went viral.
A Twitter user named Robert Pfeifer does, however, attest that he has witnessed Leach eating a hot dog.
So, moving on.
Hey coach, what’s the best and worst thing about working with Millennials?
The worst thing is “a lot of the time there’s a sense of a lack of accountability, but I think it’s a lot like (college basketball coach) Frank Martin said, something to the effect of, you know, ‘players haven’t changed, the parents have,'” Leach said.
“Their best feature (is that) they’re experts on tech,” Leach added. “Heck, as a kid, I watched Star Trek. These guys could have invented Star Trek, the plane, the computer, Scotty.
“I do think that the knowledge base at your fingertips is such that at a very young age there’s a lot of people who know a lot. But when stuff gets hard, I think you have to be pushed through it.”
Also, The Pirate prefers roller blading to jogging, so he tells the Pac-12 Network’s Ashley Adamson.
“I usually rollerblade for exercise because it’s more fun than jogging. I like the way it works your abs. It works your abs in a better fashion than running,” Leach said. “I would go out and try to roller blade six miles around the neighborhood.”
So, what’s Leach’s top speed on rollerblades?
“I don’t know what my top speed is,” he said. “Fast enough you don’t want to fall down, I know that.”
By the way, Cougars fans, you may have noticed a little more activity than usual coming from the @Coach_Leach Twitter account.
Until this summer, Leach averaged, oh, maybe four tweets a year? He’s been rather chatty over the last month though, being outspoken about the fact that Texas Tech still has not paid him for the 2009 season, while also engaging with fans.
On Thursday, in an interview with the Pac-12 Network, Leach confirmed that yes, he has been personally manning his Twitter account. Apparently his children and his son-in-law schooled him on the art of social media this summer.
In between all these random topics, Leach did also address some football-related questions.
For instance: What in the blazes happened to the Cougars in the first two games last season? How did they lose to Eastern Washington? (Yes, they still can’t get away from that question.) And how will they be able to handle business against Montana State in their season opener this fall?
“I think the biggest thing is that we’re getting older. We’ve got a little more experience,” Leach said. “Last year, we were predominantly freshmen and sophomores and I think we struggled as far as adjusting to being on the field for the first time in some cases. We did some really good things at practice, then we go out there, first game, college football for the first time, all of a sudden eyes got wide and we tried to do too much.
“But I think we assembled ourselves pretty good as a team and played together. And in the last two years, even though we got quite a bit of youth, we’ve won as many games, maybe more than anybody in the last two years as far as the conference.”
What does Leach think of the new NCAA rule banning two-a-days in football camps?
Meh. He wishes they would allow four-a-days instead so that Darwinism would eliminate some of the opposition.
The Cougars won’t have to make any adjustment to their fall camp plans at all because “we haven’t had two-a-days in quite some time,” Leach said.
But, he added, “It’s not just some nice generous benevolence.”
“If you get too ground down (through two-a-days), you’re working on something, but you’re not working on football. You’re working on toughness, persistence, pushing through, the body hardens up. I think there’s benefits, but as far as the pace and the timing, you want that sharp, and if you overtrain, it’s counterproductive,” Leach said.
His opposition to two-a-days goes as far back as his days at Kentucky in the late 90s and early 2000s when, Leach said, even then they didn’t have two-a-days on consecutive days.
“We’d go 2-1, 2-1. It wasn’t mandated, but we just felt like it was the best way to do it,” Leach said.
Then, offhandedly, Leach said, “I wish they had four-a-days so some of these teams would pound their teams into submission and make our work easier for us. But it doesn’t sound like they’re gonna do that, so we’ll just go about our business and have our work cut out for us.”