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Washington State football

The Washington State Cougars football team, part of the Pac-12 conference along with University of Washington, is coached by Mike Leach. The Cougars play home games on campus at Martin Stadium, which opened in 1972 and seats 33,522.

The football program have had trouble in recent years. In 2012, its record was 3-9. But from 2001 through 2003 Washington State had three consecutive 10 win seasons, also finishing ranked among the top ten teams in the nation each year. They finished the 2001 season by beating Purdue in the Sun Bowl 33-27. The Cougars then lost to Oklahoma 34-14 in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1, 2002. They capped the three-year ride with a 28-20 victory over then #5 ranked Texas in the 2003 Holiday Bowl.

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PULLMAN, Wash. –Football coach Mike Leach’s contract was extended through the 2018 season, Washington State University athletic director Bill Moos announced Monday.

leachLeach is in his second season for the Cougars. The team’s record is 5-5 as it prepares for Saturday’s game against Utah.

“Mike Leach has done a fabulous job in his short time at Washington State,” said Moos. “Extending his contract through the 2018 season will ensure a bright future for Cougar football.

“He has elevated the program on the field, in the community and in the classroom,” Moos said. “I believe he is among the best college football coaches in America and is a fantastic fit in Pullman.”

Leach, who owns a career record of 92-57 in his 12 seasons as a collegiate head coach, has the Cougars with their most wins at this point in the season since 2006.

“I’d like to thank Bill Moos and President Floyd for extending my contract and giving me the opportunity to coach at Washington State,” said Leach. “The support we have received from students, fans, alumni and the administration has been tremendous and by the end of this year we will have facilities that rival anyone in the country.

“As I’ve said many times, my family and I are extremely happy at Washington State and love living in Pullman,” Leach said.



USC wary of Washington State offense

hallidayBy Gary Klein

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — It’s been awhile, but USC will finally get a look at — and a test against — improved Washington State in a Pac-12 Conference opener Saturday at the Coliseum.

Because of Pac-12 scheduling rotations, USC is playing the Cougars for the first time in three years. And Washington State under pass-happy second-year Coach Mike Leach appears to be a different program than it was under former coach Paul Wulff.

In 2010, USC defeated the undermanned Cougars, 50-16, at Pullman, Wash.

“To be frank with you, we actually have a decent amount of Pac-12 talent,” quarterback Connor Halliday told reporters Monday. “That team in 2010, half those kids wouldn’t have started for a good high school team.

“We actually have some guys that can play at this level now.”

Halliday, a fourth-year junior, completed 35 of 65 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown, with three interceptions, in Washington State’s 31-24 loss at Auburn on Saturday. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Halliday was one attempt shy of matching the school record set by Drew Bledsoe against Montana in 1992.

Washington State generated 464 yards at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“I thought they threw the ball awesome,” USC Coach Lane Kiffin said Sunday. “The quarterback … really was in rhythm.”

Kiffin also noted that Washington State’s offensive line played well “at a hard place to play against a good defensive line. So I’ve got a lot of concerns with how their offense looked.”

Last season, Washington State averaged 29 yards rushing per game, which ranked last among 120 major college teams. The Cougars also gave up a 4.75 sacks a game, worst in the nation.

Against Auburn, the Cougars rushed for 120 yards and gave up only two sacks.

Gabe Marks, a sophomore who played at Venice High, caught nine passes for 81 yards. Bobby Ratliff, a junior from Etiwanda High, caught three passes for 66 yards, including a touchdown.

Teondray Caldwell, a sophomore who played at Venice, rushed for 53 yards in seven carries. Sophomore Jeremiah Laufasa rushed for two touchdowns

Halliday and Leach said they expected USC to present defensive looks similar to those they faced last season against California, where Trojans defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast coached from 2010-12. Cal defeated the Cougars, 31-17.

“They’re probably going to blitz a little more than we saw [against Auburn],” Washington State offensive lineman Elliott Bosch said.

Coliseum memories

Leach has never coached at the Coliseum and has been there only once for a football game. He said he was a law school student when he saw the Los Angeles Raiders play at the stadium.

Leach vividly recalled how Raiders fans relieved a San Diego Chargers fan of his jersey and discarded it in pieces as it was passed through the crowd.

So Leach said he expected a lively crowd Saturday.

Quick hits

USC has not lost to Washington State since 2002, when the Cougars defeated the Trojans, 30-27, in overtime at Pullman, Wash. USC has not lost at home to Washington State since a 33-27 defeat in 2000.




Chicago Bears roll the dice on ex-Coug Marquess Wilson

NCAA Football: Washington State at UNLVBy Brad Biggs

Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears were seeking a downfield threat in the NFL draft and got a low-risk investment with big upside in former WSU Cougar Marquess Wilson.

It is not common for seventh-round draft picks to pan out as big-time players, but before a puzzling 2012 season at Washington State, the wide receiver was viewed as a potentially big prospect for the NFL.

Wilson quit the team after nine games this past season and accused coach Mike Leach of abuse, something he later recanted. Wilson’s exit happened after he was suspended for violating team rules.

“I feel like I could have handled it a little better, but, like I said, I am just moving forward,” Wilson said. “I am excited about the opportunity I have at hand.”

Wilson said he met with the Bears in Pullman, Wash., and then was in semi-regular contact with the club leading up to the draft.

Bears coach Marc Trestman said what happened in school was not a red flag for the team when it came to Wilson’s character.

“I would consider it a young guy making a very, very small mistake that put him in a position that got him in trouble,” Trestman said. “I think that like any young guy, I am a parent, we’re parents here. Our kids have made mistakes along the way. He’s a good kid with a big upside. He’s come to the right place. He’s come to a locker room where we have players and coaches that will set him straight right from the beginning and get him going the right direction. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to grow a young man, to allow him to mature off the field as well as on it and the upside as a talent, we’re very excited about it.”

At 6-2, 194 pounds, he has a big frame and was very productive for the Cougars with 189 receptions for 3,207 yards (17 yards per catch) and 23 touchdowns in only 33 college games. But he needs to get stronger and has struggled with drops at times.

Wide receiver wasn’t a high need for the Bears, but Wilson, barring the troubles he had in Pullman, is an intriguing prospect and the risk with the 236th overall pick in the NFL Draft was minimal. At that point in the draft, teams are basically securing players that they don’t want to have to compete for in free agency.

“We felt that the point in the draft that a person of this kind of talent deserved a second chance,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said. “His biggest sin is he walked out. He made a young decision. He’s just 20. He’s going to be 21 this fall. Felt very comfortable that this was a good person who made an immature decision. He’s owned up to that decision. He’s ready to roll. We’re very excited he’s with the Chicago Bears.”

SEATTLE – Two football players from Washington State University will likely see action at the next level.

WSU wide receiver Marquess Wilson was chose as the 30th pick in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The 236th overall pick, Wilson was the Cougars leading receiver last year with 52 catches, 813 receiving yards and five touchdowns in nine games. Wilson made headlines after he was suspended from the team for violating team rules for walking out of a team training session. He later took jabs at Cougars Head Coach Mike Leach and his staff, accusing them of intimidating and humiliating players .

Wilson’s NFL Combine highlights include a lightning-fast time in the 3 Cone Drill and a 4.51 40-yard dash.

Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel did not get a chance to hear his name called in the final rounds of the draft, but received an offer to sign with the Buffalo Bills. reports that Bills GM Buddy Nix signed Tuel and Eastern Washington University receiver Brandon Kaufman on Saturday.

Tuel threw for 2,087 yards his senior season, completing 63.6% of his passes while throwing eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Kaufman helped lead the Eagles to an FCS championship in his sophomore season in 2010, earning College Sporting News’ NCAA Championship Subdivision Playoffs MVP award. Kaufman totaled nine catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the championship game, as EWU defeated Delaware in a 20-19 thriller.

University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant heard his name early on in the draft, selected as the 22nd pick overall by the Atlanta Falcons. Trufant comes from a football pedigree; his older brothers Marcus and Isaiah have NFL experience with the Seahawks and Jets respectively.

Spokane native Will Davis, who most recently played for Utah State University, was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of this year’s Draft. Davis played just one year of football for Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley, but excelled as a corner at Utah State where he totaled 64 tackles, five interceptions and broke up 17 passes in his senior season.