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Leach tries to light fire under Cougars

Coach calls his team out as soft after two tough losses

Published: September 17, 2016, 12:31am

PULLMAN — Washington State’s football team is in turmoil as the Cougars seek their first win of the season on Saturday against Idaho.

A team that was expected to contend for the Pac-12 North instead has opened the season with losses to FCS foe Eastern Washington and Boise State.

That prompted coach Mike Leach this week to rip his Cougars (0-2) as soft. Leach also ripped local police and the news media for too much focus on the alleged misdeeds of players.

Leach went on an epic rant about his team on Monday.

“Right now, we have the atmosphere of a JC softball game,” he said. “That’s what we are, a JC softball team.”

He added: “I’ve got receivers running routes that don’t even resemble anything we teach. We don’t tuck the ball and go straight up field. We do all these stupid moves.

“We run out of bounds more than any team in the country.”

“We’re the easiest team in the country to tackle.”

“We don’t like to run and hit, and this is a game for running and hitting.”

In response, Leach promised his players would undergo a hard week of practice. Idaho, located just 8 miles away in Moscow, has often been a cure for what ailed the Cougars.

The Vandals (1-1), who are preparing to drop back to the FCS level in two seasons, are 17-71-3 all-time against Washington State. The Cougars are 26-point favorites in the 92nd meeting between the two closest neighbors in the FBS.

Idaho is coming off a 59-14 pounding at the hands of No. 8 Washington last Saturday.

Vandals coach Paul Petrino says the game is unlikely to be a defensive battle.

“They’re going to score points,” Petrino said. “We’ve got to make sure that we score some points.”