Leach unleashes in wake of "pitiful effort"

Locker aims to slow down John White

ON THIS SATURDAY, it seemed that the real show started after the game ended. Mike Leach's postgame remarks were explosive, accusatory and, in their own right, just as big of a disaster as his team's 49-6 loss at Utah. The Utes outgained the Cougars 453 to 255 in total yards as the hapless crew from the Palouse gave up six sacks and tallied negative-4 rushing yards.

Leach started out by condemning a "pitiful effort" that starts "with our coaches … me in particular, it starts with me, starts with my assistants; we need to be able to reach our players, get good effort. Our effort was horrible."

After ripping apart various aspects of the Salt Lake City drubbing, easily the biggest debacle of the season, Leach marched the starting offensive and defensive lines into the media room to answer questions.

Mention of Utah's successful conversion run in the third quarter on the heels of Reggie Dunn's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown evoked Leach's ire in particular.

"If we're too stupid to line up to it," he snapped, "it's our own damn fault.

AMONG LEACH'S COMPLAINTS : the offensive line's inability to get past Utah's defense, and the defensive line being unable to stop an offense that's hardly been prolific all season.

"We come out prepared to succeed right off the bat and not have to face adversity," said center Elliott Bosch, who appeared with Wade Jacobson, Gunnar Eklund, John Fullington and Jake Rodgers. "We just played too slow, we thought too much and we just need to go out and play."

When it was the defensive line's turn, Xavier Cooper, Ioane Gauta, Travis Long and Logan Mayes attempted to explain how freshman third-string quarterback Travis Wilson completed 17 of 21 passes and running back John White racked up 101 yards on 18 carries.

Gauta blamed himself for a missed tackle on the play resulting in White's 37-yard touchdown run that kicked off the Utes' scoring bonanza in the first quarter, but Leach said it was indicative of the team's effort – or lack thereof.

"We didn't want to tackle very badly," he said.

Senior BUCK specialist Travis Long, who recorded his first career interception during the game, fled the room before the defensive session concluded. He reportedly appeared to have tears in his eyes.

Still, Mayes said that everybody on the team works hard.

"We just couldn't get it done at the end of the day," he said.

That, in turn, is going to result in some shake-ups among the team. Some players will not be back next season, Leach promised.

"If you have to beg an 18- to 22-year-old kid to give a good effort," he said, "you're dealing with the wrong individual."

~~~

LEACH REPLACED SENIOR Jeff Tuel for two series in the second half but went back to the senior after sophomore Connor Halliday completed just 4 of 9 passes for 27 yards. His rationale: He wanted Tuel to see the field from the sidelines for a while after being sacked five times in the first half and six total.

"I thought Jeff did as good as Connor did," Leach said in a postgame interview. "It's hard to gauge. There are definitely some decisions I'd like over again. They're a little tough to gauge today.

"When you have (three) seconds or less to throw the ball, it's kind of tough to gauge what they're doing and what they're not doing. Clearly, it wasn't a great effort by them."

NOTABLE NOTES
  • Tuel's 232 passing yards boosts his total to 5,386, the seventh-most in school history. His fourth-quarter touchdown pass makes 33 total, also good for seventh on the university's career list.

  • Despite not starting, junior Marquess Wilson caught five passes for 73 yards to boost his career receptions to 189, just six behind the record of 195 set by Michael Bumpus.

    With 3,207, Wilson also now has the ninth-most career receiving yards in Pac-12 conference history.

  • Junior cornerback Anthony Carpenter made a career-high 11 tackles.
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