WSU Football: Mike Leach Tries To Turn Around Cougars At Halfway Mark

James Snook-US PRESSWIRE

How are Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars performing at the midway point of the season? We talked with CougCenter writer Mark Sandritter about the team's performance so far.

What is your grade of Mike Leach through the first half of the season, and how well have the players picked up on the system?

Mark Sandritter, CougCenter: I'll go with a C. Based on WSU's lack of talent, I don't think they would perform much differently under any of the other Pac-12 coaches. They have 2-5 talent and are 2-5, so I'd say Leach has been "average" this season. I was one of those who thought Leach would be able to squeeze an extra win or two out of the group, but so far it hasn't happened.

As far as the system goes, the install on offense went quickly, but perfecting the system has proven to be a much tougher task. They are still trying to work out the kinks and while there have been flashes of the classic Air Raid system, they just aren't there yet.

Would you prefer going with Tuel or Halliday the rest of the season and why?

Mark Sandritter, CougCenter: I, like most WSU fans want to play the quarterback who gives the Cougars the best chance to win. Right now, I think that is Jeff Tuel, although it changes on a near weekly basis. Some say the experience Halliday will gain is worth more than a win in a lost season, but WSU is in no position to snub its nose at even a single win.

On a personal level, I'd really like to see Tuel have some success before he wraps up his career. He's been a bit unfortunate with the injuries he's had during his career and has taken a pounding from playing behind a terrible offensive line. It'd be nice to see him have some success over the final few weeks and go out on a high-note.

What has encouraged you the most about the team's early performance?

Mark Sandritter, CougCenter: The defense has shown a few more flashes than I expected. It still isn't very good, but at times they've done some good things. I guess saying the most encouraging thing is the defense hasn't sucked on every play, just 75 percent is probably the best way to sum up this season.

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