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November 21, 2012

Rocky start to Leach era




The Mike Leach era at Washington State hasn't exactly started like many Cougar fans hoped it would.

That doesn't mean it's destined to go down as a disaster. But not too many people would give the former Red Raiders head coach high marks for the first year of the experiment.

Washington State was in much worse shape when Leach took over than was Texas Tech in 2000. But the Red Raiders never dipped below .500 under Leach's watch, and Washington State is 2-9 without a conference win.

Most observers expected Washington State to struggle early in Leach's tenure, given how much of a train wreck the program had become.

But like this?

19.5 points per game?

29.8-percent conversions on third down?

332 rushing yards ... for the entire season?

The problems go beyond the product on the field and to the very culture that Leach has created in Pullman. Whether the problem is Leach himself, or his style, or the players he inherited, it's simply clear that things are going much more poorly than anyone imagined when Leach was hired.

There were skeptics when he was hired. But most people, whether they admit it or not, probably believed things would be going better than than they have gone. And they probably would have privately admitted that the era held some promise.

Now it's hard to say that. It's been less than a year, but you have to wonder how long this experiment is going to last.

The Pac-12 is improving and moving forward. There haven't been many positive signs from Pullman that indicate the Cougars are doing the same.


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