With the Cougar football team’s disappointing overall record of 3-9 (1-8 in Pac-12 play) this season, fans have started losing hope in Head Coach Mike Leach and in a quick turnaround for the football program.
Not so fast.
Sure, the Cougars did not look brilliant in any way this season. They did not come anywhere near the high expectations entering the season, but we have plenty of positives to look forward to heading into the 2013 season and into Coach Leach’s future leadership.
For one, the Cougs ended their season by defeating the Washington Huskies. After a long year filled with blowout defeats, lost leads and controversy in the locker room, the Cougars definitely came out on top when it really mattered. The 31-28 victory in Pullman brought not only the program but also the university together.
Since I was in the front row on the 50-yard line for my first ever Apple Cup as a student at WSU, I understand just how big of a win this was for the WSU community. The loud roar of the crowd after Andrew Furney’s game-winning 27-yard field goal in overtime is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.
So what does this game mean heading into the future? For one, recruiting becomes a lot easier for Coach Leach and his staff now that they earned a marquee win. Things look bright, especially with Tyler Bruggman, a four-star quarterback from Phoenix, Ariz., and DeMarcus Ayers, a three-star wide receiver from Lancaster, Texas, verbally committing to come to Pullman next season.
Currently, Coach Leach is not wasting any time with recruiting. He is on the road, heading to the South where he has connections from his days coaching at Texas Tech. The South, especially Texas, has always been a hotspot for Leach to recruit from, and he is still a popular figure in the southern sports world even after Texas Tech fired him in December of 2009.
Aside from recruiting, the Cougars also have great potential from their freshmen and sophomore starters that played this season. Standouts like Gabe Marks, Darryl Monroe, Xavier Cooper and potential starting quarterback Connor Halliday, lead a returning group of starters that are sure to improve and bring more experience to the field next season.
Let’s not forget, Leach’s offensive philosophy cannot be mastered right away. When a new coach brings in a new system and a completely different mindset to a program, it always takes time to adapt to the changes. Leach’s team philosophies showed toward the end of the season and thrived especially in the Apple Cup.
So, the Cougar football program has a lot of momentum heading into next season and beyond. Hold on, have patience and enjoy the show Coach Leach and the Cougars will bring. All coaching transitions take time, and with the right amount of patience we can expect success in the future of Cougar football.
-Curtis Calhoun is a freshman communication major from Bellevue. He can be contacted at 335-1140 or by firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.