The Mike Leach verbal lash is a mighty thing.
Mum on injuries as well as player personnel decisions through the first week of fall camp, Leach erupted during an intense scrimmage between the starting offense and defense in Martin Stadium Thursday.
The profanity-laced, five-minute tirade directed at the offense ground practice to a halt as players and coaches looked on in bewilderment.
Afterwards, Leach explained what prompted his outburst.
“We didn’t come out ready to play the last 15 plays. Right now, we’re a team that loses our concentration when we get tired, so basically we need to work through that,” he said. “Overall, it was a decent practice. We just got to do a better job of impressing the point on those guys to be ready to tee it up. We got to be tougher when we’re tired.”
He was visibly frustrated when they failed to develop any sort of tempo against WSU’s starting defense. Quarterback Jeff Tuel, in particular, received the brunt of the audible criticism for failing to pick up play calls from the sidelines.
“Don’t look at (expletive) him,” Leach shouted at Tuel when the signalcaller turned to another offensive coach after failing to pick up the coach’s hand signal.
Leach said his team’s first slip-up of fall camp couldn’t go unnoticed.
“Really it was just today,” he said when asked whether he’s seen a lack of effort throughout the last week. “We’re not going to ignore today and then have to address it a month from now. I think it was everybody. We dropped more balls than we probably should and then I think we’re inconsistent up front.”
Leach’s frustration boiled to epic proportions before he ended practice.
“Did that hurt your (expletive) feelings?” Leach yelled after tearing his team to pieces. “(Expletive) you. Your play hurt my (expletive) feelings.”
The absence of effort and focus prompted Leach to demand 30 up-downs in sweltering heat from the offense while the defense watched from across the line of scrimmage. The punishment capped a week of intense conditioning for any player who broke team rules, or otherwise upset the head man. Tuesday, defensive end Adam Coerper spent nearly the duration of practice doing rolling exercises face-down in a pit of sand carved out of the practice field sidelines.
Despite shouting a series of expletives that would have made former comedian George Carlin proud, Leach didn’t sound especially concerned after he took a half hour to calm down.
Apparently, a thorough butt-chewing occurs at least once a year.
“I’ve never been a part of the camp and I don’t know anybody that doesn’t work on and address effort at some point in time,” he said. “So, today’s our day. If we need to address it tomorrow we will cause you’re not going to be any good unless you have great effort.”