Washington State fans are excited about the reported hiring of Mike Leach. They want to see his high-flying offensive attack in Pullman. But what caliber of player will Leach bring to the Cougars to run his offense?
This is an important question. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. And while at Texas Tech, Leach made his living on sleepers and lesser-known players. He had to, as Texas Tech rarely won battles for the top recruits in the Lone-Star State; typically losing out to the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, Oklahoma Sooners and even the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
In a state as loaded with talent as Texas, this strategy can work. But it might not work in Pullman. Compared to Lubbock, Texas, Pullman, Washington is completely bereft of surrounding talent. In addition, the skill guys Leach pulled were typically from the prep infrastructure that includes years of passing work in seven-on-seven camps during the summer. Simply put, they were more ready to step in and play college football than the kids in Washington state.
And the competition for what little talent exists in state is fierce, with schools like Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Cal and USC attempt to pull the top kids out of Washington State, leaving the Cougars to find overlooked kids from California.
And Pullman is more than a five-hour drive from Seattle -- home to most of the state's talent. The Cougars are really a state school in name only.
Leach will certainly produce a high-flying offense. But whether his offense is high-scoring, and whether his defense can stop anyone will have more to do with the quality of recruit he brings in, than the scheme itself. For that reason, Leach must make sure to hire some assistant coaches willing and able to get after it on the recruiting trail.
For more on Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars, head to Coug Center