Mike Leach

Say a little prayer, win a big game --- Camden Lewis comes up big for Oregon

Say a little prayer, win a big game --- Camden Lewis comes up big for Oregon

With 34 seconds remaining on the clock and Oregon's hopes of snapping a four-year losing streak vs. Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars laying in the balance, there was a moment of calm. A game winning field goal was pending as Oregon ran the ball to the WSU six yard line then centered the ball at the eight, trailing by a single point. 

Thomas Graham Jr. embraced freshman kicker Camden Lewis on the sideline and prayed. 

The story writes itself from there. The freshman kicker drove home the 26 yard field goal and the madness ensued. 

After the game, Justin Herbert gave praise to his kicker on TV, just as Coach Mario Cristobal did in the press room:

“He went in there cool as can be and got it done.”

It was a storybook ending to a drama-filled game and what better way than a freshman kicker, at home, in front of a packed Autzen Stadium to bring home the win?

Graham Jr. tweeted after the game:

Oregon will head to USC next for a 5pm kickoff on Saturday, November 2nd. For now, Lewis and Graham Jr. will enjoy the excitement of the moment, but will not forget the moment before the moment. 

Mike Leach goes full Gregg Popovich in halftime interview

Mike Leach goes full Gregg Popovich in halftime interview

Mike Leach is a national treasure and we can't get enough of him. As WSU headed into halftime tied 17-17 with Oregon, Leach got asked what his defense was doing well against Justin Herbert. 

In the most Mike Leach way ever, he gave his answer:

Never change Coach, never change. 

Mike Leach has a plan for the rampant problem of lip readers in football

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USATI

Mike Leach has a plan for the rampant problem of lip readers in football

"That's the world we live." 

Wise words from WSU head coach Mike Leach who explains the rampant lip reader problem with people trained since Kindergarten for just these circumstances (insert a heavy dose of sarcasm here).

You've all seen it. Play callers holding their play cards over their mouth as they call plays in to ensure people cannot lip read what is going on. Problem? Yes. But Mike Leach has a solution: Football veils. 

Enjoy:

WSU and Oregon will kick things off on Saturday night at 7:30pm in a pivotal Pac-12 game. 

MORE ON THE DUCKS

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Preview: Oregon vs. Mike Leach’s aerial attack

Talkin’ Ducks Podcast: Can Herbert snap the streak against the Cougs?

Oregon Ducks perplexed by Mike Leach's "Middle Earth" comments about Autzen stadium

Oregon Ducks perplexed by Mike Leach's "Middle Earth" comments about Autzen stadium

Another week, another Mike “Leach-ism”. The Washington State coach described Autzen Stadium as “Middle Earth” he continued to say he likes the unique atmosphere and considers it one of the loudest in the nation.

Middle-earth is the fictional setting of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

[RELATED: Preparing for Autzen's crowd noise is just another Thursday for Mike Leach]

Not sure what to make of that comparison? The Ducks are with you. I asked junior wide receivers Jaylon Redd and Johnny Johnson III, who were perplexed but agreed that there is nothing like Autzen Stadium. 
Enjoy his response in the video above. 

MORE DUCKS:

Numbers to know: Oregon vs. Washington State

How Brenden Schooler's transfer does/doesn’t affect the Ducks

Why a healthy Deommodore Lenoir is crucial for Oregon vs. Washington State

Numbers to know: Oregon vs. Washington State

Numbers to know: Oregon vs. Washington State

Oregon hosts Washington State in a Pac-12 After Dark special at 7:30 p.m., Saturday in Autzen Stadium. 

The No. 11 Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) look to stay atop the Pac-12 North Division, while the Cougars (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) are coming off their first conference win, defeating Colorado 41-10 in a strong offensive showing. 

Here are 10 stats and numbers you need to know to be the fan dropping knowledge at the tailgate:

HOME DOMINANCE

In Autzen Stadium, Oregon has outscored its four opponents 174-19. The Ducks have allowed only one touchdown in 53 drives by its opponents.

LEACHISM

After WSU’s victory against Colorado, Coach Mike Leach looked ahead to the “tough” Ducks and referred to Autzen Stadium as a “great looking stadium that looks like Middle Earth”on the WSU postgame radio show.

Middle-earth is the fictional setting of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

COUGS ARE STREAKING

The Cougars have won the last four meetings with Oregon including a 34-20 victory in Pullman last season. WSU has left Autzen victorious the past two seasons: 45-38 (OT) in 2015 and 33-10 in 2017. Oregon has never lost to WSU five-straight times.

IT’S JOHNNY JOHNSON III’S TIME

Junior wide receiver Johnny Johnson led the Ducks vs. Washington with 90 receiving yards and five receptions, all which resulted in a first down. His 30 catches this season is already more than his sophomore season total (17) and freshman season total (21).

CAREER HIGHS GALORE

Sophomore running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio has scored six rushing touchdowns in the last three games. He has set a new career high in each of the past three games. Against Washington, all 81 of his rushing yards came in the second half.

FROM PULLMAN TO EUGENE

Four members of the Oregon coaching staff have ties to the Washington State football program: Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line Joe Salave'a coached the WSU defensive line (2012-16), Linebackers coach Ken Wilson coached the WSU linebackers (2013-18), running backs coach Jim Mastro coached the WSU running backs (2012-17) and offensive analyst David Gilbertson was a WSU quarterback (2009-12).

AERIAL ATTACK

WSU leads the country in passing (440.7 yards per game), is 4th in total offense (532.7 yards per game) and 8th in scoring (42.7 points per game). Quarterback Anthony Gordon has 2,981 passing yards with 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

INSANE RATIO

Oregon senior offensive tackle Calvin Throckmorton has allowed just one sack over last 38 games (2,766 snaps). In his 45th consecutive start, Throckmorton earned Pac-12 Conference offensive lineman of week for his performance against Washington on Saturday.

THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE AUTZEN

A win on Saturday night would mark Oregon's eighth-straight win at Autzen Stadium, good for the longest streak since a 10-game run from 2013 into 2014. A victory would improve Oregon to 11-1 at Autzen Stadium under coach Mario Cristobal.

A WIN WOULD…

Give Oregon its first seven-game Pac-12 win streak since 2014. It’d also be Oregon’s first 5-0 start to Pac-12 play since 2013.


Preparing for Autzen's crowd noise is just another Thursday for Mike Leach

Preparing for Autzen's crowd noise is just another Thursday for Mike Leach

The Oregon Ducks are in mid-week preparation for their Saturday night game vs. the WSU Cougars and head coach Mike Leach. 

He's already called Autzen "middle earth" this week and one can only sit in anticipation with what topic and quote will come from Leach tomorrow. 

Yesterday, Leach was speaking with the Pac-12 after practice and was asked about piping in crowd noise to practice to preparing for places likes Autzen. 

An un-phased Coach Leach responded simply:

We do it every Thursday. Yep, every Thursday. 

And with that, the interview turned to other topics. 

It is fair to say that Mike Leach isn't losing any sleep about the crowd noise Duck fans are planning to bring to Autzen on Saturday. You can watch Coach Leach's availability from yesterday below: 

Remembering Washington State coach Mike Leach's best moments

Remembering Washington State coach Mike Leach's best moments

Earlier this week, Washington State coach Mike Leach went viral by saying that Autzen Stadium reminded him of “Middle-Earth,” the fictional land from the Lord of the Rings franchise.

His comments got us thinking of the best Mike Leach moments, as he seemingly goes viral every week. So we made a compilation of the highlights of his coaching career.

Leach claims his players are “fat, dumb, and happy and entitled”

Just this year, after Washington State gave up 50 points in the second half to UCLA, Leach gave a candid response about his players in the press conference:

We're a very soft team. We get a lot of good press. We like to read it a lot. We like to pat ourselves on the back, and if we get any resistance, we fold...They're fat, dumb and happy and entitled.

Leach ranks the Pac-12 mascots if they were going to fight

Again this season, Mike Leach was asked which Pac-12 mascot would win in a fight against all other Pac-12 mascots. His answer did not disappoint.

Leach plants a fake game script to get early lead against Texas

Leach was the QB coach and offensive coordinator at Oklahoma for the 1999 season. Going into his only Red River Rivalry game, Leach and the Sooners were large underdogs, so he searched for any advantage he could get. 

His final plan was to create a fake game script and have it end up in the hands of the Texas defensive coordinator. Leach had one of this players walk near the Texas locker room door and drop the fake game script. When a Texas grad assistant picked it up, he thought he made the score of a lifetime. He ran it up to the defensive coordinator, who couldn’t wait to make the perfect play call for each situation.

However, the fake game script was flipped to what the real game script was. If the fake one had the play going to the left, in the game Oklahoma ran to the right. 

Leach’s plan worked and Oklahoma got out to a 17-0 lead before Texas stopped using the fake game script and instead their own gameplan. Texas would go on to win the game 38-28. 

Leach bellyflops

Ahead of the Cougars’ season opener, the team went for a swim at a local pool. We got this fantastic video out of it. 

 

Leach gives advice on dating

While answering a question from a viewer on a local TV program from his Texas Tech days, we got to see how Mike Leach approaches a first date. His main tip: don't go anywhere with salad. 

Once again, he roasts his players

If you’re a Cougar and your team plays poorly, be prepared for your coach to keep it real. 

WSU Coach Mike Leach calls Autzen Stadium 'Middle Earth'

WSU Coach Mike Leach calls Autzen Stadium 'Middle Earth'

Washington State Coach Mike Leach hardly disappoints when it comes to giving a good quote. That sentiment held true when Leach was asked about the Cougars upcoming matchup against No. 11 Oregon on Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Washington State (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) is coming off their first conference win on Saturday, defeating Colorado 41-10 in a strong offensive showing. After the victory, Leach looked ahead to the “tough” Ducks and referred to Autzen Stadium as a “great looking stadium that looks like Middle Earth” on the WSU postgame radio show.

Middle-earth is the fictional setting of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

In his Monday press conference, Leach continued his analysis of Autzen Stadium.

“I’ve always like Autzen Stadium. It is one of my favorites in the country. Most people have it as the loudest, I would agree with that,” Leach said.

Then, Leach moved on to preview the Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12), who have control atop the Pac-12 North Division. The Cougars have beat the Ducks four-consecutive times.

On Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert:

“He’s a talented guy, but, you know, I am very pleased we have ours instead,” Leach said.

How does he plan to stop Herbert?

“The same way we have for the past four years,” Leach said.

 On Oregon’s success:

“The surprising thing to me is that people are surprised,” Leach said.

Leach continued to say the Ducks’ recruiting classes have been one of the best in the country in recent years, why would anyone be surprised that four and five star athletes are playing well?

Why a healthy Deommodore Lenoir is crucial for Oregon vs. Washington State

Why a healthy Deommodore Lenoir is crucial for Oregon vs. Washington State

Oregon starting cornerback Deommodore Lenoir is on this week's depth chart and has been cleared to play against Washington State on Saturday, according to Mario Cristobal.

“(Lenoir) looks good,” Cristobal said. “We feel like he’s ready to go and will be ready to go (against Washington State)."

Lenoir, who has started 20 straight games, suffered an injury in the Ducks’ comeback win at Washington while making a tackle with teammate Nick Pickett. Lenoir left for the locker room, did not return to the game and true freshman DJ James filled in.

Cristobal also added that senior linebacker Troy Dye, who broke his thumb vs. the Huskies, will be monitored, but he already played through the injury on Saturday and is expected to play against the Cougars.

With zero conferences losses, No. 11 Oregon (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) has control atop the Pac-12 North Division. While the Cougars (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) are coming off their first conference win on Saturday, defeating Colorado 41-10 in a strong offensive showing.

Coach Mike Leach’s air raid offense is different than anything UO Defensive Coordinator Andy Avalos and the Ducks have competed against thus far this season.

However, Lenoir knows the Cougars all too well and has never beaten them in his Oregon career. WSU has beaten Oregon four-consecutive times. The health of the upperclassman is vital to stopping WSU.

Lenoir, who was recently named a mid-season All-American by Pro Football Focus, is allowing less than half the balls targeted in his direction to be caught, the best coverage grade in the Pac-12 and one of the best percentages in the nation.

That excellent coverage will be needed against WSU who spreads the field with their receivers. WSU quarterback Anthony Gordon threw four touchdown passes against Colorado, his fourth game with four or more touchdowns in a game this season.

“We have not done a good enough job against Washington State for the past four years,” Crisotbal said.
The Duck defense has dominated at home so far this season, giving up just 19 points in four home games this season while forcing 19 three-and-outs in 53 drives. The Ducks have nine different players with an interception, led by sophomore safety Jevon Holland who leads the nation with three picks.

Off to a 4-0 start in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013, Lenoir and the Ducks look to avoid a letdown game and snap the four-game losing streak against Washington State on Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Justin Herbert: the player opponents hate to love

Justin Herbert: the player opponents hate to love

LOS ANGELES— Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has been creating problems for Pac-12 Conference defenses for three seasons. His junior campaign flashed brilliance that caused NFL scouts to project him as a top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft had he chosen to leave school. Herbert’s decision to stay surprised many, except those who know him, and caused opposing Pac-12 coaches to sigh.

“Seems like Herbert has been there forever,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said of the four-year starter. “Somehow they granted him 10 years of eligibility.”

The hot commodity quarterback certainly has an NFL future but the pros will have to wait one more season before the Eugene-native plays on Sundays. The Ducks and coach Mario Cristobal are grateful for the opportunity for another season with the senior and recognize the opportunity to make the most of his finale.

“It’s really rare… I think what’s really neat about it is that he’s just as grateful for the opportunity. There was no hesitation and no flinching in his decision,” Cristobal said. “He knows what he wants for Justin Herbert and is not going to let anyone talk him out of what he knows is the best thing for him. He has taken another giant step in terms of his development. He is a guy that- who doesn’t love him?”

Herbert, who is on most short lists for this season’s Heisman Trophy, was named first-team quarterback in landslide fashion at Pac-12 Media Day. The senior received a first-team nod on 31 of 33 media members ballots.

Yes, the media is all aboard the Herbert train and so are opposing Pac-12 coaches. While coaches raved about Herbert’s talent, they also reeled for an answer on how to defend the 6-foot-6, 240-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels. Herbert has become the most hated to love player in the conference.

“He’s such a fantastic player, arguably the best quarterback in the country,” said Cal second-year head coach Justin Wilcox. “He really doesn’t have a weakness in his game. It’s exciting to play against guys like that. We know it will take our best.”

Wilcox has known Herbert and his family his entire life. The two families are tied with a bond to UO through Josh Wilcox, who played tight end at Oregon in the mid-1990s. Wilcox and Herbert played backyard football after holiday meals. If he was home, Justin Wilcox was often the quarterback for Justin Herbert’s team.

21 years apart, Wilcox “thinks the world” of Herbert and his family until game day when Wilcox separates from their history for work. Wilcox was not surprised that Herbert returned for his senior season because “he’s wired the right way.”

36 miles north in Corvallis, second year head coach Jonathan Smith is proud of Herbert’s representation of the state.

“To be able to watch him over the last couple years turn into the player that he is, he’s just impressive, on and off the field,” Smith said. “I’m really happy for him and the future that he has ahead of him. He represents that school and this state in a great way.”

In Hollywood at Pac-12 Media Day, Herbert oozed confidence and comfort. Sitting next to him, teammate Troy Dye gushed about the respect Herbert has earned from the entire team, top to bottom.

“He can make any throw in the world. I swear, I’ve seen him make every throw and it pisses me off every day,” linebacker Dye said. “It’s super cool to have a quarterback like that because he’s a great leader, a great person and a great friend.”

Herbert enters his final season as a Duck with a streak of 28 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the longest in the nation. His veteran offensive line is projected to be the best in the country and he utilized the summer break to better connect with his receivers. His leadership skills have grown immensely, altering the perception of his shy personality. He is receiving instruction from legends at his position.

Long story short, Herbert is putting it all together for an epic senior season that could be record shattering.

“He’s exactly what you want on your football team,” Cristobal said. “He acts like he’s a freshman that just got here and is trying to prove something.  He lives each day as if he’s the guy who’s trying to prove that he belongs here. When your best players are doing that, you’ve got a chance to be a good football team.”

Herbert's work ethic-- you gotta love it. That is, unless your are playing against him.