WSU Spring Game Quotes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WSU Spring Game Quotes

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Mike Leach

On halftime speech: I said we were going to play a full second half. We didn't get our work done the first half, so we're going to get a full second half, which we did. I thought our lineman played better the second half, certainly. Had more explosives the second half, still some inconsistencies. I thought certainly improved the second half.

On if defensive packages were limited: They were limited. They could do some shifts, they twisted some, but the same base front and no blitzing.

On reason for no blitzing: In order to even these teams out, we made the teams as even as we could, so as a result there's people playing next to one another that don't usually play next to one another. In order to execute, it was going to be challenging. There was some of that. I thought they adjusted pretty good.

On quarterback play: Other than that turnover, Connor played pretty decent the second half. I thought Austin settled in and played good. I thought just played nervous and frantic a little bit the first half.

On quarterback battle: I think they're pretty even.

On environment in Spokane: I think the environment's great. The unfortunate thing for me is I only get to experience a portion of the environment. But it's a great environment here, but you can see those people up over there on that hill having a good time, too. It's a great experience for our fans and our players.

On thoughts on spring: I thought we had a really good spring. I thought we had a really good spring. I think we have to improve, I think we have to build on it, we have to get significantly better, but I think we've made pretty good use of our time.

On new guys coming in at offensive line: That's helped. It's also helped to make it competitive. If a guy doesn't measure up or play as well as he should, we got somebody else to plug in there. I think it's really important that that position's competitive and we need to keep it that way and elevate it.

On improvement of Kristoff Williams: I thought he played real well today, I think he's had a pretty steady spring. Gabe Marks has had a good spring. I think Dominique Williams has had a good spring ... Bobby Ratliff's had a good spring, didn't have a real good game today, I didn't think.

On if any plays jumped out today: I kind of have seen some of it in practice, so I wasn't quite as estatic as you would think. Had some guys make some people miss. Some good individual effort. I don't have one thing that comes to mind. Just went and get a little tempo going and kind of put streaks together ...

On what's next: This is going to continue. It's going to be heavy weight room and heavy running and then just need to work and continue to develop their skills ...

On if anything specific needed to be worked on: You'd be here all day if I were to cover all those. We just got to improve all the way around and be more consistent. The same thing everybody is working on.

On defense getting to quarterback: Well, by nature of the thing, we had a lot of backups in, too. Sometimes we had ones going on twos ...

On if Halliday still has slight edge in quarterback battle: I think it would be pretty close. It doesn't start today. We'll get them to camp and they'll fight it out. That's going to be based here, how they make use of the summer, the offseason, between now and camp.

 

Austin Apodaca

On his spring game performance: I thought I was very inconsistent. I struggled at the beginning, just some nerves. Just thinking too much. I think towards the end, once I kind of figured myself out a little bit and stopped thinking, played a little bit of football. I calmed down a lot and just was hitting my reads. It's a pretty simple offense when it comes down to it. I mean, just hitting your reads and moving the chains. I think I struggled doing that just because I was trying to do too much at the beginning, but I think overall, got better today. I'm going to watch film on Monday and even get better from that.

On the team play: I think we were just tight overall as a group. Something didn't click right away, we'd kind of go downhill from there instead of playing the next play. I think that's one of the biggest things we got to overcome. If something bad happens, we can't get in the fetal position and cry about it. We got to play the next play, is what coach always preaches. Same thing goes with a good play. If we make a good play, we can't boast on it, we got to play the next play and continue to make routine plays.

On how much of a help it is to have Gabe Marks to throw to: It's huge. I threw to him a lot today, I think. I tried to spread it out at a little bit at the end. Just Gabe having that -- they're all go-to guys -- but today, especially, Gabe was just on fire. He always wants the ball. That's the thing that's so big about him, he might get mad at the quarterback if you don't throw him the ball. That's how bad he wants it. I think if all of our receivers want the ball as bad as Gabe, we're going to be really good.

On his spring: I think I got very much better overall this spring. I think my first practice I was kind of scared a little bit, nervous and everything. Just because last year I was going running with the scouts and everything. As practice went on and as things progressed and just learned the offense a little bit more, I got comfortable. I think just being comfortable with the offense is the biggest thing for me right now and the whole team. Especially the offense. When we're comfortable in the setting that we're in, we're pretty dang good. Same with the defense, when they're comfortable with making plays, they can make huge plays, too. I think the biggest thing is [comfort]. When we know that we can compete with anyone, we're pretty good.

 

Connor Halliday

Went well. If we're going to be the team we want to be next year, we got to fight through those lulls we kind of had in the middle of the scrimmage. I think that's kind of the biggest thing we're fighting right now. We did get through that in the second half and moved the ball a little bit, so that was good.

We got off to a hard start, we got a quick score. Then after that we kind of fumbled, I think maybe everybody maybe took too much of a deep breath after that quick first score. Then when I missed that wheel route to Ricky where he was wide open, I think everybody kind of took a deep breath and was a little frustrated about that. We just got to fight through that.

If Kristoff is playing the way he is, we're a completely different team. Then we have Isiah that can back up Gabe over at the Z spot, and then Kristoff and Dom can hold on to that X spot down there. If Kristoff is playing the way he is, we're a completely different team.

It was a lot of fun. I have some good memories here. Looks like the turf might need a little redoing. Other than that, it's great. I love being here, it's a beautiful place. It's really cool to see so many people in the stands.

I think everybody kind of knows what to expect. I think last year was a lot of kind of an unknown. I think we know what Coach Leach expects from us and what we expect from him.

 

Mike Breske

On if it was tough with the limited defensive sets: We knew that going in and we just wanted to play fast ... At the end, we had to move some guys around so we could finish the scrimmage, but I was real happy through about the first 120 plays. Then we let down a little bit, gave up some things that we shouldn't be doing. But that's good. We got to be able to keep our focus and when you're on the field, keep working hard.

On pressure without blitzing: It's hard, we had four-man rush all day. They did a pretty good job, but it's hard on those kids up front with as much as our offense throws the ball to keep getting that push, that push, for 150-some snaps. But I was real happy overall. Third down, we got to continue. We started out real hot on third down, getting off the field, then kind of slowed down there. That's been an emphasis, just develop more consistency getting off the field on third down.

On difference of spring from last year: Totally different spring. We hit the ground running just because of retention, the mental. We didn't put as much in in the spring. We gave them the whole package defensively last spring, so they could see it, feel it, experience it. This spring we just picked and choosed. We were very limited because we wanted to play fast. Our goal this spring was to be a better football player than you were last fall. That was our job as coaches. We'll finish our evaluation Tuesday after our last practice.

On if sense better emotional buy in: Oh yeah. They understand us as coaches. Talk to you from a defensive point of view. We understand them as players, we have a much better feel. The fall, I still felt like it was spring ball. That learning curve, even in fall. I don't have that feeling this spring at all.

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