Washington State’s Spring Game: The Return of the Pirate

Spring games typically don’t make for very compelling watching, but anytime you have a new coaching staff, the interest is heightened somewhat because it’s the first and often only glimpse at how the new staff’s schemes will mesh with the existing talent. And of course I’ve been looking forward to the return of Mike Leach to the sideline, and to see how his offense may have evolved in his couple of years away from the game.

As expected, one answer is simple: Not much, nor should it be much different. The offense got lots of mileage early out of four verticals and the mesh concept, for example. But there’s some somewhat new stuff here, primarily in the use of pistol sets from the backs, some multiple runningback sets and motion with those guys in the backfield, and even some play-action and “pop” passes. Much of it is familiar to offenses run by other Airraid graduates, but is somewhat new to Coach Leach’s more traditional attack. I expect Washington State to have a few struggles in the fall, but it should be fun to see how quickly the offense comes together and what new wrinkles Leach adds in.

  • Probably uses more of the stuff you covered in the Oregon article. Why not? He sees them in game film enough to use what they do that works with motion as a read accelerator for horizontal actions.

    Pistol has a longer mesh time to sell play fakes or give the offense read time for the kind of runs you have become a fan of. Two backs allow for more variety to backfield actions and the chance to shape defensive reaction to motion.

  • WSU will certainly have some struggles this season, but I believe it won’t be because of their offense. They have 2 good QBs and an all-conference receiver. The running game needs work, but Leach has always utilized the short passing game as a supplement to the running game.

    A poor 2011 defense returns a lot of experience, so we shall see what happens. But I for one look for an improved Washington State team.

  • Looks funny to see Mike Leach’s offense described as “traditional” although I know what you mean. O tempora O mores.