Amid the hectic set construction, egregiously large cornhole tournament, convoy of orange trucks and barrage of out-of-towners entering Pullman, Friday’s best kept secret was College GameDay speaking with the media.
From lentils to game analysis, more topics got covered than the March Madness-like press could possibly keep up with. One of the most recurring, however, was a pure admiration of Head Coach Mike Leach.
On their own accords, both Rece Davis and Desmond Howard spoke complimentary of the Pirate.
“This guy is ridiculously smart. He’s very intelligent. He’s never boxed in to think about things in a certain way and I think that’s what makes him an offensive genius and what’s made him a great leader. His teams always play hard for him.” Rece Davis said. “He’s refreshing. In a world where all of us live now – all of us who do this – we parse every syllable people say, and the ones that we say are also parsed. That makes people hesitant. And so you have a high majority – a generation of coaches – who are very well schooled on what exactly they should say… and Mike just says what he thinks and that’s really really refreshing and cool. I think it serves him well.”
With Wazzu’s offense checking in at no. 15 in the nation – second in the Pac-12 – on 41.8 points per game, the commendation is well deserved.
“I think Mike Leach is just true to who he is. He believes in his style, his philosophy and that’s a credit to him as coach and as a person,” Howard said. “He may look at other teams, he may look at other people, but his core philosophy stays the same.”
Both continued – along with Kirk Herbstreit and producer Drew Gallheher – to speak virtuous tunes of Washington State’s energy.
All sounding like a calibrated concerto of skipping records, Pullman was constantly juxtaposed with North Dakota State University and James Madison University in regard to the show’s best environments.
“We always wondered if we’d get a chance to come out to Pullman,” Herbstreit said before uncovering how he heard of GameDay’s decision. “It was surreal. I was like, ‘Wow. This is going to happen. It’s real.’ And from that point on the last four days – five days – it’s been a blur.”
Herbstreit was quick clear up the show is never about him or his colleagues. He says the focus is on showcasing the featured university and their football program. Perhaps Howard said it best calling GameDay a “three-hour infomercial” on Washington State.
As for the possibility of Saturday’s crowd growing too rowdy and large?
“We’ve never run into that problem before,” Gallheher said. “I guess as much as the space in the streets can handle.”