PULLMAN, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video is from when WSU first announced their partnership with HBO for their show 24/7 College Football.
When HBO's show with WSU debuted on Wednesday at 7 PM, it was fair to say expect the unexpected. That seems par for the course when you have a head coach like Mike Leach. Here's what we learned from the show.
1. LEACH IS AS HONEST AS YOU WOULD EXPECT
Yeah, so maybe this isn't something we've learned, but maybe rather something more or less that was confirmed. Leach was blunt with his players after the loss to ASU, ranting about the team's "dumb" penalties, particularly harping on Travell Harris' unsportsmanlike penalty against the Sun Devils.
In a different player film session, Leach says this to his team:
During a quarterback session he also said that the team did a little too much during the first half of the game against ASU: "We did way too much of this in the first half. Trying to call the perfect play to whatever their defense is. No, screw that. All of our plays give them problems."
Leach also apparently never uses his office. He points out during the show that he doesn't think the computer has ever been turned on and the phone is collecting dust.
He does provide some fun notes about two things that reside in his office: The infamous George Costanza sign from College GameDay and the pirate that lives at his office's entrance.
2. DEFENSIVE MINDSET
One of the things we hoped to learn the most during the show was more about the Coug's revamped defense. We learned a few things.
Interim defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni says in an interview about Claeys resigning and the staff having the scramble: "I think it's unified us a little bit more. We're a little bit tighter as a staff as we were before. We communicate more."
During a practice scene, co-interim defensive coordinator Darcel McBath says in an interview: "One thing collectively that we thought once we took over is we've got to crank the energy level back up."
The scene then shows what appears to be a lively practice.
Perhaps the most illuminating thing we got to see was how Darcel McBath interacts with the defense during a game.
The first interaction comes after Skyler Thomas gets a WSU interception.
"We ain't done yet. There's more out there. Let's keep our foot on the gas," says McBath as the defense is circled around him.
He was right, as the Cougs intercepted the Buffs two more times in the game.
We also get another look after Colorado scores their lone touchdown of the game in the third.
"The real first adversity we've faced all game. How are you going to respond? How are you going to respond? Do. My. Job," says McBath.
We've heard a lot about how Darcel is effective in rallying the troops on the sideline. We got to see that tonight.
3. WSU'S VIRTUAL REALITY
The show went in depth showing how the Cougs, specifically Anthony Gordon, use virtual reality to watch their Wednesday practices. Apparently this was talked about a bit last season, but this was the first time we got to see it in action.
"It gives you a good picture of what the defense is doing to us," said Gordon as he rocked a VR headset. "Get a different vantage point from traditional film, you’re able to look around 360 degrees. It’s life-like so you can go through your reads and stuff like that. It’s a big help in my preparation throughout the week."
The show then details that the program has a virtual reality camera at every practice.
"It’s important for the Air Raid and how it’s designed because the Air Raid requires a lot of reps, a lot of mental reps as well," Gordon continues. "Being able to watch film, take away from your mistakes and positives is a big part of being an Air Raid quarterback. The virtual reality is a huge help. You’re able to see where each defender is within a given play and have a good understanding for space."
BONUS: ANTHONY GORDON HAS A MIKE LEACH IMPRESSION
We don't need to say much more. Here it is: