You knew media day was going to go well for the Cougars when the first question to the panel went to coach Mike Price. That's right. Mike Price, as in the Mike Price from the good ole days.
Bless that reporter's heart from Salt Lake City. He must have been confused or stuck in some kind of strange time warp. The question he was trying to ask was a two-parter: first, how is Jeff Tuel's health, and secondly, what does coach Mike Leach expect out of his quarterback this year.
Tuel gave a respectful answer. He feels fine, thank you. He is 100 percent healthy. And then he turned it over to coach Price.
"On behalf of coach Price," Leach began, "We want our quarterback to be accurate, make good decisions, develop his individual skills. The most important thing a quarterback does is make the players around him better."
Leach, not Price, then answered a few more routine questions. How is the culture different than what you were used to at Texas Tech? It's not much different, he said.
Do you need to scale back on the expectations that have surfaced this year? No one expects more than what we expect out of ourselves, he said.
What do you think of your receiver, Marquess Wilson? He said Wilson likes going through the middle, and that kind of reminds him of a pinball machine.
And then there were the really offbeat questions.
Which Pac-12 coach would be the best hunting and fishing partner? Oh, that one took some thought. Leach made sure he got that one right.
"Let's think about this one carefully because we don't want to get this one wrong," he said. "Rich Rodriguez – he spent a certain amount of time in West Virginia. You gotta recognize some potential ruboff there. Kyle Whittingham is definitely in the mix. Colorado is a good location…"
After a little back and forth and a lot of hard thought, he decided on Whittingham at Utah because of his knowledge and experience in the mountains there.
Well, know that's out of the way. What about the Civil War? If you were to compare Jeff Tuel and Travis Long to military legends, who would they be? He said Tuel would be Stonewall Jackson because he "attacks from all angles", and Long would be Ulysses S. Grant because he fights in the trenches.
"Gets down in the stance, going to guard the river, going to bombard them until they bust, provided he keeps his pads low -- and we're going to focus on that, right?"
Important stuff goes on at media day in L.A. Really, it does.
Happy Birthday, Travis!
Travis Long appeared on stage with Jeff Tuel and coach Leach at media day. It was his 21st birthday! He probably would have been in a more festive mood had he not been picked up by Pullman police a few days earlier for being a minor in possession of alcohol. Whoops.
Tuel Feels Great
Quarterback Jeff Tuel, who missed most of last season because of injury, said he feels 100 percent healthy now.
Asked what the biggest difference is from last year to this year, he said "confidence".
"Even without playing last year a lot I still learned a lot," he said. "I wasn't able to play, but I still took a lot out of it. I am more confident, I'm a smarter player."