What would a day, even a gameday, be without starting it with a transfer post?
Following an ugly loss to Cal this past weekend, Mike Leach lit into his Washington State football team in general and his leadership group in particular.
“Our team leaders in the group,” the head coach said, “they’re either frauds, or they haven’t reached the group either.”
Since that public roasting, two defensive backs have already been dismissed from the program for violating unspecified team rules. Around that same time, a WSU official confirmed, another player, linebacker Fa’avae Fa’avae, decided to leave Leach’s team and place his name into the NCAA transfer database.
No specific reason for the departure was given.
Fa’avae was one of two Cougars football players arrested during the offseason on vandalism charges. While the other, offensive lineman Christian Haangana, left the program in August, Fa’avae remained with the team.
After redshirting as a true freshman in 2017, Fa’avae played in 10 games for the Cougars this past season. In 2019, and prior to his decision to leave the team, Fa’avae had played in seven of Wazzu’s nine games.
Just a couple of days after very publicly calling out the “frauds” on his Washington State football team, Mike Leach has apparently been forced to prune a couple of them from his roster.
While nothing has been confirmed by the football program quite yet, it’s being reported that a pair of Wazzu defensive backs, Trey Davis and Daniel Isom, have been dismissed by Leach. The only reason given was an unspecified violation of team rules.
It should be noted that, even absent a public pronouncement from the program, neither player is listed on the team’s official online roster.
When it comes to this season, Isom is the most noteworthy as the redshirt junior had started seven of the nine games in which he played, with the first five starts coming at safety. Isom is currently sixth on the Cougars in tackles with 30 and leads the team with two forced fumbles.
Isom began his collegiate career at Northern Illinois, playing for that MAC school for two seasons before, after one year at an Iowa junior college, transferring to Wazzu following the 2018 season.
Davis, meanwhile, was a three-star 2019 signee for USC before transferring from the Trojans over the summer and landing with the Cougars in time for summer camp. As a true freshman, the state of Washington native had played in four games.
When it comes to the semifinalists for one of the most prestigious quarterbacking awards in college football, they are who you thought they’d be (for the most part).
Wednesday afternoon, the Davey O’Brien Award released its list of 16 semifinalists for a trophy named in honor of the former TCU College Football Hall of Famer. Headlining this year’s group is LSU’s Joe Burrow, who enters Week 12 of the regular season as the overwhelming favorite to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy.
One finalist from a year ago, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, is a semifinalist this year as well. Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts is the only two-time semifinalist again in the mix, although this is his first time as a Sooner as the first two came while he was a member of the Crimson Tide.
Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence are also former semifinalists who are up for this year’s award.
The Big 12 leads all conferences with four semifinalists, followed by three apiece from the AAC, Pac-12 and SEC. The Big Ten accounted for two while the ACC had one.
The 2018 winner of the Davey O’Brien Award was Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Below is the complete list of semifinalists for the 2019 award.
- Charlie Brewer (Baylor)
- Shane Buechele (SMU)
- Joe Burrow (LSU)
- Sam Ehlinger (Texas)
- Justin Fields (Ohio State)
- Jake Fromm (Georgia)
- Anthony Gordon (Washington State)
- Justin Herbert (Oregon)
- Tyler Huntley (Utah)
- Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
- Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
- Tanner Morgan (Minnesota)
- Malcolm Perry (Navy)
- Brock Purdy (Iowa State)
- Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
- Brady White (Memphis)
Pac-12 refs gonna Pac-12 ref.
In the third quarter of the Washington State-Cal game Saturday, the Cougars were penalized 15 yards for hands to the face on a kickoff return. So, instead of starting the drive at midfield, Wazzu was forced to start it at their own eight-yard line.
The only problem?
It was actually the Golden Bears who committed the penalty, which should’ve been tacked on at the end of the return and given the Cougars the ball in Cal territory.
In a statement Sunday night, the Pac-12 “acknowledged an error in officiating” during the game on the return in question. “After the next play was run, the referee informed Washington State that there was an error in application of the penalty,” the conference’s release read. “The penalty was on the kicking team number 15, not the receiving team, and the penalty should have been assessed on California at the end of the play with the ball spotted at California’s 35-yard line.
“The conference confirmed the penalty for hands to the face was correct. However, the mechanics and communication were incorrect in assessing the penalty to Washington State instead of California.”
As a result of the mistake, the referee, listed in the gamebook as Matt Richards, has been given a one-game suspension. “The remaining members of the officiating crew have been downgraded,” the conference added.
For those curious, the controversial drive that led to the punitive measures ended with a Wazzu field goal to cut Cal’s lead to 20-14 at the time. The Cougars ended up losing the game 33-20, triggering yet another Mike Leach rant.
Washington State coach Mike Leach is never one to sugarcoat things (or even speak in politically correct platitudes) and it certainly does not appear as though he’s going to change anytime soon.
The latest example comes after the Cougars ugly 33-20 loss at Cal on Saturday. It was a key game for the team in the division and to their hopes of making a bowl game but they struggled all night. According to SFGate, their head coach did not mix words afterward when discussing his team and how receptive (or not) they were to his staff’s message before and after kickoff.
“Well, that’s a great question because we as coaches think about that, talk about that, all the time. And somehow we’ve failed to reach the group,” Leach remarked to the Washington State IMG Sports Network. “Our team leaders in the group; they’re either frauds, or they haven’t reached the group either.”
Earlier this season Leach banned his players from social media as it labeled a distraction and called them soft, fat, dumb and happy after getting blown out by Utah. So it’s not like this is out of left field or abnormal for either the head coach or the program.
Wazzu hosts Stanford next week in a game where the loser is very likely not going to make a bowl game so we’ll see if the Cougars start to hear what their coach is saying by then.
One thing’s clear: it’s not easy living that pirate life when things are going wrong.