SPOKANE — Washington State football coach Mike Leach declined to say who would be his starting quarterback on Saturday when the Cougars play host to Colorado.
Jeff Tuel started the first two games of the season, but had an injured knee and did not play against UNLV last week. Connor Halliday started in his place and led the Cougars (2-1) to a 35-27 victory.
“You’ll have to stay tuned and watch very closely,” Leach said. “The anticipation is killing everyone, including me. We’re going to have a good week of practice and see how that ends up.”
He did say he was pleased with Halliday’s progress.
“He’s way ahead of schedule for guy who played only a handful of games,” Leach said.
Leach is reluctant to talk about injuries and starting lineups before games. He declined to publicly name Tuel as the starter for the season opener at BYU until nearly game time.
Tuel, who ranks in the top 10 in WSU’s career records in yards passing and touchdowns, suffered a knee injury late in a win over Eastern Washington. He’s recovered now.
“He’s ridiculously healthy,” Leach said of Tuel. “Tony the Tiger would be proud to have him be in a commercial and have him eat cereal.”
Halliday, a sophomore, threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns in the win over UNLV, but was intercepted twice.
Halliday was asked this week if he considers himself the backup.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see what happens this week. I just think if I get a chance, I’m going to do everything I can to be successful. If my role needs to be on the sideline cheering on Jeff, that’s what I’ll do.”
Washington State is favored by 18 points over Colorado (0-3), which was blown out last weekend at Fresno State.
But Washington State has not been all that impressive in narrow victories over Eastern Washington of the FCS and UNLV.
“We’re explosive, but we’re not consistent,” Leach said.
The quarterback situation aside, Leach did reveal his favorite pirate during Tuesday’s press conference.
That would be Bartholomew Roberts, a Welsh pirate who raided ships off America and West Africa between 1719 and 1722.
The pirate-loving Leach added that Roberts also had a cool flag.