Past Cougs weigh in on Leach, Moos, Air Raid

DEVARD DARLING

MIKE LEACH runs one hell of an offense. The Air Raid produces a ton of points and enough statistics to make even the most casual football fan drool. But what about the guys who have actually played the game on the collegiate stage? CF.C spoke to Matt Kegel, Devard Darling, Deron Pointer and Trandon Harvey for their thoughts on Leach, the new offense, Bill Moos, the state of the program and more.

Since the Mike Price era began, Washington State football has ranked in the top 20 nationally in points per game five times (‘89, '97, 01', 02' 05'). And passing the ball has long been a staple at Washington State.

For former quarterback Matt Kegel, the addition of Leach to the Palouse is fits in with the natural order.

"In Pullman, we're used to putting up big numbers," Kegel said. "That high-powered, exciting, potent offense is expected in the Palouse."

Kegel, who has since moved back to Montana since his departure from the Palouse, heaped praise upon Bill Moos for his rejuvenation of the program over such a short time.

"That stadium is absolutely eye-popping," Kegel said. "It's a changing of the times; it's necessary. If you want to compete in college football in this day and age, you need the facilities."

Kegel, despite a litany of injuries, led the 2003 squad to a third straight 10-win season and a berth into the Holiday Bowl. And he sees offensive parallels between that year and the 2012 season to come.

"It's a bit nostalgic, really," Kegel said. "The offense I played under with Coach Price and this offense Leach runs are going to be eerily similar."

KEGEL'S FORMER favorite receiving target, Devard Darling, agreed with the quarterback's sentiment, saying the WSU football program has been making great strides.

"It's the nature of the beast," Darling said. "You have to spend money in these times to stick with the big hitters."

Darling continues to work out with Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub, friends of his from the Houston Texans, saying he continues to pursue his NFL career. While at Washington State, Darling scored 19 touchdowns and contributed to 20 wins in just two seasons with the Cougs.

"When I visited Pullman for the Cougar Legends event about a month ago, I was able to take a trip down to Pullman. It was eye-opening," Darling said. "I hadn't been back to the Palouse since leaving so seeing what has been done was real nice. Moos was the perfect guy to come in and turn this program around."

ANOTHER STAR Cougar receiver from years past, Deron Pointer, said fans are seeing firsthand the reformation of the program.

"(Moos and Leach) are bringing a sight unseen to the Palouse," Pointer said. "This regime is taking this program to a new level and redefining the atmosphere in Pullman."

During his time in Pullman, Pointer racked up impressive receiving numbers, tallying 2,098 yards and 18 touchdowns from '91-'93. Pointer still owns the record for most receiving yards in a single game in Washington State history with 255 yards against Arizona State in '93.

"This team is close to turning the corner," Pointer said. "We're making huge strides; (they) just have to produce on the field now."

Pointer remains in football to this day, refereeing high school football. He said he hopes to move into the college ranks in the next couple years.

THE HERO OF the 2005 Apple Cup, Trandon Harvey, says he is actually quite jealous of what the new regime is bringing to Pullman.

"Doba was a bit conservative," Harvey said. "I would have to say yes, I would give up a year with Doba to play under Leach's system."

Harvey, who has enjoyed a five year career in the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers, said WSU has made all the right moves in creating a winner.

"It all starts at the top," Harvey said. "Hiring a proven coach, that is what's going to get the recruits and put fans in the seats."

The Cougs and what is expected to be a prodigious 2012 offense kick off the season on August 30 in Provo, UT against a BYU team pollsters are projecting on the cusp of the Top 25.

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