Cougars helping cougars: WSU womens football clinic |
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Sometime in the middle of drills, I met an unsuspecting Coach Mike Leach around mid-field. The coach was talking to one of his assistants, assessing the crush of estrogen surrounding them in the practice bubble. When I approached him, he automatically put out his hand to shake mine - and, I told him I had some plays that he could use next year.
He smiled. He laughed. He asked for it.
The womens football clinic is a Mike Leach tradition. It's new to Pullman, but something he did during his years at Texas Tech that grew into something of a phenomenon. 500 women would turn out to learn about the program, meet the coaches and run drills with the players on the field. Now, he's brought the tradition to Pullman, perfectly scheduled on Moms Weekend. If Saturday's clinic was any indication, it's about to become a phenomenon on the Palouse as well.
The concept is simple: get the female fan base familiar with the program. Plenty of women come to games at Martin Stadium and pledge their allegience to the crimson & gray. Some are fans in our own right; others are dragged there by the men in our lives. Coach Leach knows, the more women are engaged, the better for the program as a whole. I've been to plenty of games in Pullman - we're season ticket holders and a my husband is a die-hard Coug. But, this was a chance to ditch the husbands/boyfriends/sons/uncles and have our own Cougar football experience.
The afternoon started on the club level of the newly-built addition to Martin Stadium. We checked in and were handed two t-shirts, commemorating the event. Then, it was time for appetizers and adult beverages while we waited for the program to begin.
The coaches began the afternoon by introducing themselves and their wives, many of whom were in attendance. Then, four of this year's Cougar football players took the stage for a Cougar fashion show. They showed off their practice and game-day attire and kept solid game faces while the crowd - my rowdy table included - shouted encouragement during their "costume changes." They were good sports - and, they may have a new legion of fans this fall at Martin Stadium.
After a brief tour through the press box, club level and stadium suites, it was time to head to the practice bubble for the main event: the football drills. They told us when we signed up to dress in "Cougar casual" and it was a good thing we did. We were broken into groups and sent to stations around the field. There, the position players guided us through some of the drills they do in practice every day. The coaches were there, too, guiding us through the workouts.
Here's what I learned:
-It's really hard to hop over mats two feet at a time when you have given birth to several children
-I can kick off a tee, but not a stand
-It's harder than you think of to come up with an impromptu end zone celebration
-Being an offensive lineman is really hard on your knees
-Running backs are much smaller and much faster than they appear on the field
-The Cougar players and coaching staff are really, really fun to be around
In all, it was an incredible day for us "cougars" to work out with the Cougars in their natural environment. Are you sad you missed out? Don't worry. After the clinic, Coach Leach talked to us about his hopes and dreams for next year. He wants this to grow and wanted our feedback on things to improve for next year. I know I'll be there - I hope to have plenty of company.
As for those plays I promised Coach Leach? I should have them ready by fall.