For about two weeks now, Washington State coaches and players have been under a social media ban in an attempt to limit distractions.
The Cougars started the season 3-0 against New Mexico State, Northern Colorado (FCS), and Houston, but have now lost three games in a row, all to Pac-12 foes. After letting a big lead slip away in that second loss of the skid against UCLA, and then losing by 25 to Utah, Leach decided to approach team leadership about putting social media on the back burner and refocusing.
Of the 12 players he “consulted” about the ban with, five were in full support of it, which Leach shared he found very surprising. Leach shared during his press conference yesterday that the ban had been something on his mind for quite some time, and not just banning it for players, but for himself and his staff as well. The lone exception for staff being on social media is if it is for recruiting purposes, and the ban for the team lasts through the team’s final game.
From a personal standpoint, Leach says the break from social media has been “refreshing,” and finds that he reaches for his phone quite a bit less now without the temptation of social media there to tempt him. Looking back at the season, Leach shares that he wishes he would have brought up the ban to the team during training camp first.
“I think we entertain too many distractions…and if I had it to do over again, I would’ve done it when we started camp. But, I think we entertain too many distractions. I think we’re a little too distracted right now, but I think there’s a team-wide determination to be less distracted.”
Leach isn’t interested in confiscating his players phones and babysitting their activity. He realizes that his guys are going to get on social media and scroll through posts. What he and team leadership are asking is that players refrain from posting content.
“Everyone has lifted enough weights, studied enough film, coached in enough drills, ran enough drills that I think we can survive without it until after the bowl. I don’t know why we couldn’t.”
“Whether we can or not…well, we’re going to.”
Speaking of distractions, keep in mind that Leach and the program have HBO camera’s there to film the college Hard Knocks-style shows.
See Leach’s full response, starting at about the 9:15 mark of the clip.