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Leach ready for challenge

PULLMAN, Wash. — New Washington State coach Mike Leach said Tuesday that some people have been asking him why he wanted to take over a downtrodden program in a remote town in the Pacific Northwest.

His response?

"I think that's a stupid question," Leach said, drawing a roar from about 1,000 fans, players and marching band members at a rally where he was introduced. "You can win here and win big, I believe."

Leach, 50, was hired last week to replace Paul Wulff. Leach was 84-43 at Texas Tech, leading the Red Raiders to 10 bowl appearances in 10 seasons, before being fired in 2009 amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion.

Asked Tuesday if parents of recruits should worry, Leach called the allegations "lies and falsehoods. … Your son will not be mistreated."

TWO GATORS HONORED: Florida senior running back Chris Rainey and junior kicker Caleb Sturgis were first-team selections to the Coaches' All-SEC team, the league office announced. Rainey shared all-purpose honors with Joe Adams of Arkansas. Sturgis was a first-team selection on special teams.

Rainey led the Gators with 1,318 all-purpose yards, including 790 rushing and 350 receiving. Sturgis was 21-of-25 in field goals with a long of 55 yards.

UNC HUNT: North Carolina is in talks with Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora to take the same job, the Associated Press reported. USF coach Skip Holtz had been linked to the Tar Heels.

BROTHERS REUNITE: Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino is returning to Arkansas to coach with his brother, Bobby, making him the first assistant to leave since Ron Zook was fired.

ARKANSAS: Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson resigned, becoming the third assistant to leave in two days.

CINCINNATI: Quarterback Zach Collaros is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken right ankle and could play in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31.

LSU: Defensive coordinator John Chavis won the annual Broyles Award given to the top college assistant coach.

PURDUE: Wide receiver O.J. Ross was suspended indefinitely for violating team policy and rules. The school plays in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 27.

RICHMOND: Danny Rocco, 47-20 in six seasons at Liberty, was named coach.

TENNESSEE: Coach Derek Dooley hired former Vols standout Jay Graham as a running backs coach.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Leach ready for challenge 12/06/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 11:49pm]
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