STANFORD, Calif. – Marquess Wilson ranks with the greatest receivers in Pacific-12 Conference history, but he ranks fairly low on coach Mike Leach’s depth chart right now.
Wilson led the Cougars with nine catches and 100 receiving yards Saturday in a hard-fought loss to No. 19 Stanford. However, Leach said he limited Wilson’s playing time and yanked him from the starting lineup because redshirt freshman Dominique Williams outplayed Wilson in practice during the week.
“If Marquess wants to play all the time, he’s going to have to quit being hot and cold,” Leach said.
Sophomore receiver Isiah Myers, who started the game one catch shy of Wilson’s team-high 38 receptions, did not play for reasons Leach refused to disclose. Leach, who does not discuss injuries, said Myers is not suspended and remains part of the team.
Asked if Myers missed the game for any reasons other than injury, Leach said, “You can use your imagination.” Asked if Myers will rejoin the team for practices this week, he said, “I don’t have a crystal ball.”
Leach said he was pleased with Wilson’s play after a slow start Saturday, and overall, the coach was delighted with his team’s play.
Still, Leach stressed, “We’ve got to keep improving. We’ve got to keep getting better.
“I thought we played hard. I thought we played well. We just have to be a tougher, more mature team.
“They’ve got a more mature team. They’ve got a bunch of seniors, and it showed.”
Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel put together a career game Saturday, and he said he couldn’t have done it without the WSU defense.
“We were feeding off each other (the offense and defense),” Tuel said. “That’s something this team has been missing is playing as a team.
“I’m not sure if people looking on the outside in understand that, but if the defense gets a stop, it fires up the offense. The offense goes down and scores, the defense has our back.
“It’s one of the first times all season I really felt like we played as a unit.”
Tuel was sacked a whopping 10 times, which set a Stanford record. The Cougars’ record book does not list a mark for sacks allowed.
Cardinal defensive end Ben Gardner offered high praise for Tuel.
“That guy battles,” Gardner said. “He took some hits tonight and he got back up and kept fighting.
“He’s a heck of a quarterback. He doesn’t get the credit that he’s due. He’s a warrior.”
Stanford coach David Shaw had similar praise for WSU buck linebacker Travis Long.
“Travis Long is probably one of my favorite guys in our conference that’s not on our team,” Shaw said. “That guy plays hard.”