Washington State will have a new defensive coordinator when it plays Arizona State on Oct. 12.
The school announced Friday that Tracy Claeys had resigned as the team’s defensive coordinator. Washington State has given up 105 points in its last two games — both losses — and 50 of those points came in the second half of a 67-63 Week 4 loss at home to UCLA.
“We appreciate Tracy’s efforts the past year and a half and wish him the best going forward,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said in a statement.
Leach called out his players after a 38-13 loss to Utah in Week 5. He said after the game that his team didn’t have the toughness it showed in 2018 and that some players were “fat, dumb and happy and entitled.”
The school said linebackers coach Roc Bellantoni would be the interim defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Darcel McBath would be the co-interim defensive coordinator. Washington State is off on Saturday.
Claeys said in a tweet Friday night that he resigned because he couldn’t agree with Leach on solutions for a struggling defense.
Thank you Coach Leach for the opportunity. I didn’t resign for health or personal reasons. The defense has struggled and I am responsible. We couldn’t agree on solutions so the SPEED D is better with new leadership! I love the players and staff! They will finish strong! GO COUGS— Tracy Claeys (@t_claeys) October 5, 2019
Claeys is former Minnesota coach
Claeys came to Washington State to replace Alex Grinch, who left Wazzu to go to Ohio State. Claeys took over as Minnesota’s head coach when Jerry Kill resigned for health reasons during the 2015 season. He was the team’s coach in 2016 and was fired after Minnesota went 9-4. The Gophers hired P.J. Fleck to replace him.
Washington State’s defense was one of the best in the Pac-12 in 2018 and was overshadowed by the sensation that was (and is now in the NFL) Gardner Minshew. The Cougars allowed 23 points per game and 5.6 yards per game. In 2019, those numbers are up to over 30 points per game and 6.4 yards per play.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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