Asked Monday evening whether he’s nervous for next week’s matchup against No. 11 Oregon, where four of his former assistants now work, Mike Leach used the opportunity to take a swipe at football coaches so paranoid about their plays being found out that they cover their mouths while talking on the sidelines.
“You know, America has always been this huge bastion of lip readers. Starting from kindergarten in some parts of this country, children are raised to read lips,” Leach joked. “So that’s why it’s so necessary for coaches to constantly take their game plan or their script to cover up their mouth, so you can’t read their lips, thereby quickly telling your signal caller on, say, your defense, what you read that their lips said, deciphering it, discovering what play it’s going to be, aligning your defense accordingly so they can stuff that play and get after the offense, and do all of that—and maybe substitute so it’s even more beneficial to you—and do all of that in 20 seconds.” OK! Funny enough! A few minutes later, Leach, now scrupulously describing “football veils” these coaches could buy, was still unspooling this joke.
At about the 12:15 mark in the video above, Leach floats the mouth veil idea, with which he slowly grows more and more enamored:
What they oughta do is just give these guys mouth covers—I oughta invent this, and we oughta go together on this, since you thought it up. Instead of a Zorro mask that covers your eyes, we’re just going to have one that covers the mouth, you see. And we could sell these to football coaches everywhere. You could have a deal where it kind of attaches on your ears, kind of like eyeglasses, and hangs right here like a veil—not as exotic, we’d make it a little more studly and masculine—and it hangs like a veil—because we don’t want them to look like a belly dancer, per se.
He gleefully suggests he has once and for all put lip readers out of business, pauses to answer the question seriously, and then returns to the beloved veils bit (at the 13:50 mark):
We’ve got, what, two days to get one of those veils. And we could logo them up a little bit, you know, even something like favorite cartoon characters. We can even draw a mouth on there. And I’ll tell you this, those that are kinda into fashion, we could have a flesh-colored veil that has lips and teeth on it, but they just don’t really move, you know? I think that would be a brilliant idea. Could stick a logo on there, oh yeah, Oregon, they’d have swooshes on theirs. And here, maybe we could get some cool Cougar teeth, you know, a little bit of nose, some whiskers. It’d be great.
The joke ended, it seemed, when Leach stopped to take a question from a Seattle Times reporter joining the press conference by phone to ask a question about Wazzu’s previous wins against the Ducks. Leach answered. And then...more veils! (around the 15:30 mark):
And we’re going to expect you to buy one of those veils, so that if you’ve got the scoop on one of your stories, you just hang that over your mouth and you can talk on the phone and none of those other reporters eavesdropping can get into the goods, you know what I mean?