Washington State coach Mike Leach likes to talk about almost anything, including pirates, bear hunting and Daniel Boone, however, one thing Leach doesn't like to talk about: injuries.
"As you're aware, we don't have any injuries here," Leach told a Spokane Spokesman-Review reporter who asked about injuries earlier this month.
Here are the non-existent injuries -- that actually exist -- that should concern WSU going into 2012.
QB Jeff Tuel (missed nine games in 2011): Tuel isn't injured right now and if the Cougars want to have a successful 2012 season, they'll keep it that way. The WSU quarterback was healthy going into 2011 too, but he fractured his clavicle in Week 1 against Idaho State. Tuel ended up only playing in a total of three games in 2011 and Washington State finished the year 4-8. One of the keys to making Mike Leach's Air Raid offense work, is the quarterback's ability to make quick decisions. If Tuel stays healthy, Washington State could find themselves in a bowl game for the first time since 2003.
DL Xavier Cooper (unspecified): Cooper is currently a projected starter at defensive tackle, however, the Cougars may not have him for the the team's opener Aug. 30 at BYU. Cooper was injured during fall camp and the Spokesman-Review reported that the injured redshirt freshman was wearing a boot on his right foot as recently as Aug 24. Because of Leach's policy, there's no way to know the seriousness of the injury.
OL Rico Forbes (knee): Forbes went down with a knee injury early on in camp and hasn't returned since. He's been spotted on crutches, and its unclear how severe the injury is as Leach has refused to answer questions about it. There have been reports that the redshirt junior could miss the entire season. Forbes loss would be a crushing blow to an offensive line that gave up 38 sacks last season, the 10th-worst total in the country. If Forbes is lost for the season, look for senior Dan Spitz to take his place.
Other injuries: NT Toni Pole has also been slowed by an unspecified injury. Since Leach doesn't talk about injuries, Cougar fans will want to keep an eye on the line when the defense takes the field for the first time to see if either Pole or Xavier Cooper are playing against BYU.