The saga of Mike Leach was prevalent last year when the contract negotiations were on-going and I thought it was appropriate to revive that meme as there may not be a better way to describe the situation. This is truly a saga.
Former Players Support Leach
Don Williams Adam Zuvanich has a lengthy article this morning about how a handful of former players are supporting head coach Mike Leach. I found all of the former players' comments insightful, but former offensive lineman Daniel Loper had this to say about WR Adam James:
"I think some people honestly are not tough enough to play college football, and (James) might be one of them, especially if he’s worried about being called out or humiliated," Loper said. "… Sometimes that happens, especially at the collegiate level. It’s not like high school and Pop Warner, where everyone gets to play and gets a pat on the back. Sometimes coaches can be mean and yell."
Former offensive lineman Glenn January also added that the shed isn't that bad at all:
January said the shed in which James spent practice on Dec. 17 might have been the most appropriate place to deal with his concussion, because it kept him out of the sunlight. January said he and his teammates on the offensive line often retreated to the same shed during practices to rest and escape the heat.
"It’s not like it’s some dungeon," he said.
Former players also defended Leach and how he treats injured players, who are still required to practice in some form or fashion while the rest of the team is practicing. Former wide receiver Eric Morris:
"If you’re injured, you’re required to still participate in some form or fashion. You still have to be outside and doing something," Morris said. "At times people have tried to get away with faking a little nag here and there, and to get away from people doing that, you always need to let everybody know they’re not going to stand around and do nothing. It’s a great thing to have in place. Some people want to get complacent and do different things because things aren’t going their way."
I don't know if Morris is attempting to imply something about Adam, but it sure seems that way.
There's a few things to take away from some of these former players: 1) Loper doesn't come out and simply confirm what some of may think about Adam, but he certainly takes the stance Adam may not be the sort that is cut out to play college football; 2) the darkest place in all of humanity is starting to sound like a place out of the sun light and not a dungeon or some sort of threatening place, but a place where players would convene to get out of the sun; 3) Morris' comments seem to indicate that some players that are injured would rather not practice at all and it sounds as if Adam was trying to get out of practicing as much as possible.
Join me after the jump for additional thoughts on refuting the horrible "dark place", the plan for the Alamo Bowl (yes, the game hasn't been canceled) and around the interwebs.
Refuting the Darkest Place
ESPN's Joe Schad wrote last night that Mike Leach's attorney, Ted Liggett, is refuting the initial story, in that Adam was, "to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours." Liggett refutes a majority of what's been initially reported, essentially adding to the thought that there's two sides to every story:
An attorney for Leach said that while James was secluded twice, the circumstances were not as portrayed in the initial account.
Ted Liggett, Leach's attorney, said James "was placed in an equipment room as it was much cooler and darker" than the practice field "after a doctor had examined him and returned him to the field."
Liggett said that on that day, a trainer was posted outside the room and that James was provided ice. Liggett said that James was secluded for one to two hours. Liggett said that on another occasion, James was placed in a "press room with air-conditioning and a stationary bike he could use."
There's a couple of confusing aspects to this story. I'm still not sure if Adam was cleared to play, but the first paragraph above seems to indicate that Adam was cleared to be on the field. That seems to be the opposite of what the initial reaction was in that initially it was thought that Leach was mis-treating Adam because of the concussion and forcing him back too early. Next, it was originally reported that a guard stood outside the room, but Liggett states that it was a trainer standing outside of the room, probably making sure that Adam didn't take a nap while the rest of the team was practicing. Finally, it was initially reported that Adam was placed in an electrical closet the second time, but Liggett is stating that there was no electrical closet, but rather a press room with air-conditioning and a stationary bike.
I'm curious if it make a difference to you guys and gals about some of the story that's now being refuted?
There's a Game?
LAJ's Don Williams writes that the coaching staff is moving forward:
Since Leach has served as his own offensive coordinator throughout his 10-year tenure as head coach, someone new will call the plays and signal them in. Interim head coach Ruffin McNeill said inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley will be the primary man responsible for play-calling and offensive staff assistant Sonny Cumbie will do the signaling.
"Lincoln will be calling from the box,’’ McNeill said after the team’s practice Monday evening at Benson Stadium. "He has worked with Mike full-time. And Sonny Cumbie, who works hand in hand with Mike, who understands the offense probably as good as anybody, will be signaling in the plays.’’
I'm comfortable with Riley and Cumbie taking care of the offensive side of the ball.
Around the Interwebs
The general consensus around the interwebs is that this entire situation will not end well for any of the parties involved. I would encourage you to follow the SB Nation story stream for up-to-the-date information (a story stream is essentially one web-page that is constantly updated rather than having to search all over the place for updates). It doesn't matter if we're talking about the head Captain, Craig James or Adam James, at the end of the day no one will come away a winner. SI.com's Stewart Mandel writes that the reputations of Mike Leach and Craig James are at stake. SB Nation's Spencer Hall writes that Leach has created this current situation. SAEN's Buck Harvey writes that Leach should see the writing on the wall and coach somewhere else. AOL Fanshouse's Kevin Blackistone writes that there's no excuse for abusive coaches (I'm probably going on a ledge here, but I'm wondering if putting Adam in an equipment room that the players often sat in to get out of the sun and now we learn that the second place was initially reported as an electrical closet may really be the press room with air conditioning and an exercise bike is considered "abuse").
I'm sure that there will be additional information coming out today, so feel free to post a comment, a FanShot or if you're feeling opinionated, take on a FanPost. I'm going to be in court for most of the day so I won't be around.
As requested, a picture of the supposed shed in question: