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Going Forward and Tuesday Night Football Notes

The 2006 Texas Tech football season is officially over and now we focus on basketball and a little baseball until August.  

I have previously promised a breakdown of Insight Bowl tape and I hope to be finished with that by week's end.  As the football off season moves forward I'm going to take a look at each position and try and project who will be playing next year and at least give you an idea as to what the roster will look like without the incoming freshman class.  

As far as recruiting is concerned, my general attitude is to not get too worked up about what our class looks like now, but rather focus on the class on signing day (February).  

The only article of the day is from the LAJ's Don Williams, where he details how Leach believes that Minnesota firing Glen Mason "Ridiculous".  Then you have the other side of the fence, that Minnesota refused to accept mediocre teams when the goal is the Rose Bowl.  Here's a portion of the article which begs another question:

Mason is a good football coach, and he did wonderful things for the program. But it was clear he was not going to get Minnesota to the Rose Bowl -- because, well, he basically told us so. Mason's biggest backers blame Maturi and the school's brass for this; the facilities are subpar, they say, and the budget isn't big enough to attract good assistant coaches. Mason, they contend, was working with one hand tied behind his back and proved his mettle by succeeding as much as he did.

Though there is some truth to this, it's a loser's argument, and Mason was too happy to play along.

He may have believed differently in his heart, and told his players differently before the big game, but when he spoke publicly about the program it was generally in negative terms. While Mason praised his players as good, hard-working kids -- and the overwhelming majority of them are -- he painted a picture of a team fighting against all odds to even compete in the Big Ten.

This was Mason's fatal flaw. If you want to pinpoint the beginning of the end, it was when he told reporters early this season that, after a full nine seasons, Minnesota was still in the "formative stages" of his rebuilding effort. Maybe he was bolstered by the five-year deal he had just signed, but why say that out loud -- even if you believe it?

Is this what separates Leach from the Glen Mason's of the world, the honesty?  I truly believe that one of the more enduring qualities about Leach is his honesty, and on the other side of that is the idea that Mason, after 9 years of coaching the Gophers, wanted you to believe that he was still in rebuilding mode.  I just can't imagine that Leach would pile on with that mess of excuses.  Additionally, I cannot recall a time when Leach used Lubbock's location as a reason why he's not successful.  I would imagine that if you asked Leach why he didn't win a particular game this year, his answer would not be that he didn't have the right players, but rather that the players didn't execute his system or the game plan.

Another thought.  What do you think that first interview that Leach had to become the head coach of Texas Tech?  I know that Leach probably knows how to turn on the charm when necessary, but I can't imagine that his initial interview was anything but smooth.  In some ways, that's probably what landed him the job.  The Tech coaching position is not for everyone and the higher-ups at Tech had to see past the strange qualities of Mike Leach and see that he's an exceptional football talent.