So what exactly are we supposed to gather with Captain Leach telling his offense they are going through the motions and the defense allowing a freshman running back to run wildly on the first team defense.
Cue profanity-laced tirade, sprints and rolling drills.
Do I have your attention?
I've had this theory about Captain Leach, that in any given season, he takes his team to task, publicly, for poor play or a bad loss, etc. The thought being that you can only yell and scream so much, and at some point, the yelling and screaming gets tuned out by players and you're left with a crazy coach who yells constantly.
Last year it was the Oklahoma State game in Stillwater and the year before that it was the TCU loss in Fort Worth. In both of those games, Captain Leach let his team have an earful of what he expected and how disappointed he was in their performance.
Much like Saturday.
So why now? Has the Captain taken his one bit at the apple this early, or is this a sign that things are changing?
I'm putting my money on things changing and here's why. In the past, I think it's safe to say that the practices were not as spirited or enthusiastic as they are this year (little to no hitting). I'm thinking that some of this had to do with the lack of hitting (again, it still feels strange to type this) which translated to a lack of intensity. Being a disciple of Hal Mumme, Leach has tended to focus on consistency and repetition on the offense, where quite honestly, hitting would just get in the way, but that type of consistency and relative success on the defense can typically only be accomplished by hitting during practices and going live.
Things changed when Ruffin McNeill entered the scene after the aforementioned Oklahoma State loss and now McNeill has got the entire team running and hitting from the spring practices all the way up through these fall practices. Granted, they had an entire set of spring practices to get accustomed to this more intense form of practices, things probably needed to be kicked up a bit.
I'd imagine that most guys were not quite ready to go as hard after 5 days of practice as in years' past and although I didn't see the practices, I'm guessing that Captain Leach laid into his team on Saturday because the team lost focus and weren't concentrating on the task at hand.
I don't think Leach was laying into his team like he does during the season, but I do think that Leach had to let the collective team know, that it's a brand new day and in years' past you might be able to take off a play or two, but if you have expectations of winning the Big 12 South, winning a Big 12 championship, and who knows what else, then the concentration, consistency and intensity has to be there for every practice.
Leach corrects the problem now, after only 5 days of practice, or he lets this attitude seep into the core of the season. In fact, if we theoretically talk about those bad losses, other than identifying actual statistics, you could simply point out that lack of concentration (turnovers) and failure to consistently and intensely perform your job (just stop the run damn't) led to each of those bad losses.
Nip it in the bud now and it's fine. Let complacency settle in and it's going to be a long season of diappointment.
More than anything I hope Captain Leach reminded them that this is not about going to a Gator, or an Insight or some other bowl, it's about going to a BCS bowl and about playing for a national championship.
The dreams are bigger this year.
It is all about getting the players to believe that success on the football field in November begins in August.