Esteemed Georgia blogger Kyle T. King details why he's not fond of Mike Leach and although I can't make anyone like anyone else, perhaps I can provide some insight. I think the premise of King's article is that Leach hasn't done much to be able to criticize other coaches and his tantrums are misplaced.
Winning at Texas Tech: I think some time next year Mike Leach will become the winningest coach in Texas Tech history. I know that sounds like an awfully low bar and it doesn't seem as if Leach has been at Texas Tech long enough to be in that position, but that's the position he's in. For one, it demonstrates the relatively lack of football success at Texas Tech and, second, it demonstrates Leach's coaching ability.
It's hard to quantify the talent gap between Texas and OU and Texas Tech. If you want to look at players in the NFL or recruit rankings or whatever, Texas Tech is usually 4th or 5th in the conference. Leach does more with less than any other coach in America.
I would welcome Kyle to drive to Lubbock with me from Dallas on any given weekend that I can make it out to a game. I can guarantee you that by the end of the process he and I will be either very good friends or bitter enemies (hopefully the former). Six hours there and six hours back with little to no scenery. I know it seems completely foreign to most, but the fact that Leach has been able to build a winner in Lubbock is nothing to take for granted. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love Lubbock. Going to school at Texas Tech was the best thing that ever happened to me, but the difference between Lubbock and Austin is that you've got to really want to be in Lubbock. It is not an easy destination.
College coaches are paid to do two things, win games and graduate players. I'll let you decide the order, but right now, Leach does both. The fact that none of his quarterbacks have stuck on an NFL roster isn't indicative of his success at Texas Tech or his success at producing successful collegiate quarterbacks. Thus far, I think Leach has hit on almost all of his starting quarterbacks, and as of right now, he probably has a better track record than most NFL teams at developing quarterbacks.
Complain about Leach all you want, but he has the highest public university graduation rate among football players in the NCAA. I think the fact that he has accomplished both goals says something about what he is as a coach.
To say that Texas Tech has to beat UT and OU before talking. Okay, just give us a little more time. I don't think that Texas Tech will ever have the funding, the stadium or resources that either of those programs ever have. Leach is 2-2 against both of those programs in the last two years. Give him time.
- Defending His Players: Comments started being made that Cleveland Browns head coach felt that Michael Crabtree was a diva during his visit. Rumors started flying and Leach had two options at that point. Leach could have kept his mouth shut, or he could have defended his player. Leach decided to defend his player. I get that he may have gone a bit overboard, but that's what you get with Leach. No filter. You get the good and the bad. Leach did lash out and there are Texas Tech fans that would prefer that he not do this, but you don't get that option with Leach. We've discussed this on DTN and I fall on the side that I'd rather have a coach absolutely defend his players, whether it be Michael Crabtree, Graham Harrell or Brandon Willliams than sit back on the sideline and let his players get beat up in the press.
- Leach vs. Sherman: This has obviously spiraled out of control. I think at this point, it would be best if every one just let it go, but up until today, neither party wanted to let the other have the last word. When Leach commented about TAMU's Stephen McGee, I don't think he was talking about Sherman I think he was either talking about Dennis Franchione and/or NFL scouts in general. Franchione: If McGee was an outstanding quarterback, then why didn't they utilize his talents other than as an option quarterback. NFL Scouts: All they every look at is measurables rather than results. I hate the fact that McGee has been dragged into this verbal spat, but the truth of the matter is that Leach again defended his player in Harrell, but he also opined on McGee, but I think he had the NFL and Fran in his sights.
System vs. Measurables: From the same piece I wrote linked above:
. . . The reason why Graham Harrell didn't get drafted is because, for whatever reason, the NFL scouts didn't like his measurables, whatever that is. If Matt Stafford had gone to Texas Tech rather than Georgia, there's no doubt in my mind that he still would have been picked #1 overall, despite the fact that he ran the spread offense. I have no idea if and when a Texas Tech quarterback gets drafted, possibly ever. If there was ever an instance where it might happen, it's going to be the next two year. The NFL is going to have a 6-4/220 quarterback with a strong arm in Taylor Potts. If there's ever a chance to get a guy in the NFL, it's Potts.
I would like to stress that just because Leach hasn't produced NFL success doesn't mean that he's not successful. Typically, Texas Tech doesn't get the guys with measurables, but that sure as hell doesn't mean that whoever he recruits can't play quarterback. I don't know that Seth Doege or Jacob Karam or Scotty Young will ever be drafted, hell I have no idea if they'll even been successful college quarterbacks. What I can say is that Leach has shown a propensity to make seemingly lowly rated quarterback prospects into collegiate winners. I have idea as to the star rating for guys like Kingsbury, Cumbie, Symons, or Hodges, but I don't think that it's so crazy to think that these guys weren't going to stick on an NFL roster.
It seems as if the elite programs typically get quarterbacks with those measurables, but that doesn't mean that there aren't guys who are 6-0 or 6-2 that maybe weigh 190 with pretty good arms and an extreme ability to quckly read a defense can't or shouldn't play college football.
Ask any Missouri or Kansas fan if they would trade Chase Daniel or Todd Reesing for Kansas State's Josh Freeman (apologies to BOTC).
I think most of us realize, and trust me when I say that there are plenty of Texas Tech fans that have a similar love/hate relationship with Leach. King is not alone in his stance, I can assure him of that, but he's damned good at what he does