The bowl season is coming to an end and that means it's time for teams all over the nation to start the coaching carousel. Our beloved Cowboys are no different as Dana Holgorsen has moved on to West Virginia taking with him running backs coach, Robert Gillespie. As always, the rumors and speculatory arguments are flying as to who should/will take over the offensive reins now that the offensive coordinator position is open. The one candidate that is catching everybody's eye and interest is none other than former Texas Tech head coach, Mike Leach.
Many Cowboy fans find themselves peeing their pants with excitement at the notion that this could come true. Some are already designing t-shirts and developing pirate-themed slogans with hope that an announcement of his arrival is right around the corner. Well, I am here to tell you to put away your plastic sword and to take off that ridiculous eye patch that you painted orange. Mike Leach is not the man OSU needs at Offensive Coordinator. Not even close.
Click the jump and I'll tell you why.
First of all, let's start with all of his baggage. Leach is in the middle of TWO major lawsuits right now. One with Texas Tech and one with ESPN. Any offensive coordinator has enough on their hands. Trying to recruit, watching game film, participating in coaches' meetings, and helping develop players on an every day basis is tough enough. Try throwing in lawsuits against one of the largest media powers in the world and a Division One power conference school. And just for argument's sake, let's say that his personal matters do not interfere with his work. Let's say he is still fully able to concentrate on being an offensive coordinator and the duties that come with it. What about everybody else that has to answer questions about him and his legal issues? The athletic department, the coaches, and especially the players. Does anyone realistically think that this won't be a distraction to anybody at all? Really? Think about how many questions the players had to answer about Holgorsen leaving for West Virginia and multiply it by ten. That's what his hiring will bring.
Second of all, what does Mike Leach bring to the table? If I'm not mistaken, this is the same Mike Leach that many OSU fans said ran a gimmicky offense while at Texas Tech. Am I to assume that the viewpoint has totally changed since he is now an OC prospect for OSU? Many will say that in order to keep the Holgorsen offense going at full steam, Mike Leach is an obvious choice. One big problem: The Holgorsen offense is NOWHERE NEAR the same as the Leach offense. Sure, they both aren't shy about throwing the ball but that is where the similarities stop.
Let's start with the obvious. The running game. I don't think it is any secret that Mike Leach does not like to run the ball. Holgorsen, on the other hand, embraced it. Not only did he embrace it, he created formations specialized for it (The Diamond). And I really hope nobody is out there saying that Mike Leach didn't have the talent at running back because he absolutely did. In fact, he had 4 star guys in the backfield the last few years he was at Texas Tech. He simply didn't develop them. Even more than that, his system wouldn't allow them to develop. Look no further than the offensive line splits. Mike Leach had his line sometimes spread out as far as hash mark to hash mark. While that may help a short passing game, it all but kills the running game. On the contrary, OSU offensive line coach Joe Wickline was asked how much he had to adjust his line schemes when Holgorsen came in. His answer: Not one bit. The line was built to run block and stayed that way. As a result, Kendall Hunter became an All-American for the second time in his career and the offense stayed relatively balanced.
The point is that bringing Mike Leach in to run his system does not bring continuity to the offense that is currently in place. If anything, it diminishes it. Wave goodbye to passes thrown 15-30 yards down the field and any type of consistent running attack and instead, say hello to constant passes into the flat and endless wide receiver screens.
Third, what exactly has Mike Leach accomplished that makes him such a worthy candidate? Where did he take Texas Tech that OSU hasn't already been? He's beaten OU. So what? What did that get him? He also lost to a lot of Big 12 teams he most likely shouldn't have in those same years. Many would say his lack of success had to do with his horrible defense. Well why do you think they were so bad? If anyone wants to see what happens to your defense when you have a fast paced offense, look no further than our own OSU team this last year. When the offense is off the field in under two minutes due to a score or inability to move the chains, the defense is going to wear out. Bringing Leach on board will only make this worse. OSU does not need to move the ball faster. If anything, they need to slow down and give the defense a rest. Mike Leach has proven he will not do so.
Finally, how does Mike Leach help the program long term? I'm telling everyone right now if he comes on board it will be a one year deal and then he is gone. The second he improves his image and a school is willing to take a chance on him as a head coach, he is out. Then what? Start all over...again? Four offensive coordinators in four years? Is that the sign of a stable program? I realize that other schools wanting to hire away your staff is a good thing--but at what cost? Holgorsen left and took Coach Gillespie with him. Gillespie was a player's coach and one hell of a recruiter. Who would Leach take with him? Recruits want to know that the coach that is asking them to commit is going to be there to help them develop into what they promised the recruit they could be. How long before other schools start negatively recruiting against OSU by calling them the "Rent-A-Coach" school of the Big 12?
The overall point is that there are better options out there for OSU. They do not need a celebrity name like Mike Leach in order to continue to have success on offense. Along with that, OSU fans need to get over their crush on Mike Leach and all the "crazy/cool" stuff he says and does. Realize that there is a lot more negative than positive that surrounds him both on and off the field. Do I love Mike Leach? Hell yeah. I think he is hilarious. Does that mean I want him on staff at OSU? No way, no how. Not ever.