We all know who Mike Leach is.
He’s the college football air-raid offense guy. He’s the oddball coach who loves learning about pirates and got fired from Texas Tech because, well, he sent a certain national TV college football analyst’s son to a shed during practice because he was angry at him.
Leach has found a home at Washington State, though, and is always a good interview. He’s also extremely smart. Some view Leach as sort of a joke – I mean he does say some weird stuff, but if you can get past his quirks on the outside, you’ll find he’s an extremely intelligent football mind. They don’t call him the Mad Scientist for nothing.
Anyway, he was interviewed for an interesting article on ESPN.com named “How tight ends have changed offenses in CFB” by Sam Kahn Jr.
The article states how tight ends have evolved just like college offenses have. Twenty years ago, tight ends were mainly used to block. But now, they’re used for much more than that. While they still are the same size (mostly), they’re asked to line up outside as a receiver to create mismatches on either safeties or linebackers. In other words, they could be faster than a linebacker and bigger than a safety. But finding players that are big enough, strong enough and fast enough isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
Here’s Leach’s first quote about the modern-day tight end:
“Tight ends are a blast if you have them,” Leach said. “If you have a true tight end – and I mean a true tight end – then life is good. God didn’t make very many true tight ends. Just go to the mall and the big long-armed guys you see at the mall – you’ll see a couple, but most of them can’t run fast and those that can probably can’t catch. So there’s not very many of them.”
At Washington State, Leach said he usually takes tight-end bodies and turns them into defensive ends. He said some coaches don’t do that.
“You desperately want that big-body guy that can block but also catch balls and is big enough that he’s a mismatch on the strong safety but nifty enough that he’s a better athlete than the linebacker,” Leach said. “So you’re constantly looking for those guys and the trouble is, as you’re sitting there pushing it too far, pretty soon you end up playing the third-team guard that can sort of catch, but all he is the third-team guard. Well if he’s the third-team guard, what business does he have playing tight end? In my opinion, none.”
What I like and respect about Leach is he’s honest. He tells it like it is, most of the time. More football coaches need to do that. After watching Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, I wish that conference would have a coach like Leach to spice things up a bit, you know?
Sure, PJ Fleck looks and sounds like he had five Mountain Dews at 7 a.m. every morning, but he still says everything you’d expect a college coach to say. And yeah, we’re all getting the full Jim-Harbaugh experience, but Leach is just a different cat.
Need more guys like him.
Have a nice Friday.