Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20, 2013
Back in the summer, a particular Cougar fan took issue with some commentary I had made regarding the high sack numbers the Cougar offense allowed last season. Simply stated, I thought that without a significant improvement in the performance level of the offensive line, the Cougars would still struggle in games against quality teams.

His argument was one that lacked knowledge of Mike Leach's history; passing more creates more sacks.

And, you know, if that had been spoken about a pro style offense that uses 3, 5 and 7 step drops from under center, I would have concurred. But Mike Leach's teams routinely threw the ball over 600 times in a season while giving up less than 15 sacks. His is a quick out, quick slant offense and should not allow sacks at the rate Washington State had allowed them.

The results thus far have borne out the truth within my original thoughts.

And now, other parts of Mike Leach's past are coming into play.

“That’s total (B.S.) that he threw the ball at the end of the game like he did,’’ Aliotti said. “And you can print that and you can send it to him, and he can comment, too. I think it’s low class and it’s (B.S.) to throw the ball when the game is completely over against our kids that are basically our scout team.’’

“Make sure he knows that,’’ Aliotti said. “Because I don’t really care.’’
The first salvo had been fired. Mike Leach has long rankled coaches around the country much like Jim Harbaugh did when he came to the Pac-12.

While I will not go so far as to call Leach's decision to pad the stats of Halliday against fourth stringers and walk-ons as "low class," I will say that it is bad coaching. And it is also a sign. Leach considers Pullman purgatory for sins he feels he did not commit; he's looking to leave and he is building his resume. He wants to gain back that "genius" moniker that had been bestowed upon him at Texas Tech and he wants a "bigger" job. USC? Texas? Who knows, but I think he wants out already.

The reality is, Halliday will be known for his record until the next time someone decides to throw a pass on virtually every play for whatever reasons. But do we really think this is a record he is going to brag about? I mean, 28 of the passes were thrown after the team trailed by 38 points with less than 7:00 left in the game. Of those, all were thrown against third and fourth string players. What exactly is there to be proud of? Nothing.

Well, there is something, I suppose. Since the Cougars cannot seem to challenge Oregon for an entire game, they can feel like at least they got under the skin of a coach. That and a dollar won't even get you a loaf of bread at the store.

Where the bad coaching comes in is simple: Leach had an opportunity to make the rest of his team better Saturday and he chose to pad Halliday's statistics. He had an opportunity to get some backups, guys who work just as hard as the starters, meaningful minutes in a conference game.

Those backups oftentimes do not get the opportunity to run their own playbook as they are frequently working on the scout team, mimicking someone else's playbook. Put them in the game, let them run your play book and then you have film of what their strengths and weaknesses are as players. You know; make them better.

He also did a disservice to his team by unnecessarily exposing those starters to injury. What if Halliday had torn an ACL on that last pass, would the stat have been worth it to the team? Of course not. On both counts, Leach failed his team.

Much like is his past, he would surely deny this, after all, he considers it normal to denigrate and berate young men whom he dislikes. When he had the opportunity to save his job simply by apologizing for the manner in which he had treated Adam James, he refused. He said he didn't do anything wrong.

The reality is that Adam James exaggerated much of what happened. Nonetheless, he was still treated improperly by Leach and Leach refused to accept accountability for his actions.

Last week he insulted his entire team. Where is the character development?

Coaches are paid to win games. College coaches are also tasked with developing character. On Saturday, Mike Leach did neither of those.


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