Leach vs. Kelly: That Is The ?
Last week I was asked a question. Who was a bigger detriment to their program, Chip Kelly from Oregon or Washington State HC Mike Leach?
Without hesitation I answered Chip Kelly, and it’s not even close.
I should make myself abundantly clear, this has nothing to do with Chip Kelly the football coach. I don’t think anyone can really dispute that fact. In the 40 games since Kelly took over as head football coach for Mike Bellotti, his Oregon Ducks have won 34 of those games including the Rose Bowl this past January.
This isn’t about the potential rules violations that could be imposed on the football program for the ugly Willie Lyles incident (which also has touched the LSU Tigers, by the way).
No, this is about Chip Kelly being a player’s coach and the wrong kind of player’s coach for a major college football program.
He is not a disciplinarian.
He doesn’t believe in invoking stiff penalties on players for incidents that most coaches would find egregious.
So why does this make Chip Kelly a bad player’s coach?
It’s because at the end of the day Chip Kelly doesn’t care. The only thing Chip Kelly cares about is winning at all costs.
He possesses the NFL mindset of someone that has more important things to do than make an example of a grown man. The only time Kelly had to make an example of one of his players was when LaGarret Blount punched Boise State LB Bryon Hout.
He didn’t discipline Blount because he wanted to, but because he had no choice. Outside of that incident, his idea of discipline has been soft in terms of penalties.
This lax style of discipline is a sure fire way of derailing any college football program because the inmates run the asylum. Sooner rather than later, one player will step outside of the rules of the NCAA and because of Kelly’s approach, that student’s actions could unravel the entire program.
Much like Billy Joe Hobert did at the University of Washington, or much like what Reggie Bush did while at USC.
Mike Leach of my WSU Cougars on the other hand, has never been soft when it comes to disciplining student athletes that step outside the rules. Even at Texas Tech, Leach never suspended a player without just cause.
Some would consider Leach’s approach too stiff (and judging by the way things ended at Tech, there maybe some truth to that), but Leach has never been a guy who has ever needed to stutter.
He’s a straight shooter who says what he means and means what he says. Every player on his team understands what is expected from them in terms of personal conduct on and off the field.
If one steps out of line, Leach has no problem handing down a punishment suitable to the crime.
So how does that make Mike Leach more of a players coach compared to Chip Kelly?
At the end of the day, Mike Leach cares about every player in his locker room. From every starting player to every member of the scout team, Mike Leach has their best interest in mind.
There are certain things outside of the realm of football that Mike Leach stresses on his players that Chip Kelly falls by the wayside.
Point in case, Leach suspended (Sekope Kaufusi) and even kicked off the team (C.J. Mizell) key members of his defense this off-season for conduct detrimental to the football team.
These guys were slated to have big roles on the starting defensive unit this season but Leach wasn’t having any of it. He had the gumption to make a stiff example even if it meant his team had to suffer win-wise.
These kinds of things win locker rooms over because players can appreciate Leach’s straight forwardness. I’m not saying this was a weakness that Paul Wulff possessed , but Mike Leach will push these kids in ways that Paul Wulff couldn’t. This team will be better for that.
I fully expect Chip Kelly to move on to the NFL because in his mind he’s already there. He treats his players like professionals and he has already flirted with the idea.
Mike Leach is built for the college game and his leadership skills transcend more than just winning.
At the end of the day, three years from now, Washington State will be in a much better situation than Oregon could ever dream of, and it has nothing to do with winning.