“Leach” Fear Factor
Is Mike Leach to WSU a good or bad fit for Husky Nation? Lots to ponder on that one isn’t there? Northwest Sports Beat broke the news last week that after the firing of Paul Wulff, the Washington State Cougars hired Mike Leach to replace him.
If you don’t know Mike Leach, he was most recently the head coach at Texas Tech 2 seasons ago that put together a stellar offense and challenged teams like Texas and Oklahoma each season.
With the Leach hiring, speculation begins as to the changes that will brought about in Pullman.
Most importantly, though, is the question being asked west of the Cascades: How will the move affect the Huskies?
Here are my top 5 ways the Mike Leach hiring at WSU will impact the Huskies.
5. Another Big Name To Deal With
The Pac-12 has seen some legendary coaches in it’s existence (Pac-10, really) and a lot of big names at once.
With the coaching carousel hitting the conference hard this season (Arizona’s Mike Stoops, UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel, ASU’s Dennis Erickson, and WSU’s Paul Wulff all fired), next season will be a big change from what we saw this year.
Big names are pouring into the conference.
Arizona went and got ex-West Virginia/ex-Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.
UCLA is talking about trying to bring in Boise State’s Chris Petersen or ex-Falcons/ex-Seahawks coach Jim Mora, Jr. And with the Mike Leach hiring, that just piles the people into the clown car that is the Pac-12.
The impact on Washington is the fact that it will draw more attention away from Steve Sarkisian and the Dawgs nationally and locally. With big names come more camera time and more mention from sportscaster and sports media outlets.
Mike Leach will draw that kind of attention, I am sure of it.
4. The Huskies Defense Will Need To Improve…FAST
I will further go into Mike Leach’s offensive exploits in my next point, but let’s just say he knows how to put together an offense.
This could spell trouble for the Huskies in which they were criticized mostly this season for their suspect defense.
The Huskies pass defense was pretty bad and if it continues playing at the level it currently is, a Mike Leach-run team could pick it apart in no time flat.
We all already expect the defense to improve next season either way, but this should be the added motivation they need to make sure of that change.
3. Bigger WSU Offense
Mike Leach is known as an offensive mastermind. In 2008, his last FULL season at Texas Tech, the 11-2 Red Raiders were ranked as high as #2 in the country behind QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree’s stellar season and careers at Texas Tech.
That season, the team put up 44.6 points per game, had 5,007 total yard passing and 6,434 yards of total offense on the season. Harrell threw for 4,747 yards, 41 touchdowns and 7 interceptions the whole season. Michael Crabtree had 1135 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns.
I know we’re talking about the Cougs here, but had you heard Texas Tech’s name in the mainstream media before Leach got there? The man can put together some lethal offenses with the right weapons.
If stellar offensive players are looking for a coach to fit their style, Leach would probably be a game changer for them. With a big name coach at WSU now, the Cougars could see some recruiting swings come their way.
The days of stealing all the blue chip prospects in-state may be over for the Huskies as Coach Sark is going to have competition in Pullman now.
Not to mention the extra money the Cougars have brought in since the announcement of Mike Leach’s hiring. In the 8 hours after the announcement, WSU received donations every 5 minutes or so and saw a spike in season ticket sales, including 750 of their insane $2,000 per seat club tickets.
More money brings better facilities and better players.
The wiser choice would still be UW, but I could see young, undeveloped minds heading to cowtown.
1. Why worry? It’s still the Cougs!
With all this talking up Mike Leach, one thing can get lost in all the commotion. That would be the fact that this is still the Washington State Cougars we’re talking about. To a Dawg fan, there is no coach or player on earth who could save them from themselves.
They are still the punching bag team in Pullman and will stay that way.
The Cougs will keep Couging it we all know it!