Former Texas Tech University head coach Mike Leach stopped by Jets practice today.
Leach, who led the Red Raiders to 84 wins in 10 seasons and had a quarterback pace the nation in passing eight of those years, likes the camp environment Jets head coach Rex Ryan has created in upstate New York.
"One thing that’s impressed me about this camp out here, and I’ve been to a lot of NFL camps over the years, is just the enthusiasm of the players and the coaches and everybody," he said. "They’re having fun being here and they’re having fun playing here, which is not always the case. Sometimes it’s like going to work, but not here."
"I like the way Rex plays defense, always have. They’re kind of like we are on offense. We’re trying to get the ball in as many people’s hands as possible and they’re trying to hit the quarterback with as many people as possible," Leach said. "So I think it’s a shared philosophy, different side of the ball. I’m excited to see what they’re doing and I’m watching defense here to see what I can pick up. The Jets have been great as far as embracing me and letting me come out and watch."
I might be the only person here excited by this news, but I've always been a big fan of Leach's. He has a very unique story. He's not a football lifer. He is a guy who decided he wanted to coach football after getting a law degree. Leach built a unique offensive system, known as the Air Raid. It relies on an overwhelming amount of passing and five receivers going out on a pattern on virtually every play. The system is very simple. The playbook is small. It did not appear that way, however, because Leach incorporated an incredible amount of exotic formations with cool names like the Ninja. He produced incredibly prolific offenses wherever he went.
His offenses allowed Texas Tech stand toe to toe with the big boys of college football like Texas and Oklahoma despite not having anywhere close to the same budget, facilities, or recruiting capabilities. He kept plugging in unremarkable quarterback after unremarkable quarterback like former Jet Kliff Kingsbury and continued to produce staggering offensive results. (He did produce some really good receivers like Wes Welker and Michael Crabtree, though.)
Leach's lack of formal background in football didn't tie him to conventional wisdom. He created a successful outside the box offense. These are the guys who find success. I think the comparison to Rex Ryan is apt. Rex has spent his whole life around the game, but he's also not afraid to innovate and come up with creative, wild ideas that work. Leach was fired last year after a bizarre episode where a player alleged abuse after a head injury. Leach denied wrongdoing The facts still aren't really known.A lot of Texas Tech fans think the university had a quick trigger and used this unverified allegation as an excuse because they just didn't like the guy after contentious contract negotiations.
Even though his system seems gimmicky, some people think it could work in the NFL. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is one. It's not crazy to think it might given the way the league is incorporating to spread passing attacks. It allowed Texas Tech teams to compete against teams with vastly superior talent. Why couldn't a team with NFL talent play with it? Perhaps there would need to be more of a committment to the run and perhaps more willingness to play with extra blockers at times, but the run and shoot got a team to within a game of the Super Bowl in the 1990's.
Anyway, that's my little tangent on Leach. I'd love to see the Jets make him an offensive consultant. He's a genius when it comes to X's and O's