WSU’s football savior?

Mike Leach may not win a lot of games at WSU, but his teams will be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Seeing the Leach mania today, I remembered that Michael Lewis wrote a great profile of him years ago for the NYT Magazine:

But when [NFL coach Jim] Schwartz studied videotape of the Texas Tech offense, what he saw unsettled him. The offensive linemen positioned themselves between three and six feet apart – on extreme occasions, the five linemen stretched a good 15 yards across the field. At times it was difficult to tell the linemen from the receivers. Strictly speaking, they were not a line at all, just a row of dots. “The offensive line splits – you look at them, and you’re just shocked,” Schwartz said. “It scares people to see splits that are that wide.”

The big gaps between the linemen made the quarterback seem more vulnerable – some defenders could seemingly run right between the blockers – but he wasn’t. Stretching out the offensive line stretched out the defensive line too, forcing the most ferocious pass rushers several yards farther from the quarterback. It also opened up wide passing lanes through which even a short quarterback could see the whole field clearly. Leach spread out his receivers and backs too. The look was more flag than tackle football: a truly fantastic number of players racing around trying to catch passes on every play, and a quarterback surprisingly able to keep an eye on all of them.

Of note: A few weeks after Lewis’s piece ran, Alabama beat Leach’s Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.


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