By WILL BERDINE
As you sometimes see on television, many college football coaches are often angry, red-faced and constantly yelling at their players. Mike Leach is one of those coaches, but he has a unique philosophy. Leach started coaching football in the late seventies as the offensive coordinator at Kansas State University. He then went on to coach at different colleges such as Texas Tech University, where he primed successful National Football League (NFL) football players, such as Michael Crabtree of the San Francisco 49ers and Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos.
You could say that Mike Leach guided these athletes to successfully play in the NFL. Mike Leach is currently the head coach of the Washington State University football team, and he has a bit of a different approach than most coaches. When Mike recruits players, he does not try to look for the biggest 320-pound defensive lineman or the fastest receiver. He considers the overall athlete and tries to look for a spark in his playing to determine if he will be successful.
The way that Mike Leach finds this spark in players is based on his experience of working with and evaluating many different types of football players and athletes in different situations. He follows his gut instinct when deciding whether or not the athlete will be successful in his football program. In an interview with Men’s Journal about his first day with Wes Welker, Leach said, “I remember that first day: there were some great college recruits – they’d been all-conference, all-state – and then you got this short guy that’s just got this look in his eye, and he’s not afraid of anything. Some of them were very unsure of themselves, because this is big-time college football. Not Wes Welker.”
Even the way that Leach runs his practices is different from that of most coaches. He likes to experiment with the number of players on the field at a time and is more conservative in plays. For example, instead of always going for deep passes or mixing the plays up, he like to keep them simple with more short passes to his slot receivers or tight ends.
Mike Leach’s recruiting method is better than those of other college football coaches, and his experience in the game and holistic review of individual players makes his football philosophy stand out.