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Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

Leach has ranted, too

As Gundy was exploding, Tech’s coach was having his own tirade

September 27, 2007

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Texas Tech coach Mike Leach talks with an official in the second quarter of the Red Raiders' loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater, Okla. Leach has had a few notable rants to the press during his Tech tenure.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach talks with an official in the second quarter of the Red Raiders' loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater, Okla. Leach has had a few notable rants to the press during his Tech tenure.

— While Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was angrily berating a newspaper columnist in an outburst that has become an Internet video favorite across the country, a lesser post-game rant was also going on not far away.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, whose Red Raiders had just lost 49-45 at Oklahoma State, chastised his team's effort.

"It was pitiful, it was pitiful. It was flat-out pitiful," Leach said. "We're some vaunted offense so we're going to sit here with our arms folded. Oh well, we'll have three lackadaisical plays and then we'll punt and we'll make it the defense's problem."

It wasn't the first time Leach blew up after a Tech loss in which he felt his team underperformed.

The Tech loss to the Cowboys came despite 718 total yards - two Tech receivers tallied more than 200 yards each - by Tech's pass-happy offense.

Tech scored only 10 second-half points and its defense allowed three Cowboys running backs more than 100 yards each in the Red Raiders first loss in a conference opener since 2001, Leach's second season in Lubbock.

A day after the loss, Leach met with his defensive coordinator, Lyle Setencich, who resigned a few hours later.

Graham Harrell, a second-year starter who's leading the nation in passing with 19 touchdowns and 1,963 yards through four games, said he's seen Leach go ballistic before.

"Whatever he thinks he needs to do to get us going is what he does," said Harrell, who had the fourth-best passing game in major college football history with 646 yards against Oklahoma State. "It usually works and he's had success in the past doing what he does, so I don't think I can really argue with it."

What's Leach's breaking point?

"Anytime there's bad effort, that's the low benchmark," Leach said earlier this week. "That's the worst thing ever."

Leach, whose most recent tirade Saturday was easily overshadowed by Gundy's tongue-lashing aimed at a columnist, doesn't go on rants at the rate his quarterbacks complete passes but he's done it on at least four other occasions in the past five seasons.

His verbal attacks always come after a loss. Leach unloaded after a 12-3 loss at No. 20 TCU last year; he chastised players three seasons ago for a 51-21 drubbing at home at the hands of then-No. 5 Texas; he took the team to task after Missouri thrashed Tech 62-31 in Columbia in 2003 and in 2002 after Colorado beat Tech 37-13 in Boulder.

Leach doesn't mince his words, either. He's used stinging phrases like "prima donna pretty boys," "sorriest offensive effort," "total collapse," and "not tough enough."

Often, he's said players pay too much attention to how they're portrayed by the media, rather than focusing on what happens in practice and during games. After a 30-point loss to Texas in 2004, Leach severely restricted media access to players after practices and began naming players who could participate in Monday press availabilities.

Harrell, who was picked to participate in Monday gathering of reporters, was asked if Leach might eventually tell players not to read newspapers or watch TV.

"He's already told us," Harrell said.

Leach was upset by the offense's paltry scoring in the second half - but the defense took most of the heat. They gave up touchdowns on four consecutive series for the second time in three games. They allowed four touchdowns of more than 30 yards and allowed the Cowboys offense 610 total. Oklahoma State scored three touchdowns on possessions that lasted less than a minute, a trait Tech typically owns.

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