John Blanchette: Now Mike Leach can become Mississippi State’s Starkville reality – Sports and Weather Right Now

Wonder if the folks at Mississippi State will enjoy discovering that their new coach considers the Egg Bowl to be just another game?

Probably not.

But heres what they will enjoy:

Here? Were due for a breather.

He made football at Wazzu fun again, but eight years of the full, rich spectacle that is Mike Leach was just about enough.

Now its Mississippi States turn.

Leachs leap to the Southeastern Conference on Thursday was greeted with polar reactions: sighs of relief from those spent by Leachs cloddish public turns and the hand-wringing of partisans convinced that no replacement can do what hes recently done 43 wins in five years, bowl after bowl, that GameDay business. As usual, the latter din drowned out the former.

So certain are they of impending apocalypse that they arent likely to be comforted even by WSU athletic director Pat Chuns rosy view:

I think this is one of the best jobs in college football in what Mike Leach has left us, Chun insisted. When you look at the total package relative to the league, what we have in place, well get the right person.

If thats the case, some might ask, then why did Leach leave?

Well, hes wanted out for several years, hasnt he? At least hes had his agent, Gary OHagan, shopping his name, and he would have been the coach at Tennessee this past season had the school president not beheaded his athletic director in midoffer. Between that unrequited romance and no more Gardner Minshew mania, its no surprise that Leach seemed less enchanted this season.

Now he seeks enchantment in Starkville, 2,000 miles closer to Key West, where he holes up for R&R, and to grandchildren. Its in the heart of football country and a recruiting hothouse. Theres the professional challenge of testing himself in the SEC, and the opportunity to neener-neener those who maintain the Air Raid will be in for turbulence with regular exposure to college footballs best division.

And theres the distinct possibility Leach himself felt hed maxed out his Wazzu portfolio that six-win seasons would be more the norm than the giddy 11-2 high of 2018.

His tired post-Apple Cup harrumphs about Washingtons superior recruiting hauls each year suggested as much. And if some of the leagues traditional powers ever get out of their own way, there would be more of that coming.

Nevertheless, he got the Cougars out of their own way, and in remarkable fashion.

The program had nine wins in the four years before his arrival. He managed that in two with many more to come.

And he had immense help that no previous Washington State coach could imagine. State-of-the-art facilities. Squishy nonconference scheduling devoid of Power 5 ogres. Resources for support personnel that help the win total and the team GPA. And a sport so drunk on bowl games that it only takes six wins to get Leach his postseason bonus.

WSU stepped up and tumbled into unconscionable debt doing so. Leach delivered well, except for the hiccups against FCS teams, some unsightly bowl flops and his no-Plan B approach to the Apple Cup that defied reason and birthed the same blowout loss every year. This will test the Hail Staters who cant bear to lose to Ole Miss.

Still, Leach filled the stadium and was national coach of the year in 2018, the second in WSU history both men eventually scooped up by the SEC. At least Leach had the sense to sign his new contract on Day 1.

And those who got such a bang out of him eviscerating his own players and doing his Irwin Corey shtick on all subjects can still find the old highlights and new material from Mississippi on social media.

When the noise dies down, the Leach era will be hailed with few caveats the way time and distance mellow most history. Now the pressure is on to find the right replacement, but Chun is right: Theres no reason the next coach cant win six to eight games a year, too, and be in position for the occasional spike.

And maybe even upset the Huskies once in a while.

Visit link:
John Blanchette: Now Mike Leach can become Mississippi State's Starkville reality - Sports and Weather Right Now

Related Post

Comments are closed.