ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill says Mike Leach needs to adapt Mississippi State's offense to find success in the SEC
Time to mix things up in Starkville?
That’s the way ESPN college football analyst Tom Luginbill sees things as Mississippi State’s offense is coming off a shutout performance and has only scored a total of seven points in its three most recent games. (Mississippi State’s special teams scored a safety against Kentucky, while the defense had a pick six in the Texas A&M game).
During a recent appearance on Mississippi based radio show “Out of Bounds” hosted by Bo Bounds, Luginbill was asked if Mike Leach needs better players to execute his offense or does the Mississippi State coach need to adjust his system for it to have success in the SEC.
“He absolutely needs to motify it and it goes back to what I’ve said to you since the moment he was hired,” Luginbill said on the show. “I said, watch out, because now you are in a line of scrimmage league with superior athletes on defense and if you are not going to play with a tight end, you are not going to run the football, you aren’t going to get more creative with how to move the ball — you can keep all the Air Raid pass concepts. You made a great point in your lead up right there, there are various iterations out there (of the Air Raid). Well, guess what the other iterations are doing? They are running the football.”
Luginbill gave perhaps the best example of what Leach should be running at Mississippi State by pointing toward Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma program. If you are unaware, Riley learned the Air Raid offense by coaching for Leach for many years.
“Lincoln Riley, I’ve got Oklahoma this week, you watch them, they are a power run team with Air Raid pass concepts,” Luginbill added. “You look at West Virginia, same thing under Neal Brown, Dana Holgorsen – same thing. Art Briles was really the one that started it at Baylor when he started running the ball like crazy.”
So far this season, Mississippi State has a total of 151 rushing yards after playing five games.
“So everyone has figured out they aren’t going to attempt to run the ball so let’s just rush three, drop eight, force them to throw the checkdowns and come up and tackle them,” Luginbill continued. “Don’t give up any of the intermediate and deep stuff and Mississippi State’s not patient enough and hasn’t been efficient enough at the quarterback spot and, at times, I don’t care who your offensive line is, if you have five guys to block three and you are giving up sacks, that’s a real problem. So yes, he has to adapt.”
The big question now is whether after 19 seasons of being a head coach, is Leach willing to adapt his offense or will he continue to do what he’s always done?