Mississippi State football: This is Leach's offense, love it or leave it
Mike Leach will always be Mike Leach. That will stay true until the day he dies.
The Mississippi State head coach has his plan for a football game. That’s fine. It has brought him a lot of success at both Texas Tech and Washington State, two of the hardest places to win in the Power Five.
So when a Bulldogs quarterback throws for 440 yards on on 45-of-61 passing for three touchdowns and no interceptions but MSU still loses its biggest rivalry game, it is a pill fans have to take.
Yet you have to wonder why Mississippi State didn’t try to run the ball to offset the pressure on Will Rogers on Saturday in the Egg Bowl against Mississippi. Ten total rushes between your two running backs is not even trying to establish a solid running game. And that came against one of the worst rush defenses in the nation (the Rebels are worst in the SEC at 220 yards allowed per game).
Dillon Johnson got 6 carries. Jo’Quavious Marks had 4. That was it. We know running isn’t a strength for Mississippi State, but the team could have at least given it a chance.
Instead, the outcome of the game depended on the young Rogers who, for the second straight week, performed well. He took care of the ball, didn’t make any mistakes, but … well, you have to wonder how much more effective he would be if he had a running game.
No longer would opposing defensive lines pin their ears back. Linebackers would have to think about cheating toward the line of scrimmage in case of a draw or rush. This would open the field.
But this is a Leach offense and this is Leach. I have spent time with the man. I like the man. He is a smart offensive-minded coach who has revolutionized the game of football for several programs. To ask him to change would be inane. It won’t happen. To ask him to focus on the run, which he has done in a few games in the past, would go against his strategy.
Maybe running more would be the best thing for now, but he is thinking of the future, of next season when some more pieces are in place.
So this is what Mississippi State is going to be right now. The Bulldogs are going to live and die by the arm of the quarterback.
When Leach gets the right player in there, if it is Rogers or not, SEC defensive coordinators are going to spend weeks trying to come up with a solution to MSU’s offense. It just isn’t happening this year.
Give Leach time, though, and things will be much different. They have to be.