Mike Leach trashed the SEC, and he couldn't be more wrong
Whenever reporters are looking for a good quote, Washington State coach Mike Leach is more than happy to provide it.
In his latest controversial statement, he trashed the SEC, saying the conference isn’t special in a story about incoming Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo.
According to The Clarion-Ledger, Longo was inspired by Leach’s Kentucky offense back in 1997 and 1998 and based much of his style around that.
However, Longo’s jump from Sam Houston State to Ole Miss has many wondering if his schemes will translate into the best defensive conference in college football.
Leach, interviewed for the story, took an opportunity to say the SEC isn’t special and football is football no matter where you play it:
“I’ve got bad news for all these levels people,” Leach said. “Your level isn’t special, your conference isn’t special. All this ‘different level this, different level that.’ That’s crazy.
“How is it better? Somebody coaches better athletes, somehow they morph into something smarter? That’s crazy. I mean, you still have problems, you still have 11 parts you can wiggle around to counter the other 11 parts.”
How is it better? Well, for starters, the SEC currently sports six of the top 10 overall 2017 recruiting classes, including No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia. So, yes, the SEC does have better athletes.
Also, college football is ultimately a ranked sport, and from 2006 to 2012, the SEC won seven-straight national championships to earn the undisputed No. 1 end-of-season ranking. In the College Football Playoff era, Alabama is the only school to have qualified for each of the three tournaments.
Though Longo will now be working with better athletes, including promising young QB Shea Patterson, he’ll also be scheming against some of the country’s best defenses, including Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide powerhouse.
Longo’s accomplishments at Sam Houston State, which included putting together the No. 1 FCS offense the past two seasons, should be celebrated, but it’s dangerous to assume he’ll come in and have immediate success with the Rebels.
He could certainly turn into a fine coach and parlay his success into a head-coaching job, but that won’t be easy.
After all, the SEC is a lot different than it was in 1997 and 1998 when Leach was with the Wildcats.