I’m still trying to lock down my official opinion of Mike Leach. Overall, I think it’s generally positive. Yeah, he allegedly kidnapped and tortured some player who defied him (or something to that effect or another), so I guess that would fall under his coaching umbrella (to say nothing of his personal demeanor & personality, which I understand to be batshit crazy), but as a play-caller and a leader of men who score a shitload of points, I would say he’s pretty impressive.
But, I’ll say this without equivocation: I would much rather have Sark on my side than Leach.
Sark strikes me as more of a full-fledged head coach. Leach strikes me as a sometimes-dominant offensive coordinator (sort of a Mike Martz type). I feel like Sark could take any type of offensive talent and mold him into a winner; whereas I feel like Leach requires a very-specific type of talent to fit into his system, otherwise he’s going to sputter and flail (again, like Mike Martz). Just looking at Keith Price alone, you’d think Sark is a quality educator of the game of football; but, look at what he accomplished in two seasons with Jake Locker and you can see: Sark is like some kind of miracle worker! He helped mold the kid into an 8th overall draft pick! He’s currently running with Price, taking him from obscurity to Pac-12 dominance!
It’ll be interesting to compare the two in a few years. Who has more Pros playing in the NFL? Who has more QUALITY Pros?
Are you a quarterback and want to play in the NFL? Come play for Coach Sark. He’s already helped mold two Top 10 draft picks. How many has Leach had even get DRAFTED, let alone stick? You could argue that the numbers his receivers will put up will give him an advantage with the wideouts, but again: would you rather play for a Pro Style offense that will better prepare you for the next level? Or, would you rather play for a gimicky offense that generates gaudy numbers and no substance?
Honestly, I don’t know if most high schoolers are capable of distinguishing the two. You gotta think quite a few of them will pick gaudy over substance. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Wins & Losses. I mean, you gotta play for this school for 3-4 years; do you want to be a quality player on a bad team, or do you want to contend for conference championships?
In that regard, you gotta think UW has the advantage, but the proof will be played out on the field.
Leach isn’t exactly inheriting the same team Paul Wulff inherited; he’s not saddled with a roster full of scrubs. He not only has the advantage of taking over a team on the cusp of winning more games than they lose, but he’s got the cache of being a big-name head coach, which will instantly generate the kind of positive buzz Paul Wulff never could’ve possibly dreamed of.
On the one hand, as a Husky fan, I’ll miss having the “Whipping Boys of the East” to kick around. On the other hand, as a football fan, it’ll certainly be more interesting to have a direct rival that’s not completely inept. A direct rival that can grow as we grow, from the depths of 2008 to an infinite world of possibility. Let’s face it, Oregon can’t dodge sanctions forever. Eventually, the NCAA will catch them on something big, and then it’ll be one of the Washington teams ready to step up and claim our rightful throne.
I anticipate that it’ll be UW regardless of who’s coaching WSU. But, either way, it’ll be a series of more-satisfying victories in these upcoming Apple Cups when we’re beating a team that’s expecting greatness as opposed to dreading utter futility.
So, bring on the Mike Leach Era! You don’t scare me! Besides, he strikes me as the type of guy who will jump ship at the first sign of greener pastures.