Mike Gundy might soon need an offensive coordinator.
Someone who knows the Dana Holgorsen offense. Someone who can keep Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon excited enough to not test NFL draft waters. Someone with the offensive acumen to make 2011 the special Oklahoma State season it has every chance of being.
Mike Leach needs a job.
A fresh start that gets him out of the courtroom and back onto the gridiron. A chance to show college football that while cycling around Key West, he learned his lesson and can get along with superiors. A chance to remind decision-makers just what a difference-maker he is.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Leach to Stillwater. I'll even waive the finder's fee.
Holgorsen, mastermind of the offensive overhaul that produced a 10-2 season and the No. 14 national ranking, appears headed for West Virginia.
With him would go most of the institutional knowledge of the offense that was handed down from Hal Mumme to Leach to Holgorsen.
Is Gundy or one of his other lieutenants ready to maintain the Dana-mite offense? Nothing Gundy said during the season indicated such. Gundy for several years talked about Leach's offense, how few coaches really understood it or could commit to it. Gundy seemed to believe the same thing about Holgorsen's spread.
So why not offer Leach a haven? Why not make Stillwater a place of redemption, where Leach can restore his reputation damaged last year at Texas Tech?
â€œI'm willing to talk to anybody,â€ Leach said Tuesday from Key West, Fla. â€œJust have to see where it goes. Haven't thought about it a lot.
â€œYou never know. They had a great season this year, and they'll have a great season next.â€
OSU athletic director Mike Holder said Tuesday he would trust Gundy to hire whoever he wanted.
Sure, it wouldn't be a seamless transition.
Holgorsen's offense, refined at Houston U., veered off a little from Leach's. More run game. Narrower offensive splits.
Gundy and Leach would have to talk about that. Gundy likes to run the ball.
Not seamless. But smooth. Despite their differences, the Leach/Holgorsen offenses remain similar.
Leach's lack of a run game is overstated. His last two seasons at Tech, the Red Raiders averaged 19.8 and 21.2 run plays per game. That's a far cry from OSU's 33.3 runs per game this season, but it's a significant increase from Leach's earlier days in Lubbock.
Leach is no idiot. Eccentric, but no idiot. He knows OSU is Tailback U. Knows the Cowboys have a ground-game culture, even in 2010. Leach likes his offense, but he likes the end zone more.
Strategy could be worked out. But what about attitude?
Leach was fired from Tech because he had little interest in getting along with his bosses. The Adam James-in-a-shed scandal was subterfuge for the Tech brass, which was looking for any way to fire Leach without having to pay up.
Prediction: Leach will win his lawsuit against Tech. But winning over prospective employers will be more difficult.
Which is where OSU comes in. Come to Stillwater, show subordination to Gundy (and Holder, and Burns Hargis, and Boone Pickens), and Leach will be seen in a new light. Humble. Contrite. Willing to change. Willing to get along, with bosses and players alike.
And Gundy's the perfect man for the job. Secure enough in his own skin to hire a guy who four months ago some misguided souls wanted to bring in as head coach.
Gundy twice has handed over complete control to a new offensive coordinator (Larry Fedora, Holgorsen), to the point that Gundy turned student and sought to learn the offense like a novice.
What a bold move hiring Leach would be. It's understood that Leach would be a short-term solution; hard to imagine him lasting more than one year. If the OSU offense again piled up 500 yards and 45 points a game â€” and why wouldn't it? â€” Leach would be plucked away for a plum job.
By then, perhaps Gundy would have in place an anointed assistant ready to take over the Leach/Holgorsen offense.
And think of the excitement Leach would bring. With players, with fans, with media. Even with merchants, who would be assured of no Thursday night home games, since not even ESPN would bring Craig James (Adam's dad) to town for that throwdown.
If Weeden and Blackmon return to OSU, the Cowboys will be loaded for 2011. Put Leach into that mix, and watch Big 12 defensive coordinators go screaming into the night.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.