It's the line that Leach and Mangino crossed.
'They're just trying to get you better'
While the dismissal of both coaches surprised many, the inside details caused the biggest shock waves.
According to an affidavit from Texas Tech head trainer Steve Pincock, wide receiver Adam James suffered a mild concussion during practice leading up to Texas Tech's bowl game. Leach ordered him to spend the next practice standing in a darkened, windowless storage shed. A student trainer was assigned to stand outside the door and check regularly on James. The next practice, the coach sequestered the player in a similarly darkened interview room.
While Leach's refusal to apologize for his actions, as well as a simmering spat with some school leaders, reportedly contributed to his ouster, it's likely he would still be the Red Raider coach had he not treated James that way.
Mangino was fired at Kansas after numerous players came forward with stories of abuse, much of which was verbal. One former player said last winter that the coach would say "personal, hurtful, embarrassing things in front of people" about some players.
According to media reports, the player remembered a teammate who had confided in the team that his father was an alcoholic but that he dreamed of a better life and becoming a lawyer. According to a couple of the players' teammates, one day in front of the entire team, Mangino said to the player, "Are you going to be a lawyer or do you want to become an alcoholic like your dad?"
At both Kansas and Texas Tech, there were players who said they believed the coaches' antics weren't much worse what most college football players experienced.
Several players at Big 12 football media days would disagree.
"I've never experienced that with my coaches," Iowa State defensive end Rashawn Parker said, "and I'm thankful for that."
Paul said, "I've never seen anybody... be belittled as a man."
Echoing those sentiments, Weeden was reminded of a practice when he was at Edmond Santa Fe High School. He was having a bad day, and then-coach Dan Cocannouer was riding him.
"Made me feel like I was this small," said Weeden, holding his fingers only a couple inches apart.
The quarterback pulled out of his funk toward the end of practice, and the coach patted him on the backside and told him how proud he was of him.
"That probably always will stick with me," Weeden said. "If I was a coach, that's the perspective I would take. You've got to know when to ride guys but then again congratulate them."
Players say they can take whatever coaches dish out as long as it doesn't cross the line into being personal. They have the ability to handle it. They have thick skin.
"What goes on between the lines on the football field, it's not personal," Beal said. "They're just trying to get you better.
"You're just going to have to take it."