This much we know about what led to Texas Tech firing Mike Leach — it started with wide receiver Adam James being held out of practice because of a concussion. This much we know about the aftermath of this mess — no one comes out a winner. Beyond that, it gets murky. Did Leach confine James to a small, dark electrical closet? Lock him in the room? Have someone guard the door? Or was it not nearly so sinister? Depends on who you talk to, and even that’s not always so simple. Assistant Lincoln Riley was among a group of coaches and former players who sent letters of support for Leach to school administrators. He even contended in his letter that what James was doing was "his way of trying to ‘get back’ at us coaches,” but then late last week, Riley said James had his support. It’s difficult to find the truth in this whole mess, and the only way we’re ever going to know exactly what happened is if it ends up in court with players and coaches and administrators having to raise their right hands and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But that isn’t going to happen. Neither side wants their own dirty laundry aired in court, so any lawsuits that arise will likely be settled before anyone ever steps foot in a courtroom. So, while all of us outsiders are left to gossip and speculate and wonder what really happened, the two sides involved are trying to move forward. Tech is working to hire its next football coach while Leach is trying to find his next coaching job. My guess — Leach will have an easier time moving on than Texas Tech will. His career has been dealt a setback. There’s no doubt about that. He is no longer the rising star that he was even a year ago. Back then, his team had just derailed Texas’ national championship hopes and finished the regular season with a school-record 11 wins. He was a national coach of the year, a candidate to surely move on to another high-profile school at some point, a quirky and whacky personality who even lured the pressed-and-buttoned "60 Minutes” to lovely Lubbock to do a profile. The TV news show might want to come back and do another story, but it won’t be the off-the-cuff, what-a-nutty-guy feature that it did a year ago. Still, Leach will be quicker to recover than Tech. There are enough questions about what really happened that another school will hire Leach. Heck, one might do it before the end of the week. New Mexico has a coach it would like to show the door after he attacked and punched an assistant earlier this year. A coach who sends an injured player to the corner — or whatever Leach did — doesn’t seem so bad in Albuquerque. Leach would win at New Mexico a lot more than he would lose, and in a few years, another BCS school would hire him. The recovery at Texas Tech won’t be quite so easy. The Red Raiders need a coach who can soothe the feelings of recent weeks, who can unite a team that sounds divided, who can win back boosters who feel betrayed. Oh, and he needs to be able to win games, too. Tech needs to keep using Leach’s offensive system, or one similar to it. It isn’t going to be able to win football games by lining up and running over opponents. It needs a system that maximizes the talent of the players, and Leach’s high-flying, pass-happy offense did just that. Baylor coach and former Leach assistant Art Briles has a similar offensive philosophy. Ditto for Houston coach Kevin Sumlin and Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. No wonder all of those men have been mentioned as candidates at Texas Tech. Ruffin McNeill has said that he wants to continue using Leach’s system. The Red Raider defensive coordinator has served as the interim head coach since Leach’s firing, and he is lobbying to become the head coach permanently. Leading Tech to an Alamo Bowl victory against Michigan State was an impressive audition, but McNeill has other impressive lines on his resume. He’s seen within the program as a father figure. He’s known to promote a family-type atmosphere. He’s beloved by players. If having someone who can unify the program and help the healing, McNeill should be the guy. "I don’t know how it’s going to go because that’s not my business,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said of the Texas Tech coaching search, "but I think relationships, relationships players have with coaches, are key to winning.” They are even more important now at Texas Tech. This job is now about more than X’s and O’s. The new coach will have to deal with many issues that have nothing to do with football because this saga is going to affect the Red Raiders for months to come. The effects will linger, and the program will suffer. This much we know about the future for Texas Tech and its former coach — there are many difficult days ahead for both.