Let’s cut the formalities and just talk straight. Mike Leach is one weird dude. A strange ranger. An odd fellow. A law-degreed football coach who steps to the beat of a different drummer, and I don’t mean the percussion section of The Goin’ Band From Raiderland. You find a lot of eclectic people on a college campus. Just not in the football department, most certainly not in the head coach’s office and most absolutely certainly not in the head coach’s office at Texas Tech, where men are men and supposed to be tough ol’ Texans with raw bones and just a pinch between your cheek and gums. But there sits Leach, riding his roller blades down Lubbock’s wide streets or pontificating about pirates or eschewing punts on fourth-and-long from his own territory. And here also sits Leach: near the summit of college football. The Red Raiders are 9-0 and ranked No. 2 in the all-important BCS and hosting, for the second straight Saturday night, the sport’s game of the week, against Oklahoma State. So it’s time to praise Gerald Myers. Praise him and warn him. Myers is the Tech athletic director, a retired basketball man who had no pedigree in sniffing out good gridiron coaches but did so anyway. Myers brought Bobby Knight to Lubbock. Who knew the hiring of Leach would trump the General? Myers said he first knew of Leach at Kentucky, helping direct Hal Mumme’s spread offense. Then when Bob Stoops hired Leach at OU in 1999, and the Sooners started short-circuiting scoreboards, Myers’ interest zoomed. "I’m sitting there looking at OU scoring 50 points a game,” Myers said. "Everybody else in the league was playing power football. "Bob was a guy on everybody’s radar. For him to hire Mike, that said a lot about Mike ... but the thing that really caught our eye was scoring points.” Myers and his search committee looked at some interesting candidates, including then-Clemson offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez and ex-Auburn coach Terry Bowden. But Leach was their man. "We decided we were going to hire a throwing coach,” Myers said. Stroke of genius. Leach’s Tech offenses have become legend. But truth is, style of play have tended to overrate Leach’s offenses and underrated his defenses. Throw 70 passes a game, stop the clock every 10 seconds, and it’s hard to not score a bunch or allow a bunch. But this season is different. Tech’s defense has stiffened and its offense has not stumbled. The Red Raiders also play at Oklahoma on Nov. 22; they will play for the Big 12 title with a sweep and might get to KC with just one win over the Okies. Which presents Myers with a problem. In years past, he’s had a successful coach who was not particularly attractive to other schools. Football people didn’t necessarily care for Leach’s offense, and academic people didn’t necessarily care for his personality. "I think he’s an intelligent person and he’s a very good football coach and I know he likes pirates,” OSU coach Mike Gundy cracked this week. "One thing you have to appreciate about the guy is who he is. He’s a pretty interesting fellow.” Stoops jokingly tells people it’s better to be Leach’s boss than vice versa. That way, when it’s 10:30 p.m. and Leach starts talking about Geronimo, the head coach can wave and say, "Good night.” Myers won’t bite on the term "odd” to describe Leach. He uses "different.” Either way, it’s a turnoff to college presidents and boosters who think they know how a football coach should act. But success KO’s persona, every time. Big-time schools will want Leach now. The Washington and Auburn crowds that are or could be looking for a new coach. Myers will have to do some fast talking to keep Leach. Which could happen. Myers says a contract extension — which means big raise — is in the works, and Tech’s facilities have been hugely upgraded in recent years. Jones Stadium has got to be the most opulent structure between Dallas and Phoenix. Texas Tech has moved up the college football food chain, thanks to a coach who has no use for the mold. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080. Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.