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The wonderful world of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach

By John Helsley, Staff Writer Published: November 13, 2009
STILLWATER – Quiz time. Which current college football coach spewed this rambling bit of riotous material:

"Defensively, the entire first half, we got hit in the mouth and acted like somebody took our lunch money and all we wanted to do was have pouty expressions on our face until someone daubed our little tears off and made us (expletive) feel better.

"Then we’d go out there and try harder once our mommies told us we were OK.”

Sure, too easy. Who else, but Mike Leach?

Who else would dare?

Still, this rant ranks as a hidden gem in the Leach archives. Hidden because of "The Rant,” as it is known around these parts.

Seldom is Leach upstaged. But as he was entertaining reporters in a makeshift interview scrum inside Gallagher-Iba Arena two years ago, even dropping an f-bomb for the cameras, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy was building a YouTube following with his grown-man declaration.

And for both programs, it marked a watershed moment.

Oklahoma State parlayed that win over Tech into a 20-9 record since.

Leach used that defeat, punctuated by 611 yards surrendered, to fire defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich the next day, a move considered key to improved play since.

More from that lively postgame:

"As coaches, you put pressure on yourself to improve, because ultimately the blame lies there,” Leach said. "Anybody that’s not on board, you get rid of them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a player or a coach or somebody in the background… if they’re not on board, you get rid of them.”

Ridding himself of Setencich, Leach turned to assistant Ruffin McNeil for an overhaul of the defensive identity. While the Red Raiders haven’t become a dominant defense, they have been the difference in some games. And they’re clearly more aggressive, with 60 sacks since the start of last season, including 30 already this year to rank tied for third nationally in sacks per game.

Now Leach is set to return to Boone Pickens Stadium, with a better defense.

And no shortage of fresh material.

Since he last came to town, Leach has engaged in a very public contract flap with athletic director Gerald Myers; continued his study as a "piratetologist”; offered dating tips; done local weather in Lubbock; taken continued shots at Texas A&M and even former Aggies quarterback Stephen McGee; busted several of his players for being on Twitter — and been busted back; made a guest appearance on "Friday Night Lights”; and in a fit of political incorrectness, threw "fat little girlfriends” under the bus as game-day distractions.

This season has provided a rare test for Leach on the field, with injuries and inconsistencies leading him to use three different starting quarterbacks.

Texas Tech at OSU
→When: 7 p.m. Saturday

→Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater

→TV: KOCO-5 (Cox 8)

→Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1


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