04-16-2009, 12:38 AM
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is a busy man these days. The Red Raiders are in the middle of spring practice. Trying to replace record-breaking players like Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell has made for an eventful few weeks for the Texas Tech coach.
Some might be surprised that Leach is even in Lubbock after his contract impasse with the school that was settled at the last minute. But direct negotiations between Leach and Tech chancellor Kent Hance resulted in a new deal that appears to have Tech's coach entrenched in the High Plains for the foreseeable future.
10 minutes with Texas Tech coach Mike Leach - Big 12 - ESPN (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/big12/0-8-237/10-minutes-with-Texas-Tech-coach-Mike-Leach.html)
04-21-2009, 12:30 AM
What have been your initial perceptions of Taylor Potts at quarterback?
ML: He's been pretty steady. He had one bad day and one bad period. The rest have been pretty good. He's bigger than the quarterbacks we've had and has a stronger arm than most. And like a lot of them in the past, he had several years to learn and play behind some good people.
Taylor has watched what they have done. And I think the fact that he's been behind Graham, but still didn't waste any reps as a backup. A lot of times as you are sitting and waiting their chance, guys will waste their opportunities to learn. Taylor didn't do that.
With the loss of key players like Harrell, Crabtree and Shannon Woods, is your offense going to change much this season?
ML: I don't think it will change a bunch. But what ends up is that different players and receivers will get more of a chance to emerge and play. Crabtree got so many catches, but now different players and receivers will do well. We'll have a different group of backs who do different things. But I don't think it will change that much.
How much are the Red Raiders going to miss Michael Crabtree?
ML: We've had a couple of guys in Jacoby Franks and Alex Torres who have really played so far. Last season, the second-line guy behind Crabtree was Franks and he's a year better now. I think Torres is a little better this year than last year. It means we are a little deeper than we were. Obviously, neither one is at the Crabtree level yet, but the second-level is stronger than it was last year.
You had a pretty tenuous contract negotiation with the school after the season back in February. Did you ever have any doubts that you would be back this spring as Tech's head coach?
ML: I was convinced that I would be back here. In the shortest period of time, we have been the winningest staff at Tech. If we can win some games this season, we can be the winningest staff in school history. Our coaches and players have served Tech well. If it was up to me, it was obvious we would be back.
You've developed some innovative coaching methods to get your teaching points across. With wide receiver Edward Britton, who had fallen behind in his schoolwork, you had him study at a desk at the 50-yard line of Jones AT&T Stadium on a cold winter day with snow blowing around him. How did you come up with that, and did it get your point about studies across to him?
ML: I think he seems to have improved and the guys say he's functioning right. I guess we'll see. Honestly, the idea came from (Tech wide receivers coach) Dennis Simmons, who said his mom did something to him when he was a kid, except it was on a basketball court. I guess Eddie didn't have the best of luck that day. It was about 27 degrees and snowing all around him.
A lot of people are talking about this being a rebuilding year for a team after Harrell and Crabtree left the program. Is that a fair assessment of the job in front of you?
ML: To be honest, it's nothing new. This will be our 10th year here and conservatively, we've done it about seven times before. And I think our team will be better than people think we are.
Everybody has said the challenge for us will be rebuilding -- all about rebuilding. All that is an excuse. You have to try to have the best team you can and play the best when you get the opportunity. There's no rebuilding. Everybody loses something all the time. To worry about it is a waste of time.
Got to love Mike Leach. I am so glad he is back in Lubbock with Texas Tech. The guy is just plain honest and straight forward with his comments.
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