Texas Tech coach Mike Leach would be out-of-box pick for Huskies
Coach Mike Leach and the Huskies? Don't laugh. Word on the street is Leach is ready to get out of Texas Tech and would be highly interested in the UW job.
Seattle Times colleges reporter
USC 45, Washington 14: Huskies' offensive showing against Irish not exactly a send-off for this game.
Stanford 37, WSU 14: At least there's continual intrigue at the QB position for WSU.
Cal 31, Oregon 30: One small matter for Bears a week before they meet USC.
Oregon State 27, ASU 17: Traditionally, this has been OSU's time of year.
Last week: 3-1. Season: 28-14.
Weighing in ...
A weekly snippet from one of the
nation's fan message boards
From Fight On State, a Penn State site: "I'm sick and tired hearing everyone talk about how Penn State has such a weak schedule. [Alabama's] early-season win over Clemson is now no more impressive than our win over Wisconsin. Their win over Georgia is comparable to our win over Ohio State. Who else have they played out of conference? Tulane? Western Kentucky?"
Charlie Weis of Notre Dame has more Pac-10 wins (eight) than Tyrone Willingham of Washington (six) since they began their respective tenures in 2005.
Pete Carroll, USC coach, on how Trojans opponents annually commit the fewest penalties in the Pac-10, including a 10-1 disparity in flags last week at Arizona: "I just don't understand how teams play so well against us."
Bud WithersPac-10 power rankings
By Bud Withers, Seattle Times college football reporter
|1||USC (6-1)||Taylor best Mays in center field since Willie|
|2||OSU (4-3)||Will fete Erickson with commemorative 12-pack|
|3||Oregon (6-2)||Masoli is Ducks' San Francisco treat|
|4||Arizona (5-3)||With bye before WSU, just plans to sleep a lot|
|5||Cal (5-2)||Now charging Tightwad Hill fans two joints|
|6||Stanford (4-4)||Crowd for Cougars to be more like focus group|
|7||UCLA (3-5)||Neuheisel hoarse from yelling at Craft|
|8||ASU (2-5)||Maybe it's not sleeping giant; could be coma|
|9||Washington (0-7)||Helpful SIDs now convert yards to inches|
|10||WSU (1-7)||Neanderthal cave art led to USC game plan|
Listen up, Washington fans. Got the perfect next football coach for you.
He's got a law degree. That's not a deal-breaker, is it?
He's a little, uh, different. Not like jump-on-stage-and-jam-with-Jimmy-Buffett different, more like this: His office is festooned with pirate paraphernalia, owing to one of his life's fascinations.
Oh, and this coach in 2007 lambasted his conference's officials for a "complete travesty" of a performance in a big game, earning him a $10,000 fine, double the previous record in the league. Then he said he didn't regret saying it. Think he wouldn't have some similar opportunities with Pac-10 zebras?
Thing is, Mike Leach has other fish to fry right now. His Texas Tech football team, No. 6 in the country, is about to host top-rated Texas. All it is, is the biggest football thing ever to hit Lubbock.
As for Leach and the Huskies, don't laugh. Word on the street is Leach is ready to get out of Texas Tech and would be highly interested in the UW.
The bigger issue is whether Washington would be interested in him. Its last experience with sort of a nontraditional coach got them a sweater-vest-wearing, job-coveting, NCAA-pool-playing guy, five weeks in a courtroom and the loss of a couple of million bucks for it.
If you're looking for somebody espousing Washington's historically staunch, Northwest-woodsy persona — somebody to run the ball and emphasize defense — this might not be it. Mike Leach is way different, right down to the card tricks he does when recruits come to his office.
He never played college football, one of four such coaches in Division I-A. He said this week he coached Little League baseball for several years, high school through college at Brigham Young, always figuring he'd be an attorney. But nearing the end of law school at Pepperdine, he began to realize he had a coaching itch to scratch.
So he got a master's degree at the U.S. Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala., in sports science and coaching, and hooked up in 1987 with passing fanatic Hal Mumme at Iowa Wesleyan.
"We traveled all over the country drawing up ideas," Leach said, referring to the passing game. "Just anything we thought that packaged well."
He mentioned the BYU pass attack under LaVell Edwards, some of Bill Walsh's West Coast offense tenets, even a little run-and-shoot.
Eventually, Leach spent 1999 at Oklahoma in Bob Stoops' first year, then was hired at Texas Tech, where the Red Raiders splash all sorts of gaudy passing numbers on opponents. Since the start of the 2001 season, Tech has thrown for 314 touchdown passes. Last year, it completed exactly 500 passes. Think about that.
Some of those come when Tech is ahead by 50 points. Probably no coach in America gets more scrutiny for running it up on opponents, which Leach sees as simply doing what the Raiders do. Ahead of Nebraska 42-10 entering the fourth quarter in 2004, Tech threw 16 passes the rest of the way — including three straight when it was up 70-10.
Said Mumme this week, "He makes this analogy about baseball. What if you had a 10-run rule in [pro] baseball, where everybody was supposed to go up there and strike out? Everywhere we've been, we've never asked for any quarter and never given any. You get on both ends of that deal a lot of times."
Of course, that will not apply Saturday night in what shapes up as a sumptuous matchup of a Tech offense that scored nine touchdowns last week at Kansas, against Texas' superlative athletes — "It's almost a yearly statement, how fast they are," Leach says — coached on defense by another potential UW candidate, coordinator Will Muschamp.
For Texas, it's the last game of a fearsome-four gauntlet that has included Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State. This one might be the most exhausting.
The Longhorns can do some offensive damage of their own, with Heisman front-runner Colt McCoy completing a celestial 81.8 percent of his passes. It's something of a homecoming for McCoy, who grew up in Tuscola outside Abilene in central Texas, about 160 miles from Lubbock.
"Half my high school goes to school there," McCoy said. "It's going to be fun."
NFL scouts are likely to be trained on the trenches, where one of the season's superhuman matchups will take place. Tech has a 27-year-old, minor-league baseball expatriate, Rylan Reed, at offensive tackle. He has a mind-blowing, 625-pound bench press, shaming the mere 510 bench of Brian Orakpo, Texas' defensive end, who, with nine sacks and 21 quarterback pressures, might be the college defender of the year to date.
Previewing Texas Tech early this week, Orakpo said, "It's a different brand of football. The [line] splits are wide. They've got all these five- and four-receiver sets, guys running all over the place and making plays."
Oh, and as for that pirate thing? In a New York Times Magazine piece in 2005, writer Michael Lewis explained, "Each offseason, Leach picks something he is curious about and learns as much as he can about it: Geronimo, Daniel Boone, whales, chimpanzees, grizzly bears, [painter] Jackson Pollock."
So there's your out-of-the-box UW candidate.
And what's more ...
• Michigan State's workhorse running back Javon Ringer already has 300 carries. But with three games left, the record of 450 — Kevin Smith of Central Florida in 2007 — looks a long way off.
• Only in college football: Last week, SMU, under first-year passing devotee June Jones, watched as Navy ran the ball 77 times, never throwing, in a 34-7 victory.
• Go figure Virginia, which in the first month lost 52-7 to USC, 45-10 to Connecticut and 31-3 to Duke. Now it's 5-3, leading the ACC Coastal Division, and at least a mild threat to play in a BCS bowl.
• All that talent at Clemson? The Tigers are one of two ACC teams with a losing record.
• When Nebraska visits Oklahoma, it matches coaches Bo Pelini and Stoops, each of whom attended Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio.
• UCLA's oft-injured QB Ben Olson, out with a foot injury since Aug. 9, might return to practice soon, which means he might be back by the time the quarterback-plagued Bruins visit Washington on Nov. 15.
• A week after Washington State's 280-game scoring streak went down, so did Colorado's 242-game string, third ongoing nationally, in a 58-0 loss to Missouri. CU had a couple of late chances to kick a field goal to preserve the streak, as WSU did a couple of times during the 24-year run, but went for touchdowns.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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