Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Mississippi State’s 44-34 win over the defending national champion LSU Tigers in Mike Leach’s first game as head coach.
DAN WETZEL: All right, let me say this much about Mike Leach and Mississippi State. When you take over a program-- now he comes in with a lot of gravitas and background--
PAT FORDE: Yeah, he's got the credibility.
DAN WETZEL: -credibility, credibility. I mean, he's won a million games.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: But still, you're introducing yourself to a new area of the country. And your offense-- and what exactly is-- could this kind of gimmicky-- Why wasn't he here earlier? I imagine the TV ratings, particularly in the south, were enormous. For that game yesterday because it was like pent up demand.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Everybody in the south is watching and Mississippi State in his first game just walks in and says I'm going to run this offense, how do you like me now. Like it is the moment where I bet every single recruit in the south head-- they're not all going to go to Mississippi State. I'm not predicting they're going to all [INAUDILBE] but man if you are like a wide receiver
PETE THAMEL: Oh.
DAN WETZEL: Or you're, like, you know you're sitting there going ooo, look how open that little rub route was. Like those little, those little-- ooo--
PETE THAMEL: Yeah.
PAT FORDE: Hm.
DAN WETZEL: And the question was always with Mike Leach is could he get--
PAT FORDE: [SIGHS]
DAN WETZEL: --what happens when he gets the great athletes? Now he started getting some-- Michael Crabtree-- when he was at Texas Tech. But you're still recruiting a tough spot.
Washington State, he got some but you're still-- Mississippi State is not going to beat-- it's not going to beat Alabama and Georgia and those but, man there are a lot of recruits within a couple hundred miles of that place. And there's a whole bunch of them that can run those kind of routes.
And I got to figure, in terms of just, like, statement, that was a monster for that program going forward. Because I don't know how, if you're an offensive player, you're not going boy that looks pretty fun. And if I'm not going to be Alabama's prime guy that looks like a pretty good place to play.
PETE THAMEL: Mike Leach is not at USC, Texas, you know Ohio State, Michigan, whatever he's not at a Cadillac job because of Mike Leach. Not because he has the most offense, not because he's quirky, it's 'cause twice a year he does or says really dumb things that put him in a spin cycle of controversy that more mainstream campuses probably wouldn't tolerate in the same way.
It's interesting to look at-- to look at Mike Leach because he has won and he's been innovative enough to really place himself-- if you just look at, like, the blind resume, like, what he has done at impossible places. I mean, totally impossible places. Should have-- like, Mike Price did that at Washington State and he ended up with the Alabama job, right?
PETE THAMEL: It's interesting, Leach is like the most relentlessly fascinating football character of our times. And I'm happy to see him have success. And I'm, like, I can't wait to watch the next Mississippi State game.
PAT FORDE: Here's one, one other thought on Mike Leach. Do you remember who was going to hire him three years ago until they fired the athletic director, like, right when he was on the cusp of bringing him in?
Tennessee was-- John Currie was going to hire Mike Leach and then they got so sick of that coaching search they fired Leach and brought in Phil Fulmer and he got Jeremy Pruitt and maybe Pruitt will still turn out but he hadn't had a day yet at Tennessee like Mike Leach had in day one.