Adams: Leach strong where UT is weakest

Programs tend to hire coaches who provide them with the quality most lacking in the coaches they replaced. Tennessee's basketball program can vouch for that.

When it fired laid-back coach Wade Houston, it replaced him with Kevin O'Neill, a human volcano that was never dormant.

O'Neill was an excellent coach except when the ball was in his team's hands.

When he left, UT replaced a defensive-minded coach with an offensive-minded coach.

There was more to the transition from O'Neill to Jerry Green.

O'Neill preferred to keep a tight grip on his team. Green was more adept at rolling the ball onto the floor and getting out of the way.

For all of his success, Green rubbed fans the wrong way.

So UT replaced him with Buzz Peterson, one of the most likable coaches you will ever meet. He also was laid-back.

His successor, Bruce Pearl, is anything but laid-back.

If you apply the same hiring theory to UT football, what would you look for in Phillip Fulmer's replacement?

UT's program obviously needs more discipline. And its players need to be made more accountable for their actions on and off the field. So maybe you would look for a taskmaster.

But there is another shortcoming that must be addressed. UT ranks 116th out of 119 Division I-A teams in total offense.

Maybe that explains why I've had so many e-mails in favor of hiring South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.

They don't care that he's 63 or that he tormented UT for so many years in his coaching heyday at Florida. They care about his offense.

That also helps explain the interest in Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

I've heard negative comments about Leach in conjunction with the UT job: "He's too quirky." "He wouldn't fit in Knoxville."

Leach is a native Californian who grew up in Wyoming, where he was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has a law degree from Pepperdine University, is obsessed with pirates and never played a down of college football.

Oh, one other thing: His offense averages 566.3 yards - or about 300 more yards per game than the Vols. That alone makes him worthy of consideration.

You can't fault UT for wanting to hire North Carolina coach Butch Davis. But if the interest isn't mutual, then the Vols at least should do their homework on Leach.

He has never had a losing season in nine years at Texas Tech and is averaging almost nine wins per season for the last seven years. Moreover, his innovative offense is about as far removed from UT's offense as a space shuttle is from a horse and buggy.

UT's offense needs more than a makeover. It needs a transplant.

So if you can't get Davis, check out Leach. And if it works out, how hard would it be to convert the Vol Navy to pirate ships?

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 220

ncvol17 writes:

Leach would be fun to watch

Mansonlamps writes:

Get Leach and a kick A** defensive coordinator and lets keep Drayton and Scott and we'll be alright.

ncvol17 writes:

Arghhhh.. let's bring him on board.. Nickname him ORANGEBEARD & let him pilot a ship in the Vol Navy...

The reference to his religion shows undertones that ET fans would look at it as a negative. (??) who cares

gavol2572 writes:

in response to ncvol17:

Leach would be fun to watch

Agreed. I thoroughly enjoy watching Leach's offense, even before this year. I wonder if Leach was hired, how long would it take for him to get the offense going? Thoughts anyone.

BTW I don't care how quirky he is as long as he wins.

blitzshoot writes:

He'll never mix well with the Thorntons and Haslams of the world. Don't think he will get the nod.

stroker writes:

Adams even though you trashed the Vols on enemy sports talk you are right on here imo.

Colliervol writes:

There are going to be pros and cons to every coach on the prospect list. Personally, I think Butch Davis has more positives than any of the others and he'd be my #1 choice. Not that they are asking any of us.

bobbyutvol writes:

YOU ARE RIGHT ON MR. ADAMS... THIS GUY WILL BRING SOME EXCITEMENT BY TO THE VOLS. 108,000 FULL STADIUM... THIS GUY CAN COACH.... TRY RECRUTING IN LUBBACK... IF HE CAN DO THAT WHAT CAN HE DO IN KNOXVILLE.... PERFECT FIT... WHEN HE WAS OC AT KENTUCKY LOOK AT THE STATS VERY IMPRESSIVE.. WE NEED MIKE LEACH. IT WILL BE A DIFFERENT TYPE FOOTBALL, NOT THE DULL FULMER FOOTBALL/// TIMES CHANGE AND THE VOLS NEED TO DO SO..... HIRE MIKE LEACH

1982_35_28 writes:

Davis or Leach, either one will be a considerable upgrade. Just make a choice and get it done before someone else hires Leach and you figure out Davis really isn't interested.

bobbyutvol writes:

THINK OF ALL THE FIVE STAR RECRUITS THEY WILL WANT TO PLAY FOR MIKE LEACH... QB AND WR WE WOULD GET THE TOP RECRUITS ONES WE ARE MISSING NOW BECAUSE OF A DULL OFFENSE WE HAVE HAD FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS... LEACH FOR COACH MY FIRST CHOICE... IF NOT CHRIS PETERSON FROM BOSIE STATE

kilovol writes:

I think they would get Brian Kelly ahead of Leach. Clemson gets Leach, Butch Davis gets NC within 5 next year, Muschamp remains a Long Horn and we're looking for a new coach in a few years. Nebraska set the blue print, only... I think they won 3 national championships in the 90's?

polkco_vol writes:

And he's married to Amy Grant! Awesome....

tnbigg writes:

Good

Hucklebuckle writes:

What about Jim Harbaugh....WHY ISN'T ANYONE MENTIONING THIS GUY? .....ok just kidding. I like him, but he wouldn't fit at UT. Does anyone see Trooper Taylor making his way back to Knoxville?

HallowedHill writes:

I'm not convinced. Griff makes a great argument for Lane Kiffin. If I had my pick, I'd vote for Kiffin.
However, we'd be lucky to get any one of them. Bama and Florida both had to go through multiple coaches to settle on one they liked. I wouldn't be surprised if we see 3 coaches during the next ten years.
I'll be routing on whoever takes the job, but I won't be expecting National Championship anytime soon.

andy112382#209793 writes:

Do we keep the defensive staff if we hire Leach? To offset one of his biggest weaknesses while at Texas Tech against high profile teams? I mean, our defense is pretty awesome, has been the most consistent thing about the team over the years (minus a time here or there, but even then, like last season, they actually got better over the course of the year unlike our offense this year!)

I could see that being a lethal combination, Leach-led offense and a Chavis-led defense...and don't forget, that means we would probally keep the defensive commitments we have so far and gets guys on offense like Marlon Brown.

1982_35_28 writes:

Its worth noting that Dr. Jerry Punch said Petersen is not ready for the SEC meat grinder...

rockytoptilidie writes:

I'm really curious - what is the love affair with DRAYTON about? He hasn't contributed anything to UT Football, period.

Volomatic writes:

They can't announce who the coach would be until that coach is no longer employed. Same reason they let fulmer go during the season, So they could look without violating NCAA rules. So depending on who gets the job we might not know till as late as the NC game.

invisiblekid writes:

in response to Colliervol:

There are going to be pros and cons to every coach on the prospect list. Personally, I think Butch Davis has more positives than any of the others and he'd be my #1 choice. Not that they are asking any of us.

Davis has the best pedigree by far and is obviously the safest play of all the names out there.

However, I just have the suspicion that Sexton is using the Vols as leverage and it's just going to be a waste of time in going after him. Not to mention very, very expensive in comparison to Leach or anyone else on the list.

DennisVols writes:

Leach does more with less talent than UT has. Watching TTU the last couple of weeks is exaushting. They are timming perfect and would wear any defense anywhere out. The O-line blocks are perfect for both the pass and rush. You see linemen hustling down field on screens to spring the backs for extra yardage. His QB knows exactly where each receiver is going to be and knows how to check out of the main receiver quickly if he is covered to the 2nd and 3rd reads.
Some question if his offensive style would work in the SEC. Take a good look at UF offense and you will get your answer.
Play makers get the ball in the open field and they go quickly.
I have seen other sports writers do stories about why UT should go after Leach and the one thing they all said is that the big time recurits would want to come to UT to play for Leach because of his up tempo high scoring offense.
You see the discipline in his players in how they excute.
OSU and TX, both top 10 teams were beaten by this powerful offense. When was the last time UT beat 2 top 10 team in back to back weeks?

DaddyO writes:

Leach should be our #1 pick... period.

spvol writes:

Let's hire John Adams. He knows ALL about football.

Colliervol writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is he going to bring a box to stand on so we can see him on the sideline?

CharlotteVol writes:

in response to polkco_vol:

And he's married to Amy Grant! Awesome....

That cracked me up!

zqvol writes:

I agree John Adams knows everything about nothing and nothing about anything, he would be a perfect coach

invisiblekid writes:

in response to Volomatic:

They can't announce who the coach would be until that coach is no longer employed. Same reason they let fulmer go during the season, So they could look without violating NCAA rules. So depending on who gets the job we might not know till as late as the NC game.

Does the name David Cutcliffe ring a bell?

http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbm...

In case the link doesn't work:

David Cutcliffe, who led Ole Miss to four bowl games in six seasons and mentored quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, has been named Duke University’s 21st head football coach, Duke Director of Athletics Joe Alleva announced on Saturday.

Currently the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Tennessee, Cutcliffe succeeds Ted Roof and will continue to serve on the Tennessee staff through the Volunteers’ Outback Bowl appearance versus Wisconsin on January 1, 2008 (11 a.m.; ESPN) in Tampa, Fla.

mbavol writes:

Hamilton's not going to wait until January to hire a coach and Leach is not going to leave before coaching in a BCS game let alone a title game if they beat Oklahoma.

DaddyO writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That would be a horrendous pick... and would make the Fulmer firing look like a *big* mistake.

DennisVols writes:

Since we are day dreaming. How about we hire Meyer from UF to run the offense and Saban from UA to run the defense

Colliervol writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If they are shorter than him, we'll have a tribe of pygmies suiting up.

MikeTheTiger writes:

Leach is my # 1 choice, and has been since day one. If you can win at TTU you can sure win here. I like pirates too!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

For what? Meyer's replacement. You'd better pull for Notre Dame, dude.

DennisVols writes:

Why do they call us pirates?
Because we arrrghhhhh!!!!

movol53 writes:

Another HOT coach is Kyle Whittingham of Utah he took over after Meyer left and has done very well. Oh, I think they are unbeaten this year. And you can't tell me that Utah gets all the great recuits. They get the left overs from the west coast. If Leach comes here we need to get Charlie Strong, Fla Defensive coach for our defensive leader. That would be one heck of a tamden!!!!!

Colliervol writes:

in response to DennisVols:

Why do they call us pirates?
Because we arrrghhhhh!!!!

I don't know. But we've played like the Pirates of Penzance this year. Maybe that's it.

elsinoresam writes:

I think Lou Holtz is available

JMP_Vols writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We could pay every UF coach $20 more bucks a year and they'd all be our coaches.

volunteer_cowboy writes:

Leach is NOT the answer!!!!He has been in the big 12 for 9 years and hasn't won anything so how does anyone expect him to compete in the SEC. I for 1 dont want to wait 9 more years for a winner.

jt1369w writes:

in response to gavol2572:

Agreed. I thoroughly enjoy watching Leach's offense, even before this year. I wonder if Leach was hired, how long would it take for him to get the offense going? Thoughts anyone.

BTW I don't care how quirky he is as long as he wins.

He turned Oklahoma's offense from 11th in the Big 12 in 1998 to first in 1999 and 101st in the nation to 11th.

utwick writes:

I feel like this article was directed toward some of my comments (and others as well, not too much paranoia here) as I mentioned Leach as being quirky and not being sure how his "act" would play in Knoxville. Being a UT grad, a follower of UT football for much longer than Adams, and a resident of central Texas, I see Leach on the tube regularly. Since we have had so many "family" members coach the Vols for so long, I thought that the FB coach would need to be able to relate to the boosters, alum, so and so forth, like his predecessors. Leach does coach exciting football and would bring something different to The Hill, no doubt. Not against him, just don't know that UT would hire him. BTW, did I mention that he was quirky?

P.S. I would be surprised if Mr. Adams knew Pepperdine from a pepperoni.

elsinoresam writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Question: What do Gator fans do when they run out of PBR and Slim Jims? Answer: They troll the opposing teams fan boards.

volunteer_cowboy writes:

i would be going after davis, jimbo fisher or terry bowden....

wittenfaninky writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I couldn't agree with you more. There is a big difference in our talent vs. Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
Texas Tech is absolutely loaded on the offensive side of the ball. Would be an interesting game to see Florida vs. Texas Tech. We could then see who could out-coach who (Meyers vs. Leach).
Current TN talent is not as bad as it seems, but no where near the level of top SEC teams.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're right about the "talent". There is no doubt we don't have a Graham Harrell or any Crabtrees or Moores on our roster and without them, Leach's offense doesn't work. The point is, most of TTU's players were not highly recruited either - Texas and Oklahoma get all the best players out of Texas. Leach seems to be able to develop his players into what he needs, something Fulmer never seemed able to do. Still don't know if he is the guy, just know Fulmer isn't.

CRFVols writes:

Well....I do like his offense and their stats. He may bring some really quality recruits out of Texas. Maybe a quarterback? Word around town is that we need one.......bad.

volsbandit writes:

Arrrgh, Arrrgh, Arrrgh... A pirate, A pirate... A pirate says ARRRGH!

west_tn_volfan writes:

in response to gavol2572:

Agreed. I thoroughly enjoy watching Leach's offense, even before this year. I wonder if Leach was hired, how long would it take for him to get the offense going? Thoughts anyone.

BTW I don't care how quirky he is as long as he wins.

I agree. Quirky is also interesting,too many coaches are as dull as dirt and everything that comes out of their mouths is just more coach speak. I say bring him in and roll up some points.

wittenfaninky writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Although it's been one long nightmare of a season for me as a TN fan, Florida vs. Bama should make one heck of a match-up in the championship game. I can't help but believe Florida will prevail.
What are your thoughts about the prospect of Charlie Strong or Dan Mullen as head coaches? I'd like to see us pursue CS due to his ability to recruit top talent. CS could bring in a good young offensive mind.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

I'm in the Navy.... I have a big problem with pirates.

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