Mike Leach Says He Might Ask the Janitor for Football Advice

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2014

Washington State coach Mike Leach speaks to members of the media at the Isleta Resort & Casino in Isleta Pueblo, N.M., Friday, Dec. 20, 2013.  Colorado State (7-6) will meet Washington State (6-6) in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
Russell Contreras/Associated Press

Advice about how to win football games—sound or potentially otherwise—comes from a variety of sources. During the 2014 NFL draft, for example, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio about a homeless man convincing him to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach is a similar type of eccentric, and he is similarly prone to taking advice from anyone.

According to Chris Vannini of Coaching Search, Leach appeared on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly this weekend and explained how often (and with whom) he sometimes talks about football:

I’m one of those guys that, football-wise, I’m thinking about it all the time. I might ask the janitor or whoever’s just in the hall. They might throw something out like, "Your linemen are playing real high." All of a sudden, I’ll get conscious of it. Once in a while, they’re right. Once in a while, it drags my attention to something that needs to be addressed. As a coach, you’re always too close to it and may not see everything.

You get some nonsense, there’s no question. But the nonsense, you have to sift through it quickly. Once in a while, a fresh set of eyes will see something where, in the back of my mind, I’m going, "I’m sitting here watching it every day. How did I not see that?"

Leach has always been a little bit different than other coaches. 

He has a documented fascination with pirates, he blithely ignores the running game for weeks at a time and he just co-authored a bookGeronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior—about an Apache tribe leader from the late 1800s.

For some reason, all of those things make this new bit of information seem fitting. He would be the type of guy who asks a janitor for football advice, hoping, with time and enough shots in the dark, that he stumbles upon the football version of Will Hunting, the overlooked savant with the answer to how one might stop Oregon's offense.

Aside from his off-field idiosyncrasies, Leach is famous for his on-field obsession with the passing game. He made the Air Raid offense a national threat in his previous job as head coach at Texas Tech, and within two years of taking over at Washington State, he had the Cougars leading the nation with 58.2 pass attempts per game.

He also had them back in the postseason for the first time since 2003.

Perhaps those janitors are smarter than we give them credit for.


Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT