Can the Texas Tech Red Raiders Thrive without Mike Leach?

Tyler KnowlesContributor IDecember 30, 2009

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Head coach Mike Leach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders looks on during a game against the Texas Longhorns on October 22, 2005 at Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Texas defeated Texas Tech 52-17.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Let's run this down:

Since Mike “The Mad Scientist” Leach became the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, he has never suffered a losing season, played in nine consecutive bowl games and on Jan. 2 will make it 10 straight.

His offense led the nation in passing for the sixth time in nine seasons and ranked among the top five in total offense, set a school record with 11 wins in 2008 while also racking up three Coach of the Year awards: The Woody Hayes Award, Howie Long/Fieldturf Coach of the Year, and George Munger Award.

So why was this offensive genius fired?

We all know the story, and as more and more facts are coming out, this decision made by the Texas Tech staff seems very sudden and harsh for the information they were given and the source of the information.

In recent emails that have been made public by past players under Leach and even a few coaches, we now understand that Adam Jones (the Tech receiver who initiated this fiasco) has been labeled as a prima donna who lacks serious work ethic.

“Ever since the day he arrived on the Texas Tech campus you couldn’t help but to feel a negative energy from him. He expected people to baby him and that he was going to make it solely on the fact that his father was a very successful player.” — Eric Morris, senior wide receiver for Texas Tech.

“Adam James is one of the few players who has never bought into what Texas Tech football was built on and in my years there with him had a negative impact on the team because of his attitude and work ethic on and off the field.” Graham Harrell, former quarterback for Texas Tech.

Now, I am not saying I know the whole story, because I don’t, but given the information that is available the firing of Mike Leach was out of hand.

Back to my original question, can Texas Tech be successful or even stay competitive in the Big 12 without Leach?

I doubt it.

Playing in the Big 12 South is already as difficult as it can be with Oklahoma and Texas owning the division nearly every season.

At least Leach made Tech interesting.

Now, the Red Raiders will seemingly just blow away like sand and dirt in a West Texas wind storm.

After 2008, the most successful season in Texas Tech history, going 11-2, defeating then-No. 1 Texas  at home 39-33, falling one game short of playing for a Big 12 Championship and possibly the schools first national title, Texas Tech has now become irrelevant to the rest of the conference.

Leach’s offensive scheme is what kept Texas Tech competitive in such a powerful conference. His ability to spread the offense out from sideline to sideline made it almost impossible for defenses to slow down.

Texas Tech has established itself as one of the nation's leading producers of productive quarterbacks since Leach’s inaugural season in 2000.

Former Tech signal-caller Graham Harrell threw for 4,555 yards in 2006 and became the sixth player in NCAA history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season with 5,705 yards in 2007 and 5,111 yards in 2008. He also is the third quarterback under Leach to win nine games in a season and the first Red Raider in history to win 11 in a regular season.

Former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury (2002) and Cody Hodges (2005) each had nine-win seasons during their careers, while B.J. Symons (2003) and Sonny Cumbie (2004) each won eight games in their respective seasons as the starting quarterback.

The problem that now arises for the Red Raiders is what will happen to all the recruits who signed to play football under the "Mad Scientist’s" offensive attack. Are they simply told "sorry, since one kid couldn’t suck it up we had to release our coach?"

Or maybe this is even a blessing in disguise for Leach, who recently has been under scrutiny and vastly unappreciated by Tech administration, to finally land the job in which he rightfully deserves.

There is no question that Leach can coach and maybe all he needs is that fresh start at a school who will appreciate winning seasons and pure offensive madness.