Rutgers Football: Could Mike Leach Be the Cure for What Ails the Offense?

Josh RosenbergCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2010

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 19:  Head coach Mike Leach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during play against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With Mike Leach's firing from his position as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the question has arisen as to what he will do now. 

Some say he will become the head coach of a different football program; others say he won't be able to get a head coaching job because of what he allegedly did to wide receiver Adam James.

Because of the circumstances of the case, and other things we don't know yet, it would be very unlikely that Leach emerges from the winter with a head coaching job.

However, an offensive coordinating job at a university in need of an offensive boost could be in the near future for Mike Leach.

There has been much talk about where Leach could take his skills as an offensive coordinator. While there are many colleges with teams that are perfect for Leach's air-raid offense and in dire need of a better offensive scheme, one college in particular came into my mind.

That team is the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Many of you must be scratching your heads at this thought.  

Mike Leach going to Rutgers?  Come on, this is RUTGERS we're talking about. Why would he go there?

My question is simply that if Leach were offered a big contract, why wouldn't he come to Rutgers?

Rutgers is definitely in need of a new offensive coordinator.

Last season the Scarlet Knights' sputtering and inconsistent offense had the potential to be great, even with freshman quarterback Tom Savage at the helm.  

In three of Rutgers' four losses last season, Rutgers played very good defense, and it was the defense that put the Knights in numerous situations to win games.

The offense, however, failed to take advantage of these opportunities and couldn't score.

Some of the blame can be put on players, although most of the offense's dismal showings can be attributed to current co-offensive coordinators Kirk Ciarocca and Kyle Flood and head coach Greg Schiano.

Since Kyle Flood must now focus on the entire offense AND still oversee the offensive line, the play of Rutgers' offensive linemen has faltered.

This past season, the Knights returned all five starters on their offensive line from a unit that gave up only 14 sacks. That same unit gave up 39 sacks this season.

They also put then-freshman quarterback Tom Savage under lots of pressure, which is never good for any quarterback, especially if he's only a freshman.

Let's not even get into the play-calling of coach Schiano.

Schiano was a defensive coordinator before he came to Rutgers and he's bland, conservative, and inept when it comes to running an offense.  

I could write an entire article on my complaints about his misuse of players, horrible play-calling, and wasting of obvious talent, but I’ll stick to a few recent criticisms.

Why would a coach have Tom Savage drop back 34 times against a 3-3-5 defense (West Virginia's) that he has never played against while in the midst of a snowstorm? 

Why abandon the running game after just the first quarter, when Joe Martinek gets stuffed at the line a few times, for numerous three-and-outs? 

Does Schiano not realize that Joe Martinek, like Ray Rice, gets better as the game goes on? 

Did he forget that 53% of Joe Martinek's rushing yards this season came in the fourth quarter?

Maybe Martinek would've done well if Schiano called a running play that WASN'T run up the middle, over and over again. Martinek isn't a power back; what does any football coach with common sense expect? 

Why not try a sweep play or a cutback or throw in some play-action?

Or, if you're going to run just up the middle, coach Schiano, why not use 6'2', 235 pound Jourdan Brooks instead of Martinek?

Why he wasted Jabu Lovelace's career running him only up the middle in the wildcat formation is still a mystery. 

Of course, it stopped working once teams realized that running up the middle is all Lovelace was going to do.

What it all boils down to is that Rutgers needs someone with an offensive mind calling the plays, not Greg Schiano.

That's where Leach comes in.

Although highly unlikely, Mike Leach and Rutgers would be a match made in heaven.

Rutgers is in need of a high powered offense and a coach who knows how to call plays.  The quarterback and wide receiver positions will be manned by highly touted and successful freshmen who will be sophomores next season.

These players are Savage, Freshman All-American wide receiver Mohamed Sanu—the MVP of the St. Petersburg Bowl—and another budding star in rising sophomore wide receiver Mark Harrison.

Rutgers also has a stable of talented backup wide receivers with lots of potential in senior Julian Hayes and sophomores Keith Stroud and Marcus Cooper.

Leach's air-raid offense, a pass-happy spread scheme similar to what Bryan Kelly ran at Cincinnati, would be very effective if run at Rutgers.

Plus, Schiano could still be head coach and still would be in charge of the play-calling on defense.

Rutgers' defense is consistently one of the top Ds in the Big East. Imagine what a dominant force the Scarlet Knights could be with Schiano's swarming defense and Leach's air-raid offense.

Mike Leach as the offensive coordinator of Rutgers looks like a win-win situation for everyone.

That is, everyone except other Big East teams.


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