The mention of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach --- the one named candidate in Maryland's football coaching search --- evokes all sorts of visions of teams scoring half-a-hundred, throwing for 400 yards a game and quarterbacks piling up record-breaking numbers.
So that would seem like a pretty appealing thing to possible quarterback recruits, right?
Well, in theory.
But let's be serious. A coveted 17-year-old quarterback signing with a major college program --- or at least most of them, anyway --- harbor some sort of NFL dreams. Logically, they'd want to go somewhere where quarterbacks are exported to the pros on a regular basis.
(That was part of the reason Ralph Friedgen was considered appealing, and it didn't entirely work out. The development of Josh Freeman is also one of the biggest selling points for former Terps offensive coordinator James Franklin).
So how has Leach done in this category during his time at Kentucky and Oklahoma as an offensive coordinator and at Texas Tech as a head coach? Let's take a look.
|Tim Couch (1997-98)
|Josh Heupel (1999)
|Kliff Kingsbury (2000-02)
|B.J. Symons (2003)
|Sonny Cumbie (2004)
|Cody Hodges (2005)
|Graham Harrell (2006-08)
Couch was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft. Heupel (2001) and Kingsbury (2003) were sixth-round picks. Symons (2004) was a seventh-round selection.
Three of Leach's former starters are now on college staffs (Heupel at Oklahoma, Kingsbury at Houston, Cumbie at Texas Tech), and two are co-coordinators (Heupel and Kingsbury).That doesn't even include Lincoln Riley, the East Carolina offensive coordinator who was on Texas Tech's roster as a quarterback for a year before becoming a student coach.
One of the QBs on that chart is now in the NFL (Harrell was just signed to Green Bay's active roster last week).
That's a superior track record for producing coaches and an underwhelming one for producing NFL quarterbacks. The dreaded "system quarterback" label wouldn't be the easiest thing to shake based on that chart.
It isn't to say Leach couldn't pull it off. But it would certainly be reason for any quarterback faced with the prospect of working in the pass-happy offense to pause if they're looking for a tried-and-true system that translates well to the pros.