Possible Coaching Candidate: Mike Leach

With the firing of head coach Larry Coker made official Friday morning, the search for the new head football coach at the University of Miami has officially begun.

Many names are being thrown into the pot as possible replacements, and a new buzz has arisen throughout the ranks of college football as the nation anxiously awaits who will be the next man hired to lead the program back to prominence.

Some candidates are more recognizable by the casual fan than others (Steve Spurrier and Mark Richt to name a few), while some others are little known assistant coaches from various college programs and NFL organizations.

Despite the wide range of backgrounds the candidates possess, each one has at least one of two things in common: Either they have head coaching experience at the college or pro level, or they are known for their offensive minds.

The desire for an offensive-minded coach shouldn't come as a surprise to fans. The ‘Canes dismal offense this season ranks just 8th in the conference in points per game (19.5), and has shown an inability to sustain offensive drives throughout the season.

Among the plethora of coaches being considered for the position, one coach stands out: Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach. Leach's résumé is quite impressive. He had eight years of experience as an offensive coordinator for Valdosta State, Kentucky, and Oklahoma before being hired as head football coach of Texas Tech in 2000. During that time, he's broken offensive records at every school he's coached at.

The last four years at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders have led the nation in passing offense while running Leach's spread offensive system. He has a knack for turning relatively unknown college quarterbacks into superstars (see Tim Couch and Kliff Kingsbury). Heck, he even got Josh Heupel drafted by the NFL after just one year.

So how do his accomplishments at Texas Tech make him a qualified candidate for Miami? Simply put, PRODUCTION. Leach is a proven success in big-time conferences such as the SEC and the Big 12.

His system has been tried and is a proven winner. At Miami, he'd inherit a team that has already run versions of the spread offense this season. Quarterbacks Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman would be put in a position where they could succeed because his system is extremely quarterback friendly.

Running back Javarris James wouldn't be forgotten either: Texas Tech's Shannon Woods is currently third in the Big 12 in rushing yards and Texas Tech starting running backs have each rushed for at least 800 yards in every season since 2003. Even recruiting would be a success if Leach were head coach.

In every season since he took over at Texas Tech, the recruiting classes have improved. Last year's class was ranked 17th in the nation (only three spots behind Miami) by Scout.com and consisted mostly of homegrown Texas talent. With the fertile South Florida recruiting grounds at his disposal and his ties to Texas, another recruiting hotspot, there's no doubt that he'd have immediate success recruiting for a perennial powerhouse such as Miami.

Mike Leach has shown a knack to run a successful offense at various levels of college football, both as an offensive coordinator and a head coach. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a qualified candidate and a good fit for this program.

Many names are being mentioned as possible candidates, but few of them have the qualifications and proven track record of Mike Leach. If selected as head coach at Miami, there is no doubt that the school would benefit immensely in a very short time.

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