The words discipline and structure are two phrases that will probably never be used to describe former Oklahoma offensive coordinator and former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. But they are exactly the character traits that current Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley learned from the pirate-loving head coach of the Washington State Cougars.
It was Leach, Riley’s former mentor, who was one of the first people Riley spoke with after being offered the job – Leach’s former position.
The exact same coaching style didn’t permeate from one to the other, but what Riley learned from his mentor was the discipline to stay with the offense that he knows best.
“That’s something I always took from him,” Riley said. “We were not going to change. His commitment to (the offense) was something that was the biggest key to us being pretty good offensively at Texas Tech.
“That’s the biggest thing I took from him.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops noticed the same discipline and structure in Riley’s offense, which is so highly based on timing and speed.
Stoops pointed back to Leach, as well.
The structure to the offense has also helped develop quarterbacks.
“They’re disciplined, how strict they are in their system,” Stoops said. “That, I think, allows for the quarterback to become very regimented in not only their technique and development, but they see the same things over and over and over. It allows, I think, a degree of comfort when you go the entire year running the same play.
“There’s just a lot of discipline and fundamentals in it that have been successful.”
It still seems strange to think of the words discipline and structure to describe the hyper-eccentric Leach.