FAB 4. Bucs Should Look At Leach – The Real Pirate

There is a good chance that next week the Buccaneers will be looking for the next captain of their ship if Dirk Koetter is fired on Monday, as expected. One coach they should give strong consideration to the original pirate – Washington State head coach Mike Leach.

Leach has a strong interest in pirates and has studied pirate history throughout his life, reading numerous books on everyone from Blackbeard to Calico Jack. More importantly, Leach is an offensive genius, who made his mark at Kentucky as the offensive coordinator under Hal Mumme where he coached record-setting quarterback Tim Couch, who went on to become the first overall draft pick in 1999.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach
Washington State head coach Mike Leach – Photo by: Getty Images

From there he went on to Oklahoma to coach Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback Josh Heupel under Bob Stoops in 1999 before becoming the head coach at Texas Tech from 2000-09 where he coached the likes of more record-setting quarterbacks like Kliff Kingsbury, Graham Harrell and B.J. Symons, in addition to wide receivers Michael Westbrook and Wes Welker. The Red Raiders went 11-2 in 2008 when Leach was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.

Leach took over a struggling Washington State program in 2012 and after three years turned it into a winner, going 10-2 this year en route to tying for the Pac-12 division championship. He won the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award for the second time, and Gardner Minshew, Leach’s quarterback, finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting this year. Leach was also named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2015.

The Big Takeaway
The outspoken Leach is a straight shooter who doesn’t mince words. He holds his players accountable and is an offensive wizard that could do wonders with the arsenal of weapons Tampa Bay has on its roster, and could aid in the development of quarterback Jameis Winston the way he’s developed less physically talented players like Kingsbury, Harrell and Minshew at the collegiate level.

Plus, selfishly speaking, his press conferences are always entertaining and he would be a dream for me to cover professionally. If there is a time where the 57-year old Leach would consider making a jump to the NFL, the time is now coming off his best season at Washington State, and the Buccaneers would be the right team for the ol’ pirate.

Leach’s autobiography is called “Swing Your Sword” and he’s used pirates as a metaphor when talking to his teams about football before.

Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach
Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach – Photo by: Getty Images

“Pirates function as a team. There were a lot of castes and classes in England at the time. But with pirates, it didn’t matter if you were black, white, rich or poor. The object was to get a treasure. If the captain did a bad job, you could just overthrow him.”

Leach is every bit the offensive innovator that Sean McVay gets credit for being, and has quite a long coaching tree in college, including Art Briles (former Baylor head coach), Sonny Dykes (SMU head coach), Ruffin McNeill (former East Carolina head coach, current Oklahoma defensive coordinator), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia head coach), Seth Littrell (North Texas head coach) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma head coach). I think Leach could attract good coaches and build a quality staff in Tampa Bay and really enhance the offense that Koetter and general manager Jason Licht have built.

Quotes That Matter
“The players really got into the whole pirate thing. We were the ‘Pirate Team.’ I’ll never forget that day Coach Leach came into the meeting with that sword and started explaining how pirates lived. It was wild, but it made so much sense as he got into it. We took three things from that speech: Don’t hesitate. Be Smart. And be violent on the field. We were a young team and that pirate thing gave us an identity. We needed an attention-getter. We needed something to rally behind. That was it.” – Antonio Huffman, Texas Tech CB, 2003-05

“I called Six, or our call for four verticals,” Leach said, recalling an exchange with Kinsgbury. “We had it, and I called it, and Kliff shook me off. Now most of the time I’m fine with quarterbacks shaking me off, but we had this, and I got mad and called time out and said some things to Kliff. So Kliff goes out there, and I call Six again, and he shakes me off again, and now we get delay of game. It’s fourth down, and we’re on our own 40, but I just call it again and have some words with Kliff. We hit it against that corner cheating up for a touchdown, and Kliff comes up and starts yelling at me angry on the sideline. ‘FINE, FINE, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? WE DID IT YOUR WAY, AND NOW ARE YOU HAPPY?’ And I was.”

On being criticized for running the score on an opponent while beating Nebraska 70-10 while at Texas Tech in 2004: “Football is the only sport where [you’re supposed to] quit playing when you get the lead,” Leach said. “In golf, you keep trying to improve your score every hole. In basketball, you don’t stop shooting when you’re ahead. In boxing, you don’t quit punching when you’re ahead.”

Stats That Count
• Leach, who never played college football, spent 10 years at Texas Tech from 2000-09 and had 10 winning seasons, going, 84-43, including an 11-2 campaign in 2008.

• Leach has been at Washington State for the last seven seasons where he has gone 48-40, including winning seasons over the last four years, winning at least eight games, including a school-best 10 wins in 2018. He’s always been known to do more with less talent.

The Videos You Have To See
Leach was profiled on CBS’ 60 Minutes after his 11-2 season at Texas Tech in 2008. This is a pretty remarkable look at a fascinating coach.

This video is from a press conference at Washington State where he is ripping into his team and demanding mental toughness. There is no B.S. with this guy. I love it. I absolutely love it. The Bucs need mental toughness, folks.

WARNING: The video below contains explicit language and was Leach’s post-game speech after a 20-13 win against Baylor in what would be his final game at Texas Tech before being fired for alleged mistreatment of wide receiver Adam James, who is Craig James’ son. This the way Tampa Bay’s next head coach needs to level with this Buccaneers roster, who has no clue to how to win on a consistent basis.

The FABulous Ending
Leach would be an off-the-wall, out-of-the-box hire, but maybe that’s what the Buccaneers need right now. I love his candor and the fact that he has turned two smallish schools in their respective conferences – Texas Tech and Washington State – into winners, bowl teams and ranked teams with sheer will and ingenuity.

Unless the Glazers trade for Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh or perhaps take a chance on Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, I don’t know that there is another candidate that excites me quite like Leach does. It will be interesting to see who replaces Koetter, but I guarantee the Bucs’ next head coach won’t be as interesting as Leach would be.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Pete Wood

Good article. Three quick thoughts.
1. I may have been wrong about Vea. He just might have been worth the draft pick.
2. Bucs should cut everybody on the list above to make more cap room. Except Brate. I like Brate. He’s worth the money and gives the Bucs a two pronged TE attack.
3. The real problem with this team is the Glazers. They need to hire a president of football operations, step back, and let that person run the team.

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cgmaster27

Great article scott. I would cut every guy you have on that list, although seeing the trade market for gerald would be better. Cutting these guys will definitely put us in a whole in spots, but you cant keep bodies just to have them. Fortunately, this is a very deep and good d tackle class. Pairing someone like ed Oliver with vea would be soooooo good. Although if we dont keep donavan, LT will have to be a priority. I’d franchise donavan and hibe him a one year prove it deal as you guys said on the podcast. I wouldnt… Read more »

Pete Wood

Would you cut Brate?

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cgmaster27

I love brate but hes not worth the money. Hes averaging about 2 catches a game without oj. Great teammate but would any other team pay him what we are? I doubt it.

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Bucfannomatter

Yup. Give the new front office more cap space. 😉

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BucWonder

I read that Brate was playing injured all year. This year wasn’t the real Brate. Yes, we may have overpaid a bit, but the 2 TE sets are a nice weapon to have. I’d keep Brate.

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Michael Prayon

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! This was a very good read. I think everyone should be cut except McCoy and Brate. I know McCoy’s stats have dipped but he’s still been effective and disruptive which does not show up on the stat sheet. I really want McCoy to stay and make the playoffs with the Bucs because it would be a damn shame if they cut him and he goes somewhere and goes to the playoffs with a different team and get a ring after leaving the Bucs. I think you also keep Brate to create mismatches for defenses… Read more »

fredster

Great article. I think everyone on the list needs to go. I worry a bit with McCoy not being here may hurt Vea and he may get doubled more. I guess JPP and others will have to step up to fill in. O get it from a financial standpoint it makes sense and as much as I respect Gerald as a Person and player I really would like to see a nasty edge on this defense and lone he just never brought. Pete always good to see when someone admits they were wrong. Shows character. So many posters on here… Read more »

76Buc

Send the Ravens $8 million and 6 draft choices and he’s ours.

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Skeuld1

So pass on Eric Reid because of his outspoken political view, but hire Mike Leach despite his outspoken political view? OK.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

See if I understand this article correctly the pewter boys want to keep Winston give him 21 million and get rid of half a dozen of the best players on the team to do that they also think it’s a good idea to put jpp Veta Vito and Carl Nassib to intimidate the offense into not running at them can only imagine how that will work out I next they will suggest Hugh Jackson for coach

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cgmaster27

Good players?! You think Grimes is good? How about mesean? You think gholston is worth the money? My goodness your idea of good in football is the opposite of anyone with a brain.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

Gerald McCoy Goldston DeSean Jackson to get rid of these players so you can keep a bust quarter back I’ve been having this argument with CJ master and Chef boho for 3 years and still here we are bottom of the league again same clowns defending Jameis Winston every year

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chefboho

Says the guy who wants to keep Desean because he’s “fast” you logic is as low as you knowledge of understanding football. You lose credibility when you literally talk about one thing and one thing only. I guess you know more than the Bucs brass when it comes to judging talent. Keep trying bob, one day you’ll move from couch coach to the corner with a nice tall yellow hat that says dunce on it.

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MizzouBucs24

Great article. Trying to trade McCoy or Brate is good idea not sure I would just cut them. Although McCoy should take a pay cut to stay. I have no idea what direction the Glazers will go when hiring a head coach. I just hope they are aggressive on both sides of the ball. I want to see an offense that has a weekly game plan to attack the opposing defense not just run the same old plays ever week. And a defense that plays aggressive and blitzes. Oh, and can we please draft some aggressive playmakers on defense and… Read more »

surferdudes

Buc ass, those half dozen players have won a total of 10 games in two years. Like it, or not the Bucs aren’t going to give up on a 25 year old Q.B. who was the 1st over all pick in the draft. They can move on from McCoy who’s been here 9 years, through many coaches, and hasn’t gotten close to helping turn this losing franchise around. With all due respect Scott, I’ll take Buckner’s view of Vea over yours, and Licht’s. Where do you come off thinking you know more then Buckner about defensive linemen? I hope the… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB

Gerald McCoy Goldston DeSean Jackson to get rid of these players so you can keep a bust quarter back I’ve been having this argument with CJ master and Chef boho for 3 years and still here we are bottom of the league again same clowns defending Jameis Winston every year and by the way that bust quarterback has only won six games in the last 2 years

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cgmaster27

Hey buc ass, list me one qb who has one with a bottom 5 defense and running game for 2 straight years? I’ll wait, but as usual when it comes to common sense questions, you hide.

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drdneast

I don’t see one player on that list any team would trade for at their current salary. Not even Brate and I like his play. Smith possible because $2 million for a serviceable G/C is a good bargain.Once again, that speaks volumes about Licht.

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FLBoyInDallas

Mike Leach would be an interesting hire. I wouldn’t be upset if he’s the guy. However, I do think Chris Petersen from the UW is an even more promising head coach with an outstanding offensive background as well as being a winner everywhere he’s been, and by a large margin. His overall record as a head coach is an amazing 139-32, and that’s while coaching two programs that aren’t exactly known as powerhouses in Boise State and the University of Washington. At both schools he took programs and instilled a very strong winning culture as well as consistent offensive success.… Read more »

Devasher

I kind of find it funny that Scott would be wary of Mike McCarthy (which he should be) despite his long and successful resume in GB given the past decade where Scott has gone after every coach in Tampa because there isn’t more success and has never shown an appetite to go after the people in charge of building the roster. So after 11 seasons of missing the playoffs with a revolving door of coaches we now consider that maybe a singular talent like Aaron Rodgers plays a bigger role than a specific play call or timeout the head coach… Read more »

surferdudes

No thanks to Leach as H.C.. He can get away with talking about college players like that, but that shit wouldn’t fly in a pro locker room. The clip of him talking about marriage was funny, but we’re looking for a H.C. Scott, not a lounge act. I really can’t believe Scott you’d want the Bucs to hire an old college coach who’s more of a comedian then he would be a leader of men. I’ll take an up, and comer Coordinator like Richard, LeFluer, or Beenimy.

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JohnGaltsGhost

Butt Leach, he’s a man he’s 40

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TheBaron70

And that’s the culture of losing. Losers can’t take honesty, neither can their fans. We lose because we think we have a roster of stars. Spoiler alert, we don’t. Do you think Leach we allow that BS to go on with Jackson. It’s complete nonsense. A guy like Jackson should have been called out in the media immediately for his crap. It would be refreshing in Tampa to have a football coach who actually didn’t hide things.

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Donovan Smith is a bottom tier left tackle and should paid like it. If someone wants to pay him like he is decent then let another team make that mistake.

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Move him to right tackle then pay him like a right tackle

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drdneast

Well said comments about MeShawn Jackson and Brett Grimes although my feelings about Grimes don’t run as strong because he did give us tow good years. If someone offered me $8 million to play one more year I would probably do it too even if my heart wasn’t in it. That falls on Licht. What galls me about Jackson is that for too long the media made it seem like it was Winston’s fault they weren’t connecting until on one TV broadcast a bright analyst observed that Winston didn’t seem to be having that problem with his other receivers. Then… Read more »

cgmaster27

Drd I’m glad someone else can see what those of us with a brain can see. If I were jameis id throw the ball at mesean feet every time. Late for meetings, sleeping in meetings, fighting coaches , and we still have people defending that cancer. If he was so good how come the eagles and Redskins couldnt wait to get rid of him? Hes a one trick pony that runs bad routes and has zero effort. Good riddance

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tog

I really like Leach as a coach and am a huge fan of his. I don’t know if he’d make a good NFL coach, but I hope so. He certainly would be fun to watch, I just don’t know if he has the leadership traits required. And can he hire a good staff? I would love to watch it though. It’s interesting that the Bucs can create cap room, but that also creates a lot of holes on a talent starved team. Not counting backups, you’re opening up a bunch of holes at RT, DT, NT, TE2 plus losing talent… Read more »

Jordan Chavez

Wow. Great article Scott. I don’t always agree with your views but I do always enjoy reading your material whether I agree with it or not and this article was one of the best I’ve ever read from you. Here are my few notes. 1. Vea is going to be a very good player for a long time. Like you’ve mentioned before, Vita hasn’t even played 5 full seasons of defensive line in his LIFE! He is just learning and will continue to get better. 2. I am a big UW fan. And even with saying that I would be… Read more »

stlbucsfan

This was a very good Fab 5. I agree with all of the cuts with exception of 2. I think we should simply re-structure GMCs contract. We need to improve the DL but not at the expense of creating a gaping hole. If he’s willing to re-structure which he should then keeping at around 7-8M makes a lot more sense. We still have JPP so going full throttle at a youth movement wont best utilize him. I agree that drafting someone like Oliver would be ideal but I still think a rotation of Vea, Oliver and GMC should be the… Read more »

Wausa

MIKE LEACH would be a fantastic hire for the Bucs. He knows what he’s doing and would bring a ton of excitement to the city.

If he is the Buc’s coach next year I think there is a great chance the Bucs have the number one ranked offense in the NFL next year.

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DT25

Good to see Cody Ford getting some love. Think a trade down and taking Ford might be my favorite option if Jonah, Bosa, and Quinnen Williams are off the board.

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Horse

I’m holding some comments until the game is over Sunday. I’m not listening to Koetter,Coaches, Licht, or well paid players; they all had their chances and chose something else. I’m ready to clean house. Yes we have quite a few holes to fill because the existing players weren’t very good.

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Bucfannomatter

Why? Because you are waiting on a bigger body of work?? Lmao. All of these losers need to go. Period. Now. Last week, actually.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

Keep Jameis and you will not get a top-level coach keep Jameis you’re going to get a second-tier coach in the same crap is going to happen again next year

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BucRy

Brate is the only player I would keep on that list, OJ has some injury issues so even though Brate may be a little overpaid, I still think he should be on the team.

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Captain Sly

I struggle with that one too, the problem is going to be the new HC’s offensive philosophy. How much value they give two TE sets. Brate may be a luxury we can’t afford. One thing I have not heard anyone talk about is hump making 5 mil I like Humphries but he’s not worth 5 mil if we’re talking about cutting all these players to create cap space.

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bucball1

Him an McCoy need to take a pay cut to stay we are not winning with all of these overpaid players clean house

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sunshineben

bucs need new gm,head coach and different qb. Stay tuned buc fans starting Monday as hopefully changes will be announced….Happy New Year to all !!

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Bucfannomatter

This RIDICULOUS Organization… Has won 10 games, in 2 years. TEN. ..IN TWO YEARS!!! The Saints won 13, this year. When can you say, we EVER won 13? Don’t care WHO STAYS. WHO GO’S. I root for ALL OF THEM GO! ALL. EVERY …SINGLE…ONE. IT’S freaking stupid. No one should survive the ridiculouslness that is Buccaneer football right now. Reset please.

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Bucfannomatter

Blow it UP!!!!! Blow it UP!!!! Blow it UP!!!! I manage the game better in my Madden video games, then Koetter has on most days, the last 3 years. When my girlfriend says to me “Why isn’t he calling a timeout”, and she’s RIGHT….. Time to say adios to these bunch of wanna be’s, and bring some people in here that can actually get the job done. Koetter was right earlier in the season…they should have ALLL…. BEEN FIRED. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. Just throwing some truth at you folks. Reset button. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No… Read more »

Bucfannomatter

Any of you clowns that want to see another year of what you just saw…..???? Go buy yourselves some tickets. You’ll be the only ones there. Or better yet… Save the money, and poke yourselves in the eye with a fork. That will be the equivalent of oneore year of these chumps.

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Bucfannomatter

Cap crunch my a$$. Let them ALL…GO. Brate’s the only on there worth keeping anyway, and he’s nothing special.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

There’s going to be an opening for six to seven coaches come Monday and I don’t think they’re six or seven good coaches out there to be hired I don’t see any urgency out of the glaciers at this time to get a good coach so it’ll be interesting to see what happens

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Bucsfan1983

Keep McCoy, Brate and Anger. Re-sign Kwon, Humphries and Donovan(if he’ll move to G or RT, if not, don’t re-sign).

Scott I’m starting to real warm up to the idea of Mike Leach.

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DrT1066

Do a Belicheat and trade McCoy for a second and third while he still has some value. The draft is loaded with DTs
When the Bucs had a great defense and no offense they got Gruden.
When the Colts had a great offense and a bad defense they got Dungy.
The Bucs don’t need Leach. They need a defensive coach. Jim
Schwartz?

Dungy..

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76Buc

They didn’t have a great offense ever until now.

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EastEndBoy

The problem with moving on from all those guys is that we still need players to play the game….and we have massive holes at CB and OL. If we hire a competent GM who can draft us a solution to CB and one (or with the will of Zeus, two) new OLinemen, that leaves no real draft capital to replace all of these guys you want to cut. So, are the FAs better and cheaper than these guys…I doubt it.

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76Buc

Leach and Schiano are the same guy. Been down that road.

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76Buc

Change that. Leach is Schiano with a sense of humor.

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76Buc

Keep McCoy and Brate. Aloha to the rest.

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76Buc

I wouldn’t want to cover Jackson or Grimes (I would like to cover his Miko). I think we should hire the cheating chic in the photo for morale purposes.

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