Mike Leach is one of the most controversial figures in all of college football. And one of his disciples is now running an SEC offense.
Phil Longo was hired as Ole Miss’ offensive coordinator. For those who don’t know, Longo produced the FCS’ most prolific offense at Sam Houston State last year as the offensive coordinator. And he sights Leach and former Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury as major influences.
So when he was asked on what he thought about Leach’s comments on the SEC, he complemented the former Kentucky offensive coordinator. Longo appeared on the Paul Finebaum show on Friday.
“Mike has his views with regards to what he’s done,” Longo said. “He was ultra successful offensively with what we all do with the air raid in the SEC. He would certainly know better how this offense fits in the conference. I’m certainly hopeful that have the same success because we’re doing a lot of the same things.”
On Thursday, Leach ranted to Antonio Morales of the Jackson-Clarion Ledger. Leach has time in the SEC as an offensive coordinator, as he was at Kentucky for the 1997 and 98 seasons as the offensive coordinator. He helped mold Tim Couch into the No. 2 pick.
But when Leach was asked about current SEC offenses, he didn’t hold back.
“First, it becomes it won’t work,” Leach said. “Second, they basically say oh it’s a system, suggesting that people who don’t do it that way, who just run it up the middle, stick all your asses together so one hand grenade can kill everybody, that’s the right way to do it. Since they do it the right way, they’re OK with the fact they lost.
“This is a great time to be in the SEC, everybody’s got the same offense: run right, run left, play action. And they tease themselves and say we threw it four more times a game this year than we did last year.”
As for Longo’s own offensive philosophy, he plans on bringing both a mix of what Leach and Kingsbury do.
He’s the purest, he’s the guy who started it all. He keeps it simple. With Kliff, I think he’s the best wrinkle guy or game plan guy,” Longo said. “I probably somewhere in the middle. I try to steal from the two of them.”
Ole Miss went 5-7 last season and missed a bowl game for the first time in the Hugh Freeze era. The Rebels do return quarterback Shea Patterson, who started the final three games of the regular season.