Swing Your Sword by Mike Leach

Now, I know this book has been out a while; but, I just now got around to reading (and finishing it in a day).  First off, I think Mike Leach has brought a lot of good to college football: from an innovative offense to actually making his players graduate and even though I’m a Texas grad, I always loved watching Tech play (and occasionally beat Texas and our stale offense powered by Greg Davis’ patented low-powered East-West offense).  It’s a shame that they fired Leach because I used to know the game with Tech would be a great game.. now, it just stinks (even with Texas being terrible, it still isn’t a good game).

The book starts out with Leach talking about his upbringing and he throws in stories here and there and it rambles around; much like I imagine any conversation with Mike Leach would go (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).  He then talks about all his college coaching jobs and his various offensive philosophies and how to best run a football program.  Then, he also goes into detail about the whole Adam James scandal and you can probably figure out which side of the fence I fall on for that.

I can’t remember quite how long the book was other than the fact it took me one night to read it, so I’m going to say about 250 pages.  I found it well worth the time spent reading it, and it is an interesting book written by an interesting coach who is probably more interesting than the most interesting man in the world.

On the Prevent Defense in Football…

As I was sitting at home last night watching the college bowl games on TV I once again saw something that bothers me everytime I see it happen.  The Prevent Defense.

In my opinion this is one of the worst defenses to use when trying to defend your narrow lead over the opposing team.  Why is it that a team would purposefully stop using the defense that helped get them the lead in the first place?  The idea of the prevent defense is to prevent a big play such as a long pass from occurring.  So you load up your defense with a bunch of DBs and go easy on the linemen then hope they don’t throw a 60 yard completetion on you.

The problem is, since your DBs play so far back and you have so few linemen, all the short passes are open to the opposing team.  Sure 7 yards here, 5 yards there doesn’t seem like a lot, but two or three plays and the other team has a first down.  And another 3 to 4 plays to get within scoring position.  Again the offense will abuse the defense and pick up some more short passes that can break into big yards.  Then before you realized the team that was down by 2 is now within field goal range with 30 seconds left to play.  Ice the kicker with your remaining time outs?  Sure, why not.  But do you really think that does anything to the kicker?  From watching the NFL and a lot of college games – it does nothing other than postpone them making the field goal.  In some cases it has given the kicker a second chance to make the field goal.

Now, what good has that prevent defense done?  Nothing, other than preventing your team from winning.  Sure you stopped the long bomb but you didn’t stop them from winning the game.  Please defensive coordinators – remember the defense that got you the lead and don’t go away from it.