When you do this long enough, bizarre things start to seep into your subconscious. Last night I dreamed I missed a call on my cell phone from Dave Wannstedt – instead of the number showing up on the screen, it was the url of a "Coach Wannstedt" Web site that doesn't exist in reality, and when I hit the button to return the call, he answered boisterously. I told him who I was and that I had just missed his call, but there was no reply. I was in my old bedroom in the house I grew up in [promoted from the basement, eh? Hur Hur – Bissinger] and the ancient television in my room was too loud. When I tried to turn the volume down, though, nothing happened, even when I tried to turn the damn thing off and then unplug it – the terrible music was seeping in from the real world, from the radio in my actual room, which eventually woke me up, and I never found out what my neuromodular Wannstedt, in his full Freudian regalia, demanded of me. Maybe he just wanted to thank me for recognizing the Panthers' true potential? I was hoping for a job, on the strength of my spread offense skills in NCAA Football, maybe.
Careful with him, guys. Reporters got next.
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But no matter how strange things get in my own head, they unfortunately will never match for sheer weirdness the random, rapid fire absurdity perpetually rattling around the skull of Mike Leach. We knew this already; SMQ and the rest of the blogs have been exploiting his eccentricities for our own gain for years, and as far as the mainstream set goes, Saturday's profile in the Lincoln Star Journal is not only rather shallow but decidedly on the heels of Mark Schlabach's Leach expose earlier this month in terms of pirates, post-impressionist knockoffs and general gawking at an odd man in a typically straight-laced role. We're all on the heels of the Michael Lewis piece from 2005 that I can't help reading all the way through every time I pull it up.
Still, there's one really good line in the Journal Star article that contributes to the growing Leach canon:
LeRoy Neiman does great art of sporting events, said Leach, the Texas Tech head coach. Leach also is a fan of the late Jackson Pollock, although the coach feels the painter sometimes went “a little too far.”
“I’d like it more toward Van Gogh, you know?” Leach said. “If Van Gogh were to paint a football game, to me that would be kind of interesting."
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Hat tip: The Wiz
This could be a tossed-off quote for another reporter wandering by to see a few minutes of the circus. Maybe, but I'd much rather take it as an indication of how Leach's staunchly un-doctrinaire mind sees the field – Bill Walsh saw offense like it was a machine, or a computer program, moving parts in space that operated precisely according to predictable, exploitable patterns; he once wrote about tapping a play out with his fingers on his wife's back while they hugged at a restaurant, and she asked him, "Did it work?" Leach seems like he's more likely to scribble the play all over the table cloth: colors and patterns that can never be precisely determined in the abstract, that are always free to go wherever it is they need to go, on the fly, until they swirl together into something equally indecipherable and brilliant. Walsh won games on Wednesday and Thursday; Leach never played the game and claims he doesn't even have a playbook. He just sees it and reacts.
Or whatever. A lot of writers will be coming out of the woodwork for a Leach story between now and September, and god help us if Tech is as good as some people expect it to be. He has to tell them something.