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Just The Sports: Mike Leach QBs

Just The Sports

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mike Leach QBs

In the left-handed Mike Leach, college football has one of the most creative offensive minds, who has become both famous and successful for his passing-laden attack as an offensive coordinator and now head coach for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, a system that has turned almost every quarterback he's had under him into a prolific passing machine. Under Mike Leach's tenure in college football since 1997, he has had two kinds of quarterbacks. There are those quarterbacks who experienced only one season as a starter (Josh Heupel, B.J. Symons, Sonny Cumbie, and Cody Hodges) and then the college quarterbacks who spent at least two seasons under the tutelage of Mike Leach (Tim Couch, Kliff Kingsbury, and Graham Harrell).

Of the four players who only quarterbacked one season for Mike Leach, Cody Hodges edged out B.J. Symons and Sonny Cumbie for the most prolific passers. Hodges completed 66.5% of his 4,238 pass attempts in the 2005 season for 8.0 yards per pass attempt. He also receives the distinction of throwing the fewest pass attempts per game of any Mike Leach quarterback (44.3). Symons completed 65.4% of his passes for 7.8 yards per pass attempt and Cumbie completed 65.5% of his passes for 7.4 yards per pass attempt, which means Symons has the slight advantage to place second among the one-season starters. Surprisingly, it was Josh Heupel, who later quarterbacked the Oklahoma Sooners to a national championship, who proved himself least proficient in the Mike Leach system. Heupel only completed 63.0% of his passes for 7.0 yards per pass attempt.

As for the three quarterbacks who spent more than one year starting, it is the latest one, Graham Harrell who has been most prolific. In Harrell's two years as starter with a third on the way, he has completed an astounding 70.0% of his 10,260 pass attempts with 7.8 yards per pass attempt, superior to Tim Couch's 69.1% completion percentage for 7.4 yards per pass attempt and far surpassing Kliff Kingsbury's 65.8% completion percentage and 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Fortunately for Tim Couch, as the first Division I-A quarterback under Mike Leach, he was able to trick the Cleveland Browns into paying him at least $20 million dollars before everyone found out he was a product of the college system in which he played.

Like Aaron Rodgers of the Tedford quarterbacks and Colt Brennan over Timmy Chang, both Cody Hodges and Graham Harrell, provided Harrell maintains the Playstation-type numbers he has already put it, should feel proud of themselves for being the best of the Mike Leach quarterbacks in their respective categories as one-year starters and more than one-year starters.



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