College football is certainly significantly duller without Mike Leach.
Leach unexpectedly passed away last season due to a heart condition, and as Alabama prepares for Mississippi State this weekend under new head coach Zach Atnett, Nick Saban took a chance to remember “The Pirate.”
“I loved Mike Leach,” Saban said to the media on Monday. “He was different, but in a good way. Had a great sense of humor. Obviously presented an offensive system, scheme, whatever you want to call it that was unique and very challenging, but he believed in it and did it his way.
“I always had a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach but I really liked him as a person.”
Leach was one of the innovators of the Air Raid offense throughout his career at Texas Tech and Washington State. He would then bring the offensive approach to the SEC in 2020 when he was named the head coach of the Bulldogs.
In his three seasons at Mississippi State, Leach posted a record of 19-17 with each with his team’s win total increasing every season. During his final year, he led Mississippi State to a record of 8-4 but passed prior to the Bulldog’s win in the ReliaQuest Bowl.
Accompanying all the wins and high-flying offenses were legendary sideline interviews and press conferences where Leach would cover topics ranging from Netflix recommendations and wedding advice making him one of the most unique characters college football has seen.
Alabama will kickoff against Mississippi State on Saturday, in Starkville with ESPN on the call.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77