Here’s the text of Mike Leach’s comments from the head coach presser.
I’ve always admired coach Nutt. I actually started following him clear back at Murray State and the rest where he did some impressive stuff.
Never been to a bowl game wasn’t thrilled to be at. Hoping we can schedule one next week.
My first experience with the Cotton Bowl was when I was at OU, and we were getting ready to face Texas.
We were going down the tunnel and an exchange had taken place with Barry Switzer, Darrell Royal and President Gerald Ford, and an OU fan started screaming, “Who are those two guys with Switzer?”
We left a dummy script laying around on the field, and I don’t know if they actually looked at the script or were trying to bird dog us. What I do know is Antwone Savage, a freshman, caught a ball across the middle. This is like the second play of the game. He catches the ball. He’s a freshman, and he goes sprinting down there for a touchdown.
He’s so excited to score that touchdown that he drops the ball like on the 2-yard line, I’m not kidding. He thinks he’s already in. The ball’s back there on the 2, but the refs were as excited as Antwone Savage was. They signal touchdown, and to this day that touchdown’s never even come close. They gave it to us nevertheless. We figured we had our hands full coaching, so we weren’t going to mess around with officiating too.
(How much have you seen Crabtree’s replay on ESPN?)
Quite a bit. It’s more routine than folks think it is. It’s something we work on everyday. I was obviously excited about it. I thought we should have been farther ahead at the time, so that part I wasn’t very pleased with.
They overplayed the coverage, Graham threw it underneath, and Crabtree did a great job of turning and running straight upfield. He couldn’t have gotten out of bounds if he had to, but he wanted to get the end zone, and he got it.
I think the timing was the big thing. That’s what makes it memorable. I’m glad it’s on TV all the time, and everybody should look at it closer, closer, write a lot of stories about it and then have people reflect on it positively for decades to come.
(Does Nutt’s offense create some style problems for you guys?)
Oh absolutely. He invented the Wild Hog, you know. Guess who they’re going to snap the ball to, then they’re in motion while they’re doing all that.
That’s one thing both teams have in common in that we do have offenses that not everybody sees all the time.
Any time you have any success offensively all of a sudden it’s a gimmick. If you have success defensively you just play really hard, and you’re really tough.
IF you have success offensively it’s a gimmick. Everybody else isn’t trying to score points, only you are.
Theirs is unique. You don’t get to see it all the time. Stuff comes at you from different angles, but there’s nothing gimmicky about it.
The most important thing on any offense is to block. What’s great about their offense is the execution. The uniqueness just makes it that much tougher.
There’s a whole bunch of these that run between the tackles that are knighted as the Saint of Offense. It’s like if we wanted to score 40 points a game we would, we just want to do this. No, you don’t want to do that, you just don’t have any imagination. That’s just an alibi for your failure to score as many points as somebody who does.
Sadly in our case, Mississippi is not one of those teams. They put the ball in everybody’s hands, and they attack the whole field.