Mike Leach has never been afraid to speak his mind. (Or to lock a kid in an equipment shed if you believe Craig James.) Earlier this week, Washington State’s head coach shared his thoughts about the differences between conferences… specifically, the difference between the SEC and everyone else:
“Everybody loves to try to talk about these differences. Conferences want their (own identity). ‘They’re the power conference, they’re the speed conference, they’re the skill conference.’ All that’s a bunch of baloney, I’ll tell you that. Once you’re in one of the major conferences, everybody’s got 300-pounders, everybody’s got people that can run. As boring as this answer is, although it’s unique and more accurate, these conferences are all the same.
The difference with the SEC that does exist — don’t think in the SEC that the skill guys are any faster or better than the skill guys in the other conferences — what I do think is different is defensive front guys. They’ve got good speed in their defensive fronts. In other words, in the SEC, I think, a lot of time, you’ll see teams playing with four bona fide, good-looking, talented defensive linemen, where I do think that other conferences are playing with two or something like that.
After that, I’m telling you, not to dash any hopes, they’re very similar and remarkably the same.”
There’s no question that Leach knows what he’s talking about as he’s coached all over, including in the SEC. But the fact that NFL teams draft more SEC players each year than players from other leagues tempers his statement just a bit.