Mike Leach on the balance “myth”

He’s said things before like what you’ll hear beginning at the 1:27 mark.

The transcript is here.  It’s good stuff.

“Balance, whether you run it or throw it, is getting contribution from all the skill positions. Ours is a balanced offense. The wishbone is a balanced offense. Some I-tailback offense, it may be a great offense, it may be great for the team that they play for, where you’re giving it to the back 40 times. There’s nothing balanced about it. It doesn’t even add up to balance. We try to be balanced based on contributions by all the skill positions.”


Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!

16 responses to “Mike Leach on the balance “myth”

  1. Joe Nails

    YAR! I like that guy and think he’s a good coach no matter what Craig James says. Sure would be interesting to see what kind of numbers he could put up if Grantham was running his defense….


  2. gastr1

    I think you’d have a hard time getting an ace defensive coordinator to be on his staff, though, because an offense that fast makes stout defense so difficult.


  3. Nate Dawg

    Just a reminder, brethren, after you watch Vandy have their way with sakerlina next Thur night you can hang on afterwards to see the Pirate in coaching-action for the first time at WSU. They play BYU afterward on the four letter. I know it’s a late kick on a school night, but after 7 months, I couldn’t care less…


  4. Derek

    The importance of balance is to dictate to the defense rather than the other way around, period. He can describe it any way he wants to but my guess is that if wsu played bama, they’d quickly find they were not balanced because there would be no running and then they’d start taking his qb apart piece by piece. On the other hand if wsu had a big physical o-line and a stable of backs they might be able to maintain some balance.


  5. Macallanlover

    Like Nate, I am looking forward to The Pirate;s debut next Thursday after the SEC contest. I don’t know what kind of athletes or experience he inherited but the product is always interesting if he has anything. Might take a year or two but they will bring some disruption to the PAC 12.

    I loved his definition of “balance” the first time I heard it and think offensive coaches should heed his advice. Who really cares about the number of running vs pass plays? Take what the defense gives you, make them defend the entire field and prepare for all your skill players.


  6. Gravidy

    I don’t mean to denigrate The Pirate. I’m a fan. But he’s playin’ kinda fast and looser with his definition of balance. Why, exactly, is throwing it 60 times a game more “balanced” than running it 40 times a game?


    • Gravidy



    • N. Webster

      Because balance is defined differently than just simply running versus passing. I am guessing that the standard definition of balance that most use is offense-centric; meaning that balance is only concerned about what the offense does. However, the definition of balance for Mike Leach is what the offense does in relation to the defense. Balance is running plays versus passing defense and passing plays versus a run defense, in the simplest of forms. Therefore if the defense utilizes a running defense 60 times a game then balance dictates that you throw the ball 60 times a game.

      There could be another way to define what balance means. This is a bit more complicated. Since it seems that Mike Leach wants to be proactive in putting the defense on their heels then balance could be defined as what the offense does to offset the defense. Meaning that by analyzing the defense there are holes that are found in the defense and attacking those holes over and over again is the best way to win. This would create balance not in types of plays but in how the offense either reacts to the defense or is putting the defense out.

      This is an oversimplification but the idea is to forget run vs pass as the foundation of balance. By putting offense versus what the defense gives/holes found in the defense on each end of the scale then you can get a better idea of what balance to Mike Leach is.


      • Gravidy

        I think my snarkiness may have been too far under the radar. I get all the different nuances you and other make about “balance”. I just don’t like the pursuit of balance for the sake of balance. And neither does Leach. He throws it all the time and then hides behind his definition of balance as a defense of his offense. I would much rather him look at the pencil-necked reporter who asked him a boilerplate question about “balance” and say. “Hell, no, my offense isn’t balanced! But it is damned effective!”

        As this all relates to Georgia (or blaming Bobo, as it were)… I am an old school kind of guy. My wish would be for Georgia to have the ability and the will to run the ball down everyone’s throats. But I realize that isn’t realistic. The truth is that I don’t care how they win. They can run it or throw it 60 times, and I won’t care as long as they win. What drives me nuts is to see them move away from whatever is working in the name of balance.


      • Hackerdog

        Actually, Leach is just referring to who touches the ball. Take an SEC team that averages 60 plays per game. If the tailback gets 30 carries, the #1 receiver gets 15 balls thrown his way, with 8 balls thrown to the #2 receiver and 7 balls to the #3, #4, and TE, then you have balance in run vs. pass. But, the offense is heavily weighted toward the tailback and #1 receiver.

        Imagine playing South Carolina. If you can render Lattimore ineffective, they often don’t have a plan B.

        Leach, on the other hand, wants to spread the ball around. For his 60 plays, he wants each of his 5 receivers to get 5-10 balls thrown their way. Add in 10-15 carries from a running back, and you get balance. Sure, it’s 75% pass and 25% run. But, there’s no one person to key off of. If you take away one back or one receiver, you’ve only eliminated 15% of Leach’s offensive plan, not 50%.


        • Macallanlover

          That is the way I understand it as well, and I think it is pretty damned smart. Make the DC realize there are 5-6 players to worry about on each snap and forget what percentage of plays are run/pass. With the baility to use the short passes as running plays these days, the old standard is becoming obsolete.


  7. Bubs

    I blame his fat little girlfriends.


  8. Todd

    I think we can all agree Alabama is not “balanced”. They will run and then throw to keep you honest. Nothing flashy, and rather vanilla. As Saban says “you dominate the man in front of you and you make his ass quit.”. That kind of offense needs a good defense. If they get behind, it is hard to make up points.


  9. Barfly

    Love Mike Leach as a coach, but….

    You don’t win the SEC these days unless you average 215+ yards per game rushing.