The cavalry supporting Mike Leach against complaints from Craig James and his son Adam has officially arrived.
(Clockwise from top left: Harrell, Loper, January)
Adam Zuvanich of the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL has four former Tech players defending Leach’s methods while blasting Adam James as a ‘prima donna’ and claiming the reason for Leach’s suspension was the media profile of Adam’s father. (Craig is an ESPN announcer.)
Former Tech offensive lineman and current Tennessee Titan Daniel Loper:
Some former Tech players, who said they have been in contact with current Red Raiders and the coaching staff, questioned the validity of James’ complaint as well as his motives and intentions. They also said James has a reputation for being soft and somewhat of a prima donna.
“I think some people honestly are not tough enough to play college football, and (James) might be one of them, especially if he’s worried about being called out or humiliated,” Loper said. “… Sometimes that happens, especially at the collegiate level. It’s not like high school and Pop Warner, where everyone gets to play and gets a pat on the back. Sometimes coaches can be mean and yell.”
Former Tech offensive lineman and Glenn January:
January said the shed in which James spent practice on Dec. 17 might have been the most appropriate place to deal with his concussion, because it kept him out of the sunlight. January said he and his teammates on the offensive line often retreated to the same shed during practices to rest and escape the heat.
“It’s not like it’s some dungeon,” he said.
January and some other former Tech players also suggested the incident wouldn’t have been scrutinized if James wasn’t the son of Craig James, a former SMU and NFL standout who now works as a television analyst for ESPN.
“It’s basically a non-issue,” January said. “The only reason it’s getting any attention is because of who his dad is.”
More from Loper:
“Anybody that looks into this story should not be shied away,” Loper said. “I don’t know the whole situation with Adam’s father and his influence, and I don’t know if they’re thinking they’re being mistreated like the deal at Kansas. I don’t think this is a situation where (Leach) should be fired or even suspended. From what I’ve heard, I think it’s a little over the line.”
Former Tech quarteback Graham Harrell:
“He was hard on us,” Harrell said, “but it wasn’t like he ever threatened us or put us in a situation that was dangerous to us.”
Former Tech player Eric Morris was also cited as supporting Leach in the matter.
Interesting to note the marked difference between this situation and the Mark Mangino episode. Mangino received no such early support after accusations from multiple current and former KU players - and their parents in some case.
The fact that James originally came to Tech as a walk-on perhaps is also fueling the reaction of former players. Between accusation and reaction, the truth of the matter is probably somewhere in the middle.
The wildcard in this situation is the disdain for which Leach is held by Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers, who has tried to force Leach out in the past. Remember, Leach is owed an $800,000 ‘completion bonus’ if he is the Tech head coach this Friday. We could be setting up for a huge legal battle in short order.