I've heard from a lot of people posting on various sports blogs that Mike Leach's play calling and time management strategy on the last drive were absolutely terrible and made no sense. But I whole heartedly disagree. It certainly wasn't the best "time management" drive (and in some senses was counter productive to that end), but I still thought at the time that Leach was making the right calls. And even though it didn't produce on the scoreboard, I think it was sound strategy.
By calling the pass plays and going for it on 4th down, I think Leach was making a statement to both players and fans that we were not going to be afraid of this UNLV team. Taking those shots did have a slight inherent risk, but this was a terrible Rebels team, one that we should be much better than. I won't be surprised if tomorrow when asked about the drive, Leach tells reporters "Even though we were up by 8 points, I still saw puppy dog eyes up and down the sideline, our players were worried that we might lose this game, so I decided to make a statement."
The time management game is a well understood art, and certainly not something lost on the genius that is Mike Leach. It's a strategy that must be employed in big games when the other team has the talent to take the lead in the waning seconds and it is crucial to limit the time they have with the ball. It is, by definition, playing to not lose. We should never have to play to not lose against a team like UNLV. It is my opinion that Leach was making a statement to the players, trying to change the mentality that this team seems to be stuck in.
You may disagree with the strategy, or whether it was necessary, but its insulting when people imply that leach had no clue what he was doing. This is a coach who has taken 10 teams to 10 bowl games in 10 years, he knows what he's doing.