Back in November, Washington State Cougars coach Mike Leach set the world of Twitter ablaze when he suggested that he might teach a class in spring semester, and the topic was perfectly Leach: “Leadership Lessons in Insurgent Warfare & Football Strategy.”
That was the last anyone heard of it ... until tonight.
”Here is a draft overview of Insurgent Warfare & Football class we may teach in Mar-Apr. Unconfirmed right now. If we do teach we are interested in two class assistants - ideally a WSU student veteran and/or potentially interested in a coaching career.” pic.twitter.com/5S2LfnD48Y— Mike Leach (@Coach_Leach) January 14, 2019
Since the fine print is hard to read, let me take care of some of that for you:
- It would be co-taught with former Washington state Senator Michael Baumgartner, who is both a Coug and a worked as a civilian for the State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan during those wars, prior to his political service.
- It would be five weeks long, running from March 27 to April 24.
- The essential question of the course: “How can insurgent forces facing a large conventional force develop and utilize asymmetric advantages to prevail in battle?”
It’s in that last bit that those of you familiar with Leach’s Air Raid can see the parallels — the pass-first offense was devised by Leach and Hal Mumme at little Iowa Wesleyan as a means of surviving against more powerful foes. And from there to Valdosta State to Kentucky to Oklahoma to Texas Tech to Washington State, Leach has engaged in his own football version of “insurgent warfare” while beating up on teams with far greater resources.
The sessions are broken up roughly half and half between military strategy (presumably handled by Baumgartner, who was involved with the counterinsurgency effort in the Iraq War) and football strategy. While military strategy might be your bag, football strategy is mine, and I would love to hear a different take from Leach on football strategy in general, and the following topics in particular:
- WSU vs. Cal 2014, in which the two teams combined for more than 1,400 yards and 119 points. (Cal was coached by former Leach assistant Sonny Dykes, running his version of the offense — the Bear Raid.) (Also, we’re far enough removed from how that game ended now ... right?)
- Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of prominent Air Raid quarterbacks.
- The “Lost” Play Script of the Red River Rivalry.
- “The Big Gulp Formation and modern adaptations of the Single Wing.”
Of course, there are some required pre-readings, including Leach’s two books — which means he’s got this faculty thing down pat already. (Credit for that joke goes to Kevin Dudley.)
Also, the final assessment includes designing three football plays — one has to be red zone — for WSU’s game against Houston. (You know Leach is going to pick one and use it.)
I’ll be honest: When I saw the first tweet in November, I was kinda like ... whatever. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard every Leach story at this point. But now? I’d kill to be there. It should be really interesting and probably a ton of fun.
If only there was some way to attend a class remotely ... like, say, broadcasting the classes over a website that can transmit video from Pullman to my home? Can we get on that, President Schulz?
Note: An earlier version of this story identified Senator Baumgartner as a veteran. He is not. Sorry about that!