Mike Leach: ‘Crabtree Needs to Play this Season and the 49ers Need to Sign Their First Round Pick’

September 1, 2009 – 12:00 pm by Jimmy Shapiro

SRI continues to work in new writers preparing for the upcoming football season. This post is courtesy of Tim Gunter from 790 the Zone in Atlanta.

After threatening Texas Tech that he would walk away from the program over a contract dispute, Mike Leach is poised to make another run at Texas Tech. With the loss of Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree to the NFL, it won’t be an easy task to fulfill. The Red Raiders will look to a redshirt junior, Taylor Potts, to pick up where Graham Harrell left off. Prior to Mike Leach’s arrival, Texas Tech had only three official winning seasons since 1990 due to a huge academic scandal. Since he burst onto the scene in 2000, the Red Raiders have gone 76-39 with one Big 12 South Conference Division Title. Mike Leach joined Into the Night with Tony Bruno on Fox Sports Radio to give his thoughts on the naysayers of Texas Tech football, the Michael Crabtree situation in San Francisco, and his thoughts on Graham Harrell going undrafted.

Are you bummed that people are not expecting much out of Texas Tech this year?

“Well I don’t really pay a lot of attention. We’ve got some really good players here and we are excited about them. We are a team that is really playing well together and kind of emerging up. I’ll tell you a part of it, I think it started building last year. You know as we went into last season in kind of the off-season leading into the last season where we had a team that had really good chemistry and I think it’s continued to build. At some point I thought that maybe it would plateau but it continued to build after last season through spring through camp to the point where I think for everybody including the mast majority of our players. You always have a malcontent somewhere where everybody is excited to play, excited to be around one another and just excited to get out there and play. So it really is I think a lot of fun for everybody this year.”

Have you had a chance to talk to Michael Crabtree? And why hasn’t he signed? Is he a diva?

“Well I think a couple things. First of all, all that stuff is a two-way deal. This isn’t just a Michael Crabtree deal. This is a 49er deal and Michael Crabtree’s representation and the rest. I deliberately stayed out of it and I want virtually nothing to do with it. But I wish the best for Michael but you know there is just about it. Michael Crabtree needs to play this season and the 49ers need to sign their first round pick and that’s pretty much all there is to it. I think both sides need to consider how much they gain or lose by coming to an agreement that whatever meets in the middle. And so but at any rate, I think that you know and that’s one of the things that I think has really made Michael Crabtree is his ability to focus on what counts for him which is working out and getting better at being the best receiver he can. He’s always really did have that discipline as far as just letting the people do their job and handle it rather than worry and dabble in other people’s business. In other words, I guarantee you and this is just knowing him, he’s not messing with his representation or any of that. They are handling it and he is going to stay prepared and ready to go when the time comes.”

With Graham Harrell going undrafted and having to sign in the CFL, does that still bug you?

“Well it doesn’t really tick me off but it certainly validates my opinion on how they do as far as evaluating quarterbacks. The point that I’ve made that I’venever heard challenged, is if the NFL had the ability to evaluate quarterbacks every one of them would be a first round pick. But there’s more free agents starting in the NFL than there are first round picks. So I mean clearly that’s the case I think some of it has to do with the fact that evaluating a quarterback is kind of an elusive endeavor to begin with. I think part of it is the fact that the people coaching these quarterbacks and the majority of cases are not the ones selecting the quarterbacks. And then I think the third thing is what I think people value in a quarterback’s play is fairly flawed. Like right now, I think the single biggest values for a quarterback, that the NFL values, is size, speed and strength. That really doesn’t work very good when you consider most of the NFL Hall of Fame would be emptied out if they were measured by the same stick. And so I think Graham’s got an opportunity there at Saskatchewan and he need to make the most of it. I mean and there’s more than this but you know Warren Moon is in the NFL Hall of Fame and did it going through Canada. Kurt Warner is going to be in the NFL Hall of Fame and he did it through the Arena Football League. And just because Graham Harrell has to take a different course than some of them just means that that’s part of it and that’s the way it goes. So any draft, post-mortems or any of that, he just needs to take the most of the opportunity that he has and make the very most of it.”

Listen to Mike Leach on Into the Night with Tony Bruno (17:45 into podcast)

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