If you want a peak at Mike Leach's football philosophy, don't watch his film. Report to the Old Main Wingo Auditorium on Mississippi State's campus this Friday at 5 p.m., but you'll need to secure a ticket ahead of time.
Leach is bringing his insurgent warfare and football class to MSU after first introducing it at Washington State. Leach first taught the class alongside Michael Baumgartner, at the time a Washington state senator and now the treasurer of Spokane County, Wash. The two were part of a traveling party to Cambodia in the 2018 offseason.
"While Leach will share his football expertise, Baumgartner will use his own background to enlighten the audience," the MSU announcement reads. "He previously served as a State Department Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during the Iraq surge, helping coordinate economic and counterinsurgency operations."
As we wrote when Leach and Baumgartner first taught this class in 2019, understanding the tactics of insurgent warfare is the key to unlocking one of the most fascinating and influential minds in college football history. Here's what I wrote back then:
On the surface, the entire topic sounds like an elaborate joke in mixing two topics completely unrelated to each other... until you remember who's teaching the class. Guerrilla warriors use unconventional tactics seen as "beneath" proper armies to even the playing field against their Establishment opponents -- and, really, the Air Raid offense is just the football version of Guerrilla warfare, isn't it?
Leach's long-reported fascination with Geronimo isn't an accident. In that 19th century Apache resistance hero, Leach sees a version of himself, guiding he and his band of misfit followers in a folk tale uprising against the United States army and/or the blue-bloods of the Pac-12 Conference, depending on the hero of this particular story.
"You're getting a group to work together when there's chaos going on everywhere," Leach said. "Of course, there are goals and objectives and things you have to protect as far as vulnerabilities. Then there are things you have that are strengths you want to utilize. And then the more strengths you can discover and utilize, the more vulnerabilities you can find on the opponent and the better off you'll be."
"I just hope those who come have the opportunity to kind of enjoy football and see there are similarities with other things going on."
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.