All the upheaval in college football this offseason has left a number of accomplished head coaches jobless. Thus, fans naturally fall in love with the idea of bringing in a guy like Mike Leach to fill an opening on a program's staff, as was discussed in Westwood when UCLA faced the prospect of losing offensive coordinator Norm Chow to USC.
As soon as the news of Mark Mangino's dismissal at Kansas broke, for instance, nostalgic Oklahomans lit up message boards with theories about how to get the man who ran the Sooners' offense during their 2000 national championship run back in the fold.
Idle chatter among overzealous diehards is one thing. Now, however, comes a report from FootballCoachScoop.com that Bob Stoops has talked to South Florida's ousted head man Jim Leavitt about joining OU's defensive staff to coach defensive ends.
If true, I have some unsolicited advice: Don't go there, Bob.
I'm not questioning the fiery Leavitt's credentials. He built USF's program up from literally nothing. He succeeded in not only getting the Bulls off the ground, but in making them competitive in the Big East in nearly no time. He was one of the hottest names on the coaching circuit for a time. Through his stint at Kansas State, Leavitt also has ties to Stoops and OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
If you're backing Leavitt, I'm not going to fight you there. He'd probably be the most overqualified defensive ends coach in the country.
But Leavitt didn't get run out of Tampa because of how his teams performed. He stands accused by USF of not only physically abusing a player, but orchestrating a cover-up as well.
Did he do it? Did Leach mistreat his players? Did Mangino? I don't know. More importantly, I don't care.
If the events of the past few weeks have shown anything, it's that the days when drill sergeants took their cues from football coaches are long gone. Kids these days won't take cruel and unusual punishment that is supposedly making them into better football players. Frankly, they shouldn't have to.
Time may clear the names of Leach, Mangino and Leavitt. I hope it does. But, until then, what kind of message would Stoops hiring Leavitt send to recruits? For now, he's toxic.
Leavitt deserves his day in court, and it sounds like he's intent on getting it. That doesn't mean Stoops and the Sooners should make his problems their own.