Mike Leach — One-Sentence-Answer Coach Unless Discussing Turkey Bacon or Halloween

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Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach has been a man of few words this week, even though he is coming off an impressive 45-6 victory over Vanderbilt.

This may be because his Bulldogs (4-3, 2-2 SEC) are hosting No. 12 Kentucky (6-1, 4-1), one of the best teams in the SEC, at 6 p.m. Saturday on the SEC Network, though the Wildcats are only a 1.5-point favorite by FanDuel.

Asked about his team’s effort throughout this season, Leach said, “Yeah, we play hard. We practice hard.”


Asked about his defensive coordinator Zach Arnett, he said, “He worked under Rocky Long (former New Mexico and San Diego State head coach who is now New Mexico’s defensive coordinator). And I’ve always respected the defenses Rocky had.”

Kentucky’s offensive line? “I think they have a good unit. You know, they’re always big and physical.”

Will the performance against Vanderbilt energize the defense?

Leach: “Hopefully it does something. We need to continue the momentum there.”

But bring up turkey bacon, and Leach chews the fat – or lack thereof.

“I don’t understand turkey bacon and how there’s even a market for it,” he said. “It’s supposed to be healthier, but I mean it’s pointless to the point where you just move on and eat something else instead.”

He also continues to discuss Halloween candy and his distaste for candy corn with Halloween on Sunday.

“It gets all over your hands and your face,” he said of a time as a child when he did partake in the treat. “Before long, I realized that was a grave error, and there were far better paths ahead than candy corn.”

Leach also commented on his candy disbursement strategy.

“You can’t be as reckless as holding a bowl out and ‘take what you want,’ like some used to do when I used to trick or treat,” he said. “Of course, you’d take handfuls as fast as you can until they shoo you off the porch. You’ve got to regulate it.”


Former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn passed away in Columbus, Georgia on Tuesday at age 75.

An Ozark, Alabama native, Dunn was known for developing the 3-3-5, heavy-blitz scheme. He was State’s defensive coordinator from 1996-2002 and was Ole Miss’ defensive coordinator in 1992 and ’93 before becoming interim coach for the 1994 season when Billy Brewer was let go.

Dunn was Arkansas’ defensive coordinator in 1995 and South Carolina’s defensive coordinator in 1987 and ’88.

“It was truly an honor to play for one of the best defensive coordinators college football has even seen,” Texas Tech defensive coordinator Derek Jones tweeted.

Jones played cornerback for Dunn in 1993 and ’94 at Ole Miss.

“Coach Joe Lee Dunn demanded that you play hard, and if you weren’t mentally and physically tough, you couldn’t play for him,” Jones said. “His mentality helped to mold many men. RIP, Coach.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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