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

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
Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.