Between now and the time when Ole Miss actually hires its next head football coach, there will be plenty of names discussed as candidates for the school.
A lot will depend on how tough the NCAA is when it comes to the sanctions it places on the Rebels, so there’s no telling which candidates are realistic or which are long shots.
Speculating is still fun, though, and CBS college football analyst Dennis Dodd mentioned one intriguing name as a fit for Ole Miss: Current Washington State coach Mike Leach. Leach is entering his sixth season with the Cougars, and he turned them from the worst team in the Pac 12 to a team that has won 17 games in the last two seasons.
According Dodd, he reached out to a source from the region who listed a number of reasons as to why Leach would be a good fit in Oxford.
One of the main reasons is Leach’s history of developing quarterbacks and his prolific offenses. Freeze ran a similar offense at Ole Miss, so the personnel is already there for Leach to succeed.
Perhaps the best reason for Leach going to Ole Miss is that he has possibly maxed out the potential at Washington State. The Cougars are in a very tough division in the Pac 12 North, and Washington, Stanford and Oregon figure to be the top teams in the division for the foreseeable future. It’s hard to imagine Washington State becoming a contender in that division, but it’s also difficult to see him turning Ole Miss into a contender in the SEC West.
Ole Miss could pay a better salary, and recruiting would be a little easier than at Washington State. The Rebels might not even consider Leach, but he would be a good hire for the school.
A lot of what Ole Miss does in its coaching search will depend on the NCAA sanctions. For now, interim coach Matt Luke will look to keep the Rebels afloat.
(h/t Saturday Down South)