Aliotti: What Leach did is bull***, low class
Nick Aliotti is old school. And I love it. And I also love the fact that this season -- with Chip Kelly gone to the NFL -- Aliotti seems to feel he can now say what he wants to say. It's a beautiful thing.
Aliotti, the veteran Duck defensive coordinator, has been around long enough that, by now, I'm guessing he really doesn't care what YOU think, either. Aliotti is a great coach but an even greater character. He's smart, funny, emotional and true to his game.
Last week he went off on what he perceives as a lack of knowledge by football referees concerning pass interference and football, in general. And he didn't mince words. This week, he was all over Washington State coach Mike Leach, saying what Leach did Saturday night against his Duck defense was "bullspit" and low class.
A lot of people don't seem to understand what Aliotti was talking about, but after talking to a few of my long-time coaching friends, I think I have a pretty good handle on it.
The Ducks were in the process of giving Leach's Washington State Cougars a good pounding and early in the fourth quarter, with a major lead, started getting reserves into the game. Washington State never reciprocated, keeping its starting offense on the field to the end -- which enabled the Cougs to chalk up a couple of late touchdowns against a group Aliotti characterized as scout-team players.
You can find Aliotti's response to all that here.
And when I talked to coaches Sunday, almost unanimously they agreed with Aliotti. You see, the old-school way of looking at the situation is this: If I'm blowing your team away and start to substitute, I don't expect you to alter the way you play. You want to pass, go for it -- it's the way you play. But to keep your starters on the field against my scout team, well, that's a different story. It's bush. It's doing nothing but padding your team's statistics. And don't give me all that "building confidence" stuff. Your team knows it's scoring against guys who normally don't see playing time.
I mean, seriously, keeping your quarterback on the field to throw 89 passes? Really? You wouldn't want to get at least a few plays in for the backup? Crazy.
But remember, Leach is a guy who was pounding Idaho a few weeks back and rushed his starting defense back on the field to prevent a late Vandal touchdown. Obviously, he loves those numbers he was chasing Saturday night.
But what he didn't consider Saturday was that the Ducks were being real nice to him. They could have rolled up about 80 points against WSU but called off the troops. And I think, if anything, Oregon has been too kind to a lot of opponents this season. Style points still count. Yes, computers no longer take margin of victory into their equations, but some voters -- especially the ones in the east who don't see the Ducks play night games -- probably do. And maybe the Ducks should think a little more about making the score a little wider.
Would that make a difference in the BCS rankings? I don't know. But I know it wouldn't hurt. One coach I talked to Sunday made a point of saying, "The Ducks really do need to be careful. They're in what amounts to a beauty contest and they have to look their best. You hate to pour it on, but they have to be aware of making sure their scores are representative of their ability."
I love Aliotti for speaking his mind. In a program that was silent, buttoned up and secretive for so long, it's a pleasure to hear a little noise out of there.