LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Thousands of fans and dozens of former players are speaking out in support of Mike Leach. In fact, two former Red Raiders who played under Leach spoke with NewsChannel 11 Tuesday.
Former receiver Mickey Peters and linebacker and former Baltimore Raven Mike Smith support Coach Leach 100 percent. They say Coach Leach has a policy about injuries - if you're injured you're going to be at practice and you're going to be doing something.
Smith played for the Red Raiders from 2000 to 2004 and says Leach's coaching style hasn't changed and the allegations that he endangered a player's safety are simply not true. "I think, not just me, but any player he's different and has different style but he always cared about his players. I was talking to Wes Welker, Ryan Aycock and some other old school players and myself if we had gone home and told our dad's we didn't practice our dad would say get back out on the field," said Smith.
Receiver Mickey Peters was recruited by Spike Dykes and finished out his eligibility under Leach. He says his heart sank when he heard the news. Peters suffered a concussion in the 2002 match up with the Texas A&M Aggies and he says Coach Leach would never do anything to compromise the safety of his players. "I'll never forget that. I didn't practice nor did I play the next game. I even tried to beg them and they said no we need you for the long haul, not the right now. We support Mike Leach and know what goes on," said Peters.
Both players hope this distraction doesn't disrupt Saturday's game and say it won't be the same without leach on the field.
We'll hear more from Smith and Peters on NewsChannel 11 at 10.
Email from former Red Raider Mickey Peters:
As a former Texas Tech football player, I suffered a concussion. Coach Leach's primary concern was my health and wellness. He has always supported the well being of his players, and he handled my situation with my best interest at hand.
Coach Leach not only taught me football, he taught me life lessons. When I have a bad day and things aren't going my way, I still think of his quirky pirate story "swinging your sword" and the meaning he tries to imply.
Coach Leach never once belittled me as a person, nor did I ever see him belittle any of my teammates. Coach Leach's reputation should be one of a player-advocate, and I am disappointed by any reports that would suggest otherwise. I support Coach Leach 100% and wish he and the entire team the best on Saturday.
Former Red Raider Receiver
©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.