LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Dozens of Red Raider fans are expressing their opinions about the football team's coaching shake up, but it's former players who Mike Leach coached that are providing some inside the locker room perspective. NewsChannel 11's Ann Wyatt Little spoke with two former players.
Linebacker and former Baltimore Raven Mike Smith and receiver Mickey Peters both played at Texas Tech under Coach Mike Leach and say they completely stand behind Leach.
"I bleed Red and Black and bleed Mike Leach," says Peters who played under Leach. He suffered a concussion during the 2002 Texas A & M game and says Coach Leach's primary concern was his health and wellness. "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 and not right now," says Peters about the way the staff handled his injury.
Former Red Raider and NFL player Mike Smith says the team doesn't deserve this.
"This is terrible. There's more than Mike Leach there is also a team and that's what I don't think people at Tech understand," adds Smith who says this entire situation is ridiculous.
"When I first heard about a kid in a shed and he had a trainer, if you understood Leach's policy about being at practice you would understand the situation," says Smith in a phone interview Tuesday. Both Smith and Peters say that policy still holds true for the current team and that given James had a mild concussion the situation was not out of the ordinary.
"This is my experience with Mike Leach. He has a thing if you are injured you are still going to be a part of the team. You're still going to be at practice and you will be doing something," says Smith about the policy.
The ex-Raiders say college football is a tough sport.
"Times have changed there are just a bunch of ‘prima-donna' players and this is football, not high school football but college football. You are going to get yelled at and may not be happy about your playing time it's just how it's going to be," says Smith.
"We're all in favor of Coach Leach. We know what goes on and I know things haven't changed. Leach keeps things pretty even through practices and what he expects of players," adds Peters.
Both men say they hope that the team can look past the distraction and win on Saturday.
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|Coverage of Mike Leach Suspension
Just days before the Red Raiders play in the Alamo Bowl, Texas Tech administration suspended Coach Mike Leach indefinitely pending an investigation into his treatment of a Tech player. Click here for continuing coverage.